William C. Thompson

Professor of Criminology, Law, and Society and Psychology & Social Behavior and Law
Ph.D. Stanford University, J.D. University of California, Berkeley
(949) 824-6156
3301 SE II

Department: 

Specializations: 

forensic science; expert evidence; human judgment and decision making

Curriculum Vitae: 

I am interested in the use of expert evidence in the courtroom, including:

  • Forensic science, particularly forensic DNA tests
  • Statistical testimony
  • Social science evidence of all types

I study and write about the strengths and limitations of various types of evidence and about the ability of lay juries to evaluate evidence. My work is multidisciplinary, it involves law, psychology, various areas of biology (particularly genetics and molecular biology), and statistics.

Copies of some recent publication can be found on my SSRN Author Page.

Selected Publications

Thompson, W.C., Kaasa, S.O., & Peterson, T. Do jurors give appropriate weight to forensic identification evidence? Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, in press. 

Thompson, W.C.  Forensic DNA Evidence: The Myth of Infallibility.  In Sheldon Krimsky & Jeremy Gruber (Eds.), Genetic Explanations: Sense and Nonsense. Harvard University Press, 2013, pp. 227-255.

Thompson, W.C. Rejecting the Evidence (Review of David A. Harris, Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science). Science, Jan 4, 2013, v. 339:34-35.

Thompson, W.C., Mueller, L.D., & Krane, D.E. (Dec. 2012). Forensic DNA statistics: Still controversial in some cases.  The Champion, 36, 12-23.

Thompson, W.C. (2012). Discussion paper: Hard cases make bad law: Reactions to R v. T. Law, Probability and Risk, 11, 347-359.

Thompson, W.C. (2011). What role should investigative facts play in the evaluation of scientific evidence?  Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences. 43(2-3): 123-134.

Biedermann, A., Taroni, F. & Thompson, W.C. (2011). Using graphical probability analysis (Bayes nets) to evaluate a conditional DNA inclusion.  Law, Probability and Risk, 10, 89-121

Murphy, E. & Thompson, W.C. (2010). Understanding Potential Errors and Fallacies inForensic DNA Statistics: An Amicus Brief in McDaniel v. Brown. Criminal Law Bulletin, 46(4), 709-757.

Thompson, W.C. (2009).  The National Research Council’s plan to strengthen forensic science: Does the path forward run through the courts? Jurimetrics Journal, 50, 35–51.

Krane, D. et al. Time for DNA Disclosure. Science, 326, 1631-32 (Dec. 18, 2009).  

Thompson, W.C. (2009). Painting the target around the matching profile: The Texas sharpshooter fallacy in forensic DNA interpretation. Law, Probability and Risk, 8, 257-276.  available online at: http://lpr.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/mgp013?ijkey=ehrDeU74Gi6ERv1&keytype=ref   

Thompson W.C., (2009). Interpretation: Observer Effects, in Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science, Jamieson, A., Moenssens, A. (eds).  John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, UK, pp 1575-1579.

 Thompson, W.C. (2008). Beyond bad apples: Analyzing the role of forensic science in wrongful convictions. Southwestern Law Review, 37(4), 1027-1050. 

Thompson, W.C. & Dioso-Villa, R. (2008). Turning a blind eye to misleading scientific testimony: Failure of procedural safeguards in a capital case. Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology, 18, 151-204.

Kaasa, S.O., Peterson, T., Morris, E.K., & Thompson, W.C. (2007). Statistical inference and forensic evidence: Evaluating a bullet lead match. Law & Human Behavior, 31(5), 433-44.

 Thompson, W.C. (2005) Analyzing the relevance and admissibility of bullet-lead evidence: Did the NRC report miss the target? Jurimetrics, 46, 65-89.

Quas, J.A., Thompson, W.C., & Clarke-Stewart, C.K.A. (2005) Do jurors "know" what isn't so about child witnesses? Law and Human Behavior, 29, 425 : 456.

Thompson, W.C., Taroni, F. & Aitken, C.G.G. (2003). How the probability of a false positive affects the value of DNA evidence. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 48(1), 47-54.

Risinger, D.M., Saks, M.J., Thompson, W.C. & Rosenthal, R. (2002). The Daubert/Kumho implications of observer effects in forensic science: Hidden problems of expectation and suggestion. California Law Review, 90(1), 1-56.

Thompson, W.C. & Pathak, M.K. (1999). Empirical Study of Hearsay Rules: Bridging the Gap Between Psychology and Law. Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 5(2), 456-472 (1999).    

Thompson, W.C., Clarke-Stewart, K.A., & Lepore, S.J. (1997). What did the janitor do? Suggestive interviewing and the accuracy of children's accounts, Law & Human Behavior, 21(4), 405-426.  

Thompson, W.C. A Sociological Perspective on the Science of Forensic DNA Testing. U.C. Davis Law Review , 30(4) 1113-1136 (1997).

Thompson, W.C. DNA Evidence in the O.J. Simpson Trial, Colorado Law Review , 67 (4), 827-857 (1996).

Thompson, W.C. Subjective interpretation, laboratory error and the value of DNA evidence: Three case studies, Genetica , 96: 153-168 (1995).

Thompson, W.C. Evaluating the admissibility of new genetic identification tests: Lessons from the "DNA War". Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 84, 22-104 (1993).

Thompson, W.C. & Ford, S. DNA typing: Acceptance and weight of the new genetic identification tests. Virginia Law Review, 1989, 75, 45-108.

Thompson, W.C. Death qualification after Wainwright v. Witt and Lockhart v. McCree. Law and Human Behavior , 1989, 13, 185-215.

Thompson, W.C. & Schumann, E.L. Interpretation of statistical evidence in criminal trials: The prosecutor's fallacy and the defense attorney's fallacy. Law and Human Behavior , 1987, 11, 167-187.