Professor of Criminology, Law & Society
Simon A. Cole specializes in the historical and sociological study of the interaction between science, technology, law, and criminal justice. He is the author of Suspect Identities: A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification (Harvard University Press, 2001), which was awarded the 2003 Rachel Carson Prize by the Society for Social Studies of Science. Most recently, he is a co-author (with Michael Lynch, Ruth McNally & Kathleen Jordan) of Truth Machine: The Contentious History of DNA Fingerprinting (University of Chicago Press, 2008). Dr. Cole is a member of the American Judicature Society Commission on Forensic Science & Public Policy, he has spoken widely on the subjects of fingerprinting, scientific evidence, and science and the law, and he has consulted and testified as an expert witness on the validity of fingerprint evidence. He has also written for many general interest publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New Scientist, and Lingua Franca. His current interests are the sociology of forensic science and the development of criminal identification databases and biometric technologies. He teaches courses on Forensic Science and Society, Surveillance and Society, Miscarriages of Justice, The Death Penalty, Historical Criminology, and Science, Technology, and Law, and he is Co-Editor of the journal Theoretical Criminology. He is Director of The Newkirk Center for Science & Society, and he is affiliated with the Department of History.
Web Links of Research Sites
- My blog, Suspect Identities
- American Judicature Society Commission on Forensic Science & Public Policy
- Amici Curiae Brief of Scientists, Scholars, and the New England Innocence Project to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in the case Commonwealth v. Patterson
- University of California, Irvine Center for Psychology & Law
- View my research on my SSRN Author page
- National Academy of Sciences Sackler Colloquium: Forensic Science: The Nexus of Science and the Law
- Project Bertillon
- My Google Scholar page
- The Newkirk Center for Science & Society
Simon A. Cole & Troy Duster, “Microscopic Hair Comparison and the Sociology of Science,” Contexts, Volume 15, Number 1 (Winter 2016), pp. 28-35.
Simon A. Cole & Gary Edmond, “Science without Precedent: The Impact of the National Research Council Report on the Admissibility and Use of Forensic Science Evidence in the United States,” British Journal of American Legal Studies, Volume 4, Issue 2 (2015), pp. 585-617.
Daniella McCahey & Simon A. Cole, “Human(e) Science? Demarcation, Law, and ‘Scientific Whaling’ in Whaling in the Antarctic,” The Journal of Philosophy, Science & Law, Volume 15 (2015), pp. 37-51.
Simon A. Cole, "A Surfeit of Science: The 'CSI Effect' and the Media Appropriation of the Public Understanding of Science," Public Understanding of Science, Volume 24, Number 2, (2015) pp. 130-146. doi: 10.1177/0963662513481294.
Simon A. Cole, "Individualization is dead, long live individualization! Reforms of reporting practices for fingerprint analysis in the United States," Law, Probability and Risk, Volume 13, Number 2 (2014), pp. 117-150, doi: 10.1093/lpr/mgt014.
Simon A. Cole, “The Innocence Crisis and Forensic Science Reform” in Marvin Zalman & Julia Carrano (eds.), Wrongful Conviction and Criminal Justice Reform: Making Justice (New York: Routledge, 2014), pp. 167-185.
Simon A. Cole, "De-Neutralizing Identification: S. & Marper v. United Kingdom, Biometric Databases, Uniqueness, Privacy, and Human Rights" in Ilsen About, James R. Brown & Gayle Lonergan (eds), Identification and Registration Practices in Transnational Perspective: People, Papers and Practices (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 77-97.
Simon A. Cole, Review of David A. Harris: Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science (New York University Press, 2012), Crime, Law and Social Change, Volume 60, Number 3 (October 2013), pp. 349-353, DOI: 10.1007/s10611-013-9462-x.
Simon A. Cole, “Forensic Science Reform: Out of the Laboratory and into the Crime Scene,” Texas Law Review See Also, Volume 91 (2013), pp. 123-136.
Gary Edmond, Simon Cole, Emma Cunliffe, & Andrew Roberts, “Admissibility Compared: The Reception of Incriminating Expert Evidence (i.e., Forensic Science) in Four Adversarial Jurisdictions,” University of Denver Criminal Law Review, Volume 3 (2013), pp. 31-109.
Simon A. Cole & William C. Thompson, “Forensic Science and Wrongful Convictions” in C. Ronald Huff & Martin Killias (eds.), Wrongful Convictions and Miscarriages of Justice: Causes and Remedies in North American and European Criminal Justice Systems (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 111-135.
Simon A. Cole & Michael C. Campbell, “From Subhumans to Superhumans: Criminals in the Evolutionary Hierarchy, or What Became of Lombroso’s Atavistic Criminals?” in Paul Knepper & P.J. Ystehede (eds.), The Cesare Lombroso Handbook (London: Routledge, 2013), pp. 147-170.
Simon A. Cole, “Forensic Culture as Epistemic Culture: The Sociology of Forensic Science,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Volume 44, Issue 1 (2013), pp. 36-46.
Simon A. Cole & Andrew Roberts, “Certainty, Individualisation and the Subjective Nature of Expert Fingerprint Evidence,” Criminal Law Review, Issue 11 (2012), pp. 824-849. This material was first published by Sweet & Maxwell Limited and is reproduced by agreement with the Publishers.
- Simon A. Cole, “Forensic Science and Wrongful Convictions: From Exposer to Contributor to Corrector,” New England Law Review, Volume 46, Number 4 (Summer 2012), pp. 711-736.
- Simon A. Cole, “Defending a Knowledge Hierarchy In Forensic Science,” Fordham Urban Law Journal City Square,” (2012) Vol. 39, pp. 97-104.
- Simon A. Cole, “Splitting Hairs? Evaluating ‘Split Testimony’ as an Approach to the Problem of Forensic Expert Evidence,” Sydney Law Review, Volume 33, Number 3 (September 2011), pp. 459-485.
- Simon A. Cole & Rachel Dioso-Villa, “Should Judges Worry About the ‘CSI Effect’?” Court Review, Volume 47, Numbers 1-2 (2011), pp. 20-31.
- Simon A. Cole, “La saisie de l’AND aux États-Unis et au Royaume-Uni à des fins d’identification des individus: origins et enjeux [Seizing DNA in the U.S. and U.K. for the identification of individuals: Origins and issues]” in Ayse Ceyhan & Pierre Piazza (eds.), L’Identification biometrique: Champs, acteurs, enjeux et controverses [Biometric Identification: Fields actors, issues and controversies] (Paris: Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 2011), trans. François-Xavier Piroux, pp. 63-78.
- Simon A. Cole, “Fingerprints: The Trace of Race” in Jens Hauser (ed.), Paul Vanouse: Fingerprints . . . Index—Imprint—Trace (Berlin: Argobooks, 2011), pp. 67-86.
- Simon A. Cole, "DNA Evidence," American Scientist, Volume 99, Number 3 (May-June 2011), pp. 256-260. Review of The Double Helix and the Law of Evidence by David H. Kaye (Harvard 2010) & Genetic Justice: DNA Data Banks, Criminal Investigations, and Civil Liberties by Sheldon Krimsky & Tania Simoncelli (Columbia 2011).
- Jennifer L. Mnookin, Simon A. Cole, Itiel E. Dror, Barry A. J. Fisher, Max M. Houck, Keith Inman, David H. Kaye, Jonathan J. Koehler, Glenn Langenburg, D. Michael Risinger, Norah Rudin, Jay Siegel, and David A. Stoney, “The Need For A Research Culture in the Forensic Sciences,” UCLA Law Review, Volume 58, Issue 3 (2011), pp. 725-779.
- Simon A. Cole, “Acculturating Forensic Science: What Is ‘Scientific Culture’, and How Can Forensic Science Adopt it?” Fordham Urban Law Journal, Volume 38, Number 2 (2010), pp. 435-472.
- Simon A. Cole, "Connoisseurship All the Way Down: Art Authentication, Forgery, Fingerprint Identification, Expert Knowledge," Journal of Art Crime, Issue 4 (Fall 2010), pp. 85-88.
- Simon A. Cole & Michael Lynch, “DNA Profiling Versus Fingerprint Evidence: More of the Same?” in Richard Hindmarsh & Barbara Prainsack (eds.), Genetic Suspects: Global Governance of Forensic DNA Profiling and Databasing (Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 105-127.
- Itiel E. Dror & Simon A. Cole, "The Vision in 'Blind' Justice: Expert Perception, Judgment, and Visual Cognition in Forensic Pattern Recognition," Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Volume 17, Number 2 (2010), pp. 161-167.
- Simon A. Cole, "Who speaks for science? A response to the National Academy of Sciences Report on forensic science," Law, Probability and Risk, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp. 25-46 (2010); doi: 10.1093/lpr/mgp032.
- Simon A. Cole & Jay D. Aronson, “Blinded by Science on the Road to Abolition?” in Charles Ogletree, Jr. & Austin Sarat (eds.), The Road to Abolition? The Future of Capital Punishment in the United States (New York University Press, 2009), pp. 46-71.
- Simon A. Cole, "Forensics without Uniqueness, Conclusions without Individualization: The New Epistemology of Forensic Identification," Law, Probability and Risk, Volume 8, Number 3 (2009), pp. 233-255. DOI: 10.1093/lpr/mgp016.
- Jay D. Aronson & Simon A. Cole, "Science and the Death Penalty: DNA, Innocence, and the Debate Over Capital Punishment in the United States," Law & Social Inquiry, Volume 34, Issue 3 (2009), pp. 603-633. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1401262
- Simon A. Cole, "Cultural Consequences of Miscarriages of Justice," Behavioral Sciences & the Law, Volume 27, Issue 3 (2009), pp. 431-449. DOI: 10.1002/bsl.874.
- Simon A. Cole & Rachel Dioso-Villa, "Investigating the 'CSI Effect' Effect: Media and Litigation Crisis in Criminal Law," Stanford Law Review, Volume 61, Issue 6 (2009), pp. 1335-1373.
- Simon A. Cole, “Symmetry, Adversarialism, Scholarly Convention, and Latent Print Identification: A Reply to Merlino and Springer,” Tulsa Law Review, Volume 45, Number 1 (Fall 2009), pp. 147-155.
- Simon A. Cole, “Don’t Shoot the Messenger by One of the Messengers: A Response to Merlino Et Al.,” Tulsa Law Review, Volume 45, Number 1 (Fall 2009), pp. 111-132.
- Simon A. Cole, “A Cautionary Tale About Cautionary Tales About Intervention,” Organization, Volume 16, Number 1 (2009), pp. 121-141. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1350508408098925.
- John R. Vokey, Jason M. Tangen, & Simon A. Cole, "On the Preliminary Psychophysics of Fingerprint Identification," The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 62, Number 5 (2009) pp. 1023-1040.
- Michael Lynch, Simon A. Cole, Ruth McNally, & Kathleen Jordan, Truth Machine: The Contentious History of DNA Fingerprinting (University of Chicago Press, 2008).
- Simon A. Cole, “Out of the Daubert Fire and into the Fryeing Pan? Self-Validation, Meta-Expertise and the Admissibility of Latent Print Evidence in Frye Jurisdictions,” Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, Volume 9, Issue 2 (Spring 2008), pp. 453-541.
- Simon A. Cole, Max Welling, Rachel Dioso-Villa & Robert Carpenter, "Beyond the Individuality of Fingerprints: A Measure of Simulated Computer Latent Print Source Attribution Accuracy," Law, Probability and Risk, Volume 7, Number 3 (2008), pp. 165-189.
- Simon A. Cole, "The 'Opinionization' of Fingerprint Evidence," BioSocieties, Volume 3, Number 1 (2008), pp. 105-113. (Copyright Cambridge University Press, BioSocieties.)
- Simon A. Cole, "Comment on 'Scientific Validation of Fingerprint Evidence under Daubert,'" Law, Probability and Risk, Volume 7, Number 2 (2008), pp. 119-126.
- Simon A. Cole, "Twins, Twain, Galton, and Gilman: Fingerprinting, Individualization, Brotherhood, and Race in Pudd’nhead Wilson," Copyright © 2007 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Configurations, Volume 15, Issue 3, 2007, pp. 227-265.
- Simon A. Cole, “Toward Evidence-Based Evidence: Supporting Forensic Knowledge Claims in the Post-Daubert Era,” Tulsa Law Review, Volume 43, Number 2 (Winter 2007), pp. 263-283.
- Simon A. Cole, “Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Thinking about Expert Evidence as Expert Testimony,” Villanova Law Review, Volume 52, Number 4 (2007), pp. 803-842.
- Simon A. Cole, "Coming Clean About 'Junk DNA,'" Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, Volume 102 (2007), pp. 107-109.
- Simon A. Cole, "Is the 'Junk' DNA Designation Bunk?" Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, Volume 102 (2007), pp. 54-63.
- Simon A. Cole, "Double Helix Jeopardy," IEEE Spectrum, Volume 44, Number 8 (August 2007), 44-49.
- Simon A. Cole & Rachel Dioso-Villa, "CSI and Its Effects: Media, Juries, and the Burden of Proof," New England Law Review, Volume 41, Number 3 (Spring 2007), pp. 435-469.
- Simon A. Cole, "The Fingerprint Controversy," Skeptical Inquirer, Volume 31, Issue 4 (July/August 2007), pp. 41-46.
- Simon A. Cole, "How Much Justice Can Technology Afford? The Impact of DNA Technology on Equal Criminal Justice," Science & Public Policy, Volume 34, Number 2 (March 2007), pp. 95-107.
- William C. Thompson & Simon A. Cole, "Psychological Aspects of Forensic Identification Evidence" in Mark Costanzo, Daniel Krauss, & Kathy Pezdek (eds.), Expert Psychological Testimony for the Courts (Erlbaum, 2007), pp. 31-68.
- Simon A. Cole, "A Little Art, A Little Science, A Little 'CSI'," New York Times (December 31, 2006), Section 2, p. 31.
- Simon A. Cole & Michael Lynch, "The Social and Legal Construction of Suspects," Annual Review of Law & Social Science, Volume 2 (2006), pp. 39-60.
- Simon A. Cole, "The Myth of Fingerprints: The Legacy of Forensic Fingerprinting and Arrestee Databases," GeneWatch, Volume 19, Number 6 (Nov.-Dec. 2006), pp. 3-6.
- Simon A. Cole, "The Prevalence and Potential Causes of Wrongful Conviction by Fingerprint Evidence," Golden Gate University Law Review, Volume 37, Number 1 (Fall 2006), pp. 39-105.
- Simon A. Cole, "Misplaced Convictions," New Scientist, Number 2543 (March 18, 2006), p. 23.
- Simon A. Cole, "'Implicit Testing': Can Casework Validate Forensic Techniques?" Jurimetrics, Volume 46, Number 2 (Winter 2006), pp. 117-128.
- Simon A. Cole, "Is Fingerprint Identification Valid? Rhetorics of Reliability in Fingerprint Proponents' Discourse," Law & Policy, Volume 28, Number 1 (January 2006), pp. 109-135. [This is an electronic version of an article published in Law and Policy: complete citation information for the final version of the paper, as published in the print edition of Law and Policy, is available on the Blackwell Synergy online delivery service, accessible via the journal's website at http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/lapo or http://www.blackwell-synergy.com.]
- Simon A. Cole, William A. Tobin, Lyndsay N. Boggess, & Hal S. Stern, "A Retail Sampling Approach to Assess Impact of Geographic Concentrations on Probative Value of Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis," Law, Probability and Risk, Volume 4, Number 4 (2005), pp. 199-216.
- Simon A. Cole, "Brandon Mayfield, Suspect" in John Knechtel (ed.), Suspect (Alphabet City Number 10) (MIT Press, 2005), pp. 170-185.
- Simon A. Cole, "Does 'Yes' Really Mean Yes? The Attempt to Close Debate on the Admissibility of Fingerprint Testimony," Jurimetrics, Volume 45, Number 4 (Summer 2005), pp. 449-464.
- Simon Cole & Rachel Dioso, "Law and the Lab," Wall Street Journal (May 13, 2005), p. W13.
- Simon A. Cole, "More Than Zero: Accounting for Error in Latent Fingerprint Identification," Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Volume 95, Number 3 (Spring 2005), pp. 985-1078.
- Michael Lynch & Simon Cole, "Science and Technology Studies on Trial," Social Studies of Science, Volume 35, Number 2 (April 2005), pp. 269-311.
- William C. Thompson & Simon A. Cole, "Lessons from the Brandon Mayfield Case," The Champion, Volume 29, Number 3 (April 2005), pp. 42-44.
- Simon A. Cole, "Jackson Pollock, Judge Pollak, and the Dilemma of Fingerprint Expertise" in Gary Edmond (ed.), Expertise in Regulation and Law (Ashgate, 2004), pp. 98-120 [reduced file size version (Acrobat 6.0 and higher)].
- Simon A. Cole, "Grandfathering Evidence: Fingerprint Admissibility Rulings from Jennings to Llera Plaza and Back Again," American Criminal Law Review, Volume 41, Number 3 (Summer 2004), pp. 1189-1276.
- Simon A. Cole, "Fingerprint Identification and the Criminal Justice System: Historical Lessons for the DNA Debate" in David Lazer (ed.), DNA and the Criminal Justice System: The Technology of Justice (MIT Press, 2004), pp. 63-89.
- Simon A. Cole, "Fingerprinting: The First Junk Science?" Oklahoma City University Law Review, Volume 28, Number 1 (Spring 2003), pp. 73-92.
- Simon A. Cole, "History of Fingerprint Identification" in Nalini K. Ratha & Ruud M. Bolle (eds.), Automatic Fingerprint Recognition Systems (Springer-Verlag, 2003), pp. 1-25.
- Simon A. Cole, Suspect Identities: A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification (Harvard University Press, 2001).
- Simon A. Cole, "From the Sexual Psychopath Statute to 'Megan's Law': Psychiatric Knowledge in the Diagnosis, Treatment, and Adjudication of Sex Criminals in New Jersey, 1949-1999," Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Volume 55, Number 3 (July 2000), pp. 292-314.
- Simon A. Cole, "What Counts for Identity? The Historical Origins of the Methodology of Latent Fingerprint Identification," Science in Context, Volume 12, Number 1 (Spring 1999), pp. 139-172.
- Simon A. Cole, "Witnessing Identification: Latent Fingerprint Evidence and Expert Knowledge," Social Studies of Science, Volume 28, Numbers 5-6 (October-December 1998), pp. 687-712.
- Simon A. Cole, "Which Came First, the Fossil or the Fuel?" Social Studies of Science, Volume 26, Number 4 (November 1996), pp. 733-766.
- Simon A. Cole, "Do Androids Pulverize Tiger Bones to Use as Aphrodisiacs?" Social Text, Number 42 (Spring 1995), pp. 173-193.