27 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 227 (1995-1996)
Forensic Hair Comparison Analysis: Nineteenth Century Science or Twentieth Century Snake Oil; Smith, Clive A. Stafford; Goodman, Patrick D.

handle is hein.journals/colhr27 and id is 235 raw text is: FORENSIC HAIR COMPARISON ANALYSIS:
NINETEENTH CENTURY SCIENCE
OR TWENTIETH CENTURY SNAKE OIL?
by Clive A. Stafford Smith*
and Patrick D. Goodman*
INTRODUCTION:
A REEVALUATION OF FORENSIC HAIR COMPARISON ANALYSIS
The purpose of this Article is to reopen the debate on the use
of forensic hair comparison analysis in criminal prosecutions. The
limited empirical studies that have been completed in this area' reveal
more questions than answers. Until these questions have been
answered, forensic hair comparison analysis should not be used to
condemn those who would otherwise be presumed innocent of
committing crimes.
This Article does not argue for the abolishment of forensic hair
comparison analysis. Nor does it ignore the potential for development
of improved hair analysis in the future.2 Rather, it attempts to raise
*   Director, Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center, New Orleans, Louisiana. B.A.,
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1981); J.D., Columbia University School of
Law (1984).
**   B.A., University of California, Los Angeles (1991); M.Ed., University of
California, Los Angeles (1992); J.D., Columbia University School of Law (expected 1996);
Head Notes Editor, Columbia Human Rights Law Review (1995-96).
The authors wish to thank Professor Michael 0. Finkelstein, Columbia
University School of Law, Dr. Bernard Robaire, McGill University, and David Lund, for
their generous comments and critique. The authors also wish to thank editors Sherab
Posel, John Barlow Weiner, Ian Ford, and Randy Kim, as well as Professor Michael J.
Goodman, for their invaluable help.
1.   See B.D. Gaudette & E.S. Keeping, An Attempt at Determining Probabilities in
Human Scalp Hair Comparison, 19 J. Forensic Sci. 599 (1974) [hereinafter Scalp Hair
Comparison]; B.D. Gaudette, Probabilities and Human Pubic Hair Comparisons, 21 J.
Forensic Sci. 514 (1976) [hereinafter Pubic Hair Comparison]; B.D. Gaudette, Some
Further Thoughts on Probabilities in Human Hair Comparisons, 23 J. Forensic Sci. 758
(1978) [hereinafter Some Further Thoughts]; Ray A. Wickenheiser & David G. Hepworth,
Further Evaluation of Probabilities in Human Scalp Hair Comparisons, 35 J. Forensic
Sci. 1323 (1990).
2.   The potential exists for more effective hair analysis using better tools. See, e.g.,
Muhammad Y. Choudhry et al., Individual Characteristics of Chemically Modified
Human Hairs Revealed by Scanning Electron Microscopy, 28 J. Forensic Sci. 293 (1983);
Jean-Louis Clement et al., New Concepts about Hair Identification Revealed by Electron
Microscope Studies, 26 J. Forensic Sci. 447 (1981).

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