Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Report on Forensic Science

The National Academy of Science released its report today, which is highly critical of our current forensic science practices. The report, commissioned by Congress, calls for sweeping changes in what has passed for "science" in our criminal justice system. The report is of special interest to us because it validates many of the criticisms we've had with how evidence was handled and analyzed in Todd's case. Of special note is the call for "removing all public forensic laboratories and facilities from the administrative control of law enforcement agencies or prosecutors’ offices."

In almost all jurisdictions (including Colorado Springs), forensic analysts have an exceedingly cozy relationship with law enforcement personnel and prosecutors. It's not like CSI and LA Law. The process is not investigate, then charge; rather, it is charge, then investigate. The result has been investigations that are driven by hunches and sketchy data that can easily go astray as prosecutors focus on improving their won/loss record rather than on truth-seeking.

You can read the executive summary of the report online at

Read about response to the report here:

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