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Welcome to Florida Forensic Science

A Collaboration Between the Public Defender and the National Center for Forensic Science at the University of Central Florida.

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The Application of Science to the Law

This website is designed as an informational tool for forensic scientists, prosecutors, and criminal defense attorneys. Our goal is to help attorneys understand science and help scientists understand the law.

How the Police Use Facial Recognition, and Where It Falls Short

After a high-speed chase north of Orlando, Fla., sheriff’s deputies punctured the tires of a stolen Dodge Magnum and brought it to a stop. They arrested the driver, but couldn’t determine who he was. The man had no identification card. He passed out after stuffing something into his mouth. And his fingerprints, the deputies reported, appeared to have been chewed off.

So investigators turned to one of the oldest and largest facial recognition systems in the country: a statewide program based in Pinellas County, Fla., that began almost 20 years ago, when law enforcement agencies were just starting to use the technology. Officers ran a photo of the man through a huge database, found a likely match and marked the 2017 case as one of the system’s more than 400 successful “outcomes” since 2014.

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In Florida, A Haze Builds Around Pot Law Enforcement as Technology Catches Up to Policy

Zachary Miller was napping in the car as he rode west through…

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What Does it Mean for Forensic Evidence to Be “Statistical”? A Historical Perspective

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