Public Defender logo

Welcome to Florida Forensic Science

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

Bob and Candace shaking hands

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.

Read more.

Read Our Latest News

A Case Study of Two Arson Exonerations

Please join the Public Defender's Office for the Ninth Circuit…

Watch Our Latest Videos

Simon A. Cole

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

Chris Fabricant

Cognitive Bias: Litigation the Issue in Post-Conviction

Copyright , Public Defender, Ninth Judicial Circuit. The material found on this web site is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered to be legal advice and is not guaranteed to be complete or up to date. Use of this web site is not intended to create, nor constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Readers should not rely upon or act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.