X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

WASHINGTON — Many forensic science labs are underfunded, understaffed and without effective oversight, and many lack strong standards for analyzing and reporting on evidence, according to a congressionally-mandated report from the National Research Council. “Reliable forensic evidence increases the ability of law enforcement officials to identify those who commit crimes, and it protects innocent people from being convicted of crimes they didn’t commit,” said Harry T. Edwards, senior judge and chief judge emeritus of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and co-chairman of the Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Science Community. “Because it is clear that judicial review alone will not cure the infirmities of the forensic science community, there is a tremendous need for the forensic science community to improve.” The report identified serious deficiencies in the nation’s forensic science system and called for major reforms and new research. Rigorous and mandatory certification programs for forensic scientists are currently lacking, the report said, as are strong standards and protocols for analyzing and reporting on evidence. And there is a dearth of peer-reviewed, published studies establishing the scientific bases and reliability of many forensic methods. These shortcomings pose a threat to the quality and credibility of forensic science practice and its service to the justice system, concluded the committee. The report strongly urges Congress to establish a new, independent National Institute of Forensic Science to lead research efforts, establish and enforce standards for forensic science professionals and laboratories, and oversee education standards. “Much research is needed not only to evaluate the reliability and accuracy of current forensic methods but also to innovate and develop them further,” said committee co-chairman Constantine Gatsonis, professor of biostatistics and director of the Center for Statistical Sciences at Brown University. “An organized and well-supported research enterprise is a key requirement for carrying this out.” With the exception of nuclear DNA analysis, the report said, no forensic method has been rigorously shown able to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source. Non-DNA forensic disciplines have important roles, but many need substantial research to validate basic premises and techniques, assess limitations and discern the sources and magnitude of error, according to the committee that wrote the report. The report offers no judgment about past convictions or pending cases, and it offers no view as to whether the courts should reassess cases that already have been tried. Rather, the report describes and analyzes the current situation in the forensic science community and makes recommendations for the future.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at customercare@alm.com

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2019 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.