Monday, May 18, 2009

Strengthening Forensic Science

Regular readers of Bearing False Witness know that a failure of forensic facilities in Colorado contributed to Todd's wrongful conviction. Unfortunately, real life isn't like CSI--in real life corners are cut, prosecutors decide what tests will be run, and they often succumb to the temptation to order only tests that will gain a conviction rather than find the truth. And lab technicians sometimes feel pressure to help them make that case, often relying upon what's come to be called "junk science."

You can help fix this problem by raising your voice. Here's text from an email I received earlier today from Sarah Chu, a Forensic Policy Associate at the Innocence Project:

As you know, the Innocence Project has been tracking the work of the National Academy of Sciences Committee’s study group on the forensic sciences very closely over the last two years. Now that Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward has been released, we have been strongly advocating for the report’s primary recommendation: the creation of a non-partisan, independent and science-based agency that will fund basic and applied scientific research on extant and developing forensic disciplines in need of more examination; set standards for their use in court; and coordinate future federal functions, programs, and oversight. We have recently launched a website: to build a coalition to further advocate for our campaign.

I urge all who think that forensic science should actually be a science to support this campaign. Go to and sign the petition.

No comments: