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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program 2011
Course Description

Forensic Science and Criminal (In)Justice

Instructor(s): Kimberley Frederick, Chemistry

What if you were convicted of a crime that you didn't commit?  What if "scientific" evidence was used to convict you? What is "scientific" evidence and what are the standards used by the court to determine whether it is admissible? Students will examine the difference between how the scientific community knows that something is true and how the courts decide whether something can be admitted into evidence by studying philosophers of science and Supreme Court decisions. Students will learn about and conduct forensic analysis on pieces of evidence. By looking at actual cases and legal policies, we will also examine the ways in which evidence and court system have malfunctioned to convict innocent people. Working with a local organization, we will work together to "fix the system".