Let the great whitewash begin: The National Forensic Science Commission

Here is an update to an earlier post:

National Forensic Science Commission

The publication for applications was made in the Code of Federal Regulations.

The noble idea was to appoint people to a commission to look at the state of affairs in the modern practice of forensic science in the courtroom. It was supposed to be a scientific effort about science, and a legal effort looking at the combination of the two. Who could be against that?


Like many things that involve politics, the stated ideal is corrupted by the process and is reflected in the outcome.

Here is the list of appointees: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/January/14-at-029.html

With the notable exception of one person, I am thoroughly disappointed by this list.In fact, it makes me want to throw up!

Knowing many of these people, this commission is stacked with people who see no issue in the way that forensic science is practiced today.They have even present lectures with that very title or with that very theme.

There is no one from private practice in the commission. No private practice trial lawyers. No experts who routinely testify for the defense.

Here is my favorite: The Public Policy Director, National Center for Victims of Crime

This Public Policy Director for the National Center for Victims of Crime surely must have a valid forensic science background and experience, right????


With only a few exceptions, they are all members of the American Academy of Forensic Science. (Full disclosure: I am a member of the AAFS but come on, do they really hold a monopoly on knowledge or best practices?)

But hey, it was always going to be a meaningless political white wash any way, right?

When you have one contrarian, inevitability you are going to get a blessing on the status quo to say that this grouping of people is reflective of those who actively practice forensic science in the courtroom is just plain insulting. It features the following: (1) Ivory tower professors with no connection to a courtroom, (2) Laboratory scientists with some who have not testified in the courtroom in a decade if not longer, (3) Two prosecutors, and (4) Two public defenders, only one of which has an active case load that is devoted to forensic science. Come on!



I hope I am proven wrong. It seems to be a whole lot of effort and a whole lot of money that will have no real impact in the courtroom. None.

Way to make yourself irrelevant to 99% of us who actually try cases.

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