Faculty Publications

Title

The science of forensic hair comparisons and the admissibility of hair comparison evidence: Frye and Daubert considered.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Max M. Houck

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2004

Date Issued

2004-03-02

Abstract

Commentators in the legal community have expressed concerns that forensic microscopical hair comparisons may not be scientific and may not meet admissibility criteria set forth in the Federal Rules of Evidence and guiding legal decisions. Forensic microscopical hair comparisons are founded on the precepts of comparative biology, microscopy, zoology, histology, and anthropology. Empirical testing demonstrates that, while not absolute positive identification, hair comparisons are good evidence of association. The validity and acceptance of forensic hair comparisons are supported by guidelines for hair comparison methodology, papers in peer-reviewed journals, textbooks, and specialized training schools. Hair comparisons are a service offered by both public and private forensic science laboratories. Hair comparison testimony has been accepted in local, state and federal courts for decades. In the authors’ opinion, forensic hair comparisons meet every criteria required by the Federal Rules of Evidence, Frye, and Daubert.

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