The Arc of Justice bends towards fairness when law allows. In most cases, post-conviction review is out of step with the march of science. Even in the shadow of proposed legislative reforms, such as the Forensic Science and Standards Act of 2012 (S. 3378/H.R. 6106), scientific truth continues to take a back seat to legal necessity. Yet, relief from forensic injustice can be fashioned in the forge of executive clemency or tempered there for judicial review and legislative action.

If the tension between science and law were to be resolved in an archery contest, science would win by hitting the center of the target, while law would claim victory by painting a bull’s-eye wherever the arrow landed. Science is aimed at the truth, while legal outcomes are determined by policy and persuasion. The two are difficult to reconcile, which explains the slow acceptance of scientific challenges to legal presumptions.

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