Cover: The Double Helix and the Law of Evidence, from Harvard University PressCover: The Double Helix and the Law of Evidence in HARDCOVER

The Double Helix and the Law of Evidence

Add to Cart

Product Details


$60.50 • £48.95 • €54.50

ISBN 9780674035881

Publication Date: 01/01/2010


352 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

5 halftones, 5 line illustrations


Kaye is a law professor renowned for his meticulous attention to detail, careful argumentation and impressive technical mastery of statistical and scientific issues… The Double Helix and the Law of Evidence offers a detailed, authoritative accounting of the legal cases of this period and of scientific debates that ran in parallel in the pages of scientific journals.—Simon A. Cole, American Scientist

The scope of Kaye’s analysis, his insightful and meticulous eye for detail, the coverage of both law and science (not forgetting the math), and the spicing with human tales of crimes and academic rivalries combine to ensure the book will interest a medley of readers. As Kaye points out in his introduction, the power of DNA technology is now beyond dispute. However, media portrayals of this power are often inaccurate, while those professionals tasked with employing the technology may not possess a competent understanding of its actual strengths and limitations. The book could go a long way toward correcting these failures, were it to become essential reading for reporters, criminal investigators, legal professionals, and, ultimately, the public—who are most often characterized as demanding the increased use of DNA evidence by law enforcement. Further, Kaye’s account may help forensic scientists who do not work with DNA to better understand the trials and tribulations that were weathered by forensic DNA profiling on the ‘far from smooth’ road to legal acceptance. With DNA hailed as the gold standard of forensic science, Kaye presents a lesson that bears learning by those disciplines or techniques currently struggling to sustain their integrity as a science and gain, or maintain, legal acceptance. DNA profiling did not become the gold standard overnight, and even gold can be tarnished if mistreated or mishandled… If we are to realize the full forensic potential of DNA to improve detection rates, convict the guilty, and exculpate the innocent, then everyone involved in the use of DNA profiling needs a proper appreciation of the technology’s history, strengths, and weaknesses. This is what The Double Helix and the Law of Evidence provides… May the book get the wide readership it deserves.—Carole McCartney, Science

A cogent, fascinating history of the scientific and legal history of the most important breakthrough in the history of forensic science—DNA evidence.—David E. Bernstein, George Mason University School of Law

This unique history of the forensic use of genetic testing, and the controversies from the earliest days to the present, is both accurate and intelligible. An acknowledged authority in the field, David Kaye uses striking case histories and excellent analogies to make the scientific issues clear to a nonspecialist. It is an impressive achievement.—James F. Crow, University of Wisconsin–Madison

From the intricacies of genetics and statistics, to the niceties of the law of evidence, Kaye’s sure grasp of the field has produced a fascinating critical history, though one in which the technical details never become overbearing. Both lawyers and forensic scientists will learn much from Kaye’s diligent work.—Mike Redmayne, London School of Economics and Political Science

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

(logo) SpeakOUT: 50th Anniversary

Speaking with SpeakOut Boston

We continue our celebration of Pride Month by talking with some of the speakers who volunteer with SpeakOUT Boston. They share their stories with a variety of audiences to foster a better understanding of the LGBTQ+ community, so we thought we’d ask them some questions of our own.