Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Forensic Expert Pans Congressional Testimony

Here's an excerpt from comments by Brent Turvey, who has reviewed this week's testimony concerning the House Crime Subcommittee hearing on NAS Report on the need to reform the forensic science establishment. Mr. Turvey, a nationally known forensic scientist and criminal profiler is a Senior Partner at Forensic Solutions LLC. He is the author of Criminal Profiling and other books dealing with forensic science.

After reading the statements and the testimony, it has become painfully evident that none of the lab supervisors who testified have the first clue what they are talking about when it comes to forensic science. They all sounded like lawyers trying to argue points and preserve their funding rather than scientists trying to advance a scientific profession. That and their arguments were really poorly rendered if not just badly crafted. The fingerprint discussion even devolved into point counting - which even the FBI no longer uses. And it took Neufeld to bring that out.

Moreover, nobody once mentioned the major NAS finding related to bias and the need to separate labs from law enforcement. That was simply ignored.

Bottom line: I wish this had been attended by fewer attorneys and more actual scientists. The only person there on the side of science was Neufeld and that is problematic. The rest of them barely understood what science is, the methods being used, or the problems with them.

Nothing more frustrating than watching lawyers, prosecutors, and police advocates argue over these things without input from actual scientists.

Wouldn't it be refreshing if our courts relied upon science rather than the manipulations of prosecutors going for a win? And if our representatives relied upon unbiased testimony from independent experts rather than hacks trying to preserve their funding?

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