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Michael Risinger   

Professor Michael Risinger

John J. Gibbons Professor of Law

Professor Risinger holds a B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University, and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School. He clerked for the Honorable Clarence C. Newcomer of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He is a past chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Civil Procedure, the immediate past chair of the AALS Section on Evidence, and a life member of the American Law Institute. He was also a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Evidence for 25 years, which was responsible for the current version of the New Jersey Rules of Evidence. Professor Risinger came to Seton Hall Law School in 1973. He served as a visiting senior fellow on the law faculty of the National University of Singapore from 1985-1986. Professor Risinger has published in the areas of evidence and civil procedure. He is the co-author of Trial Evidence, A Continuing Legal Education Casebook and the author of two chapters in Faigman, Kaye, Saks and Sanders, Modern Scientific Evidence (“Handwriting Identification” and “A Proposed Taxonomy of Expertise”).  Professor Risinger was selected as one of Seton Hall’s two inaugural Dean’s Research Fellows (2002-2004) and was named the John J. Gibbons Professor of Law in May 2008.  His scholarship has recently concentrated on wrongful convictions as well as expert evidence issues.



Feigned Concensus: Usurping the Law in Shaken Baby/Abusive Head Trauma Prosecutions, 2019 Wisc. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2019) (with Findley, Barnes, Mack, Moran, Scheck and Bohan)

Leveraging Surprise: What Standards of Proof Imply that We Want from Jurors and What We Should Say to Them to Get It, 48 Seton Hall L. Rev. 965 (2018)

More Than Half A Century of Paul Giannelli—An Origin Story, 68 Case Western Res. L. Rev. 717 (2018)

The Five Functions of Forensic Science and the Validation Issues They Raise: A Piece to Incite Discussion on Validation, 48 Seton Hall L. Rev. 719 (2018)

The Science and Law Underlying Post-Conviction Challenges to Shaken Baby Syndrome Convictions: A Response to Professor Imwinkelried, 48 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1209 (2018) (with Findley)

Searching for Truth in the American Law of Evidence and Proof, 47 U. Ga. L. Rev. 801 (2013)

Wolves and Sheep, Predators and Scavengers, or Why I Left Civil Procedure (Not With a Bang, But a Whimper), 60 Ucla L. Rev. 1620 (2013)

Innocence is Different: Taking Innocence into Account in Reforming Criminal Procedure, 56 N.Y. Law School L. Rev. 869 (2012) (with Lesley C. Risinger)

Inquiry, Relevance, Rules of Exclusion, and Evidentiary Reform, 75 Brooklyn L. Rev. 1349 (2010)

The NAS/NRC Report on Forensic Science: A Path Forward Fraught with Pitfalls, 2010 Utah L. Rev. 225 (2010)

The Need for a Research Culture in the Forensic Sciences, 58 U.C.L.A. L. Rev. 725 (2010) (with Mnookin et al.)

Tragic Consequences of Deadly Dilemmas: A Response to Allen and Laudan, 40 Seton Hall L. Rev. 983 (2010)

Appendix: Cases Involving the Reliability of Handwriting Expertise Since the Decision in Daubert, 43 Tulsa L. Rev. 477 (2008)

Goodbye To All That, Or, A Fool’s Errand, By One of the Fools: How I Stopped Worrying About Court Responses to Handwriting Identification (and “Forensic Science” in General) and Learned to Love Misinterpretations of Kumho Tire v. Carmichael, 43 Tulsa L. Rev. 447 (2008)

Introduction: The Inaugural Wigmore Awards for Lifetime Achievement In the Law of Evidence and Proof, 38 Seton Hall L. Rev. 859 (2008)

Introduction--Guilt v. Guiltiness: Are the Right Rules for Trying Factual Innocence Inevitably the Wrong Rules for Trying Culpability?, 52 Seton Hall L. Rev. 885 (2008)

"The Irrelevance, and Central Relevance, of the Boundary Between Science and Non-Science in the Evaluation of Expert Witness Reliability", 52 Villanova L. Rev. 679 (2007)

Unsafe Verdicts: The Need for Reformed Standards for the Trial and Review of Factual Innocence Claims, 41 Houston L. Rev. 1281  (2004)

Baserates, The Presumption of Guilt, Admissibility Rulings, and Erroneous Convictions, 2003 Mich. St. L. Rev. 1051 (2003) (with Saks)

Kumho Tire and Expert Reliability: How the Question You Ask Gives the Answer You Get, 34 Seton Hall L. Rev. 15 (2003) (with Denbeaux)

Rationality, Research and Leviathan: Law Enforcement-Sponsored Research and the Criminal Process, 2003 Mich. St. L. Rev. 1023 (2003) (with Saks)

The Daubert/Kumho Implications of Observer Effects in Forensic Science: Hidden Problems of Expectation and Suggestion, 90 Cal. L. Rev. 1 (2002) (with Saks, Thompson & Rosenthal)

Three Card Monte, Monty Hall, Modus Operandi and "Offender Profiling": Some Lessons from Modern Cognitive Science for the Law of Evidence, 24 Cardozo L. Rev. 193 (2002) (with Loop)

Defining the "Task at Hand": Non-Science Forensic Science after Kumho Tire v. Carmichael, 37 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 767 (2000)

Navigating Expert Reliability: Are Criminal Standards of Certainty Being Left on the Dock, 64 Albany L. Rev. 99 (2000)

Preliminary Thoughts on a Functional Taxonomy of Expertise for the Post Kumho World, 31 Seton Hall L. Rev. 508 (2000)

Brave New "Post-Daubert World" - A Reply to Professor Moenssens, 29 Seton Hall L. Rev. 405 (1998)

Science and Nonscience in the Courtroom: Daubert Meets Handwriting Identification Expertise, 82 Iowa L. Rev. 21 (1997) (with Saks)

Exorcism of Ignorance as a Proxy for Rational Knowledge: The Lessons of Handwriting Identification "Expertise", 137 U. Pa. L. Rev. 731 (1989) (with Denbeaux and Saks)

Another Step in the Counter-Revolution: A Summary Judgment on the Supreme Court's New Approach to Summary Judgment, 54 Brooklyn L. Rev. 35 (1988)

Direct Damages: The Lost Key to Constitutional Just Compensation When Business Premises Are Condemned, 15 Seton Hall L. Rev. 483 (1985)

"Substance" & "Procedure" Revisited, (with Some Afterthoughts on the Constitutional Problems of "Irrebuttable Presumptions"), 30 U.C.L.A. L. Rev. 189 (1983)

Questioning Questions: Problems of Form in the Interrogation of Witnesses, 33 Arkansas L. Rev. 439 (1980) (with Denbeaux)

Honesty in Pleading and Its Enforcement: Some "Striking Problems with FRCP II, 61 Minn. L. Rev. 1 (1976)


Trial Evidence, a continuing legal education casebook (I.C.L.E., Newark, New Jersey), 1052 pp. (1978) (with Denbeaux)

Controversies in Innocence Cases in America, in The Emerging Role of Innocence Lawyer and the Need for Role-differentiated Standards of Professional Conduct, Sarah Cooper, ed., Ashgate (2014) (with Lesley C. Risinger)

Modern Scientific Evidence, 2nd ed., in Handwriting Identification, Chapter 28 in Faigman, Kaye, Saks and Sanders, eds., West 2002 (2006)

Modern Scientific Evidence, 2nd ed., in Preliminary Thoughts on a Functional Taxonomy of Expertise, Chapter 2 in Faigman, Kaye Saks and Sanders, eds., West 2002 (2006)


Forensic Bitemark Identification: Weak Foundations, Exaggerated Claims, Journal of Law and Biosciences, 3 J. Law and Biosciences 19 (2016) (with Saks et al.)

At What Cost?--Blind Testing, Eyewitness Identification, and What Can and Cannot Be Counted as a Cost of Reducing Information Available for Decision, 54 Howard L. J. 333 (2015)

Context Management Toolbox: A Linear Sequential Unmasking (LSU) Approach for Minimizing Cognitive Bias in Forensic Decision Making, 60 Journal of Forensic Sciences 1111 (2015) (with Dror, Thompson, Meissner, Kornfield, Krane and Saks)

Miscarriages of Justice: A Theoretical and Practical Overview, 7 J. Marshall L. J. 371 (2014) (with Lesley C. Risinger)

Comment on Neumann et al., Quantifying the Weight of Evidence from a Forensic Fingerprint Comparison: A New Paradigm, 175 J. Royal Stat. Soc., (Series A) 398 (2012)

Commentary on Budowle et al. re Sequential Unmasking, 55 Journal of Forensic Sciences 265 (2010) (with Krane, et al.)

Commentary on Thornton re Sequential Unmasking, 55 Journal of Forensic Sciences 1663 (2010) (with Thompson et al.)

Whose Fault?—Daubert, The NAS Report and the Notion of Error in Forensic Science, 38 Fordham J. Urb. L. J. 519 (2010)

Authors’ Response to Ostrum re Sequential Unmasking, 54 Journal of Forensic Sciences 1500 (2009) (with Krane, et al.)

The NSA/NRC Report on Forensic Science: A Glass Nine Tenths Full (This Is About the Other Tenth), 50 Jurimetrics 21 (2009)

"Innocents Convicted: An Empirically Justified Factual Wrongful Conviction Rate", 97 J. Crim. Law & Criminology 761 (2007)

John Henry Wigmore, Johnny Lynn Old Chief, and "Legitimate Moral Force": Keeping the Courtroom Safe for Heartstrings and Gore, 49 Hastings L.J. 403 (1998)

Presumptions, Assumptions, and Due Process in Criminal Cases: A Theoretical Overview, 79 Yale L. J. 165 (1969) (with Ashford)


Commentary on Champod "Research focused mainly on bias will paralyse forensic science", Science and Justice, in press (published online June 27, 2014) (with Thompson et al.)

Reservations About Likelihood Ratios (and Some Aspects of Forensic “Bayesianism”, 12 Law, Probability and Risk 63 (2013)

Against Symbolization, 11 Law, Probability and Risk 247 (2012)

Introduction to Christophe Champod & Joelle Vuille, Scientific Evidence in Europe: Admissibility, Evaluation and Equality of Arms, 9 Int. Comm. on Ev. 1554 (2012)

Bayes Wars Redivivus , 8 International Commentary on Evidence, issue 1, article 1 (2010) (with Allen et al.)

Time for DNA Disclosure, 326 Science 1631 (December 18, 2009) (with Krane, et al.)

Sequential Unmasking: A Means of Minimizing Observer Effects in Forensic DNA Interpretation, Journal of Forensic Sciences 1006 (2008) (with Krane, Ford, Gilder, Inman, Jamieson, Koppl, Kornfield, Rudin, Taylor, and Thompson)

A House with No Foundation: Litigation Directed Research in the Criminal Justice System, 20 Issues in Science and Technology (the Magazine of the National Academy of Science) 35 (Fall 2003) (with Saks)


Procedural Justice: A Psychological Analysis, 9 Seton Hall L. Rev. (1978) (Thibaut & Walker)


Full list of presentations available in Curriculum Vitae

The Lessons of Fingerprints and Bitemarks for Handwriting Identification, National Association of Document Examiner’s Annual Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee (April 1, 2015)

The Past Year’s Progress in Regard to Bias Control in Forensic Science, American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Meeting all-day workshop on Bias, Orlando Florida (February 17, 2015)

At What Cost?—What Can and Can’t Be Counted as a Cost of Adopting Blind Administration of Eyewitness Identification Procedures, The Taslitz Galaxy Conference, Howard Law School, Washington, D.C. (September 19, 2014)

Biasing of Results and the Need for Sequential Unmasking Protocols in Forensic Science Practice, National Commission on Forensic Science, Washington, D.C (May 12, 2014)

Miscarriages of Justice: A Theoretical and Practical Overview, Annual Law Review Symposium, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Atlanta, Georgia (March 4, 2014)

The Need For Sequential Unmasking, American Academy of Forensic Sciences All Day Workshop on Bias, AAFS Annual Meeting (February 17, 2014)