What’s wrong with Forensic Science? Criminal Defense Attorneys That’s What’s Wrong

This blog was created because I was sick and tired of the state of forensic science in American courtrooms. We could do better and we must do better was my thought. So rather than sit around and lament on how unfair the world is and how injustice happens, I created this blog. And I am proud to say that by and large forensic science has improved (through the combined efforts of all). Not nearly as qucikly or as much as I want to, but it is improving.

I believe in putting blame where it belongs. A large (perhaps even majority) of the blame is with my colleagues and friends: the criminal defense attorney. [There are notable exceptions, but by and large this is how I feel.] While it is true that bad science is bad science and it should not be performed or offered in any way as evidence, and to that end the “scientists” who preform the tasks and the prosecutors who introduce the results share the origin of the blame, it is my fellow criminal defense attorneys who have failed historically to do their job when it comes to science in the courtroom. It is our job and our job alone to cause the pause. The pause of “what is this technique?”, “is it valid?”, “is it acceptable modern science?,” but in the over 100 years that forensic science has been accepted in our courtrooms, we have failed. Utterly failed in our duty to be liberty’s last safeguard.

Too many criminal defense lawyers are scared of science. As I have been proselytizing over the last 5+ years on the national lecture circuit and in this blog that science is not this unapproachable gobbledegook of nonsense that the average criminal defense attorney has no mental ability to understand. In fact, once you bother to suspend your disbelief and your own inner critic, you will find that the science is actually on the side of the accused. If you bother to learn science, like you bother  to learn the nuances and interstitial details of the law, then you will be the type of lawyer who will make a difference. This difference is not just to the accused, but rather to the community. For if you embrace science and the law, you will create justice!

So, to my colleagues in the criminal defense world, I humbly ask you:

  • How much longer are you going to marvel at the problem of inequality and injustice with bad science in the courtroom?
  • How much longer are you willing to sit on the sidelines of justice and watch (but loudly complain) when bad science comes into the courtroom?
  • When are you going to be part of the solution?
  • When are you doing to become educated?
  • When are you going to be competent to handle the cases that you decide to take?

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