News 02.11.08

Editorials in U.S. and Canada call for crime lab funding and forensic oversight

Newspaper editorials across the U.S. and Canada in recent days have called for government support of reliable forensic science and safeguards against questionable science leading to wrongful convictions.

The Detroit Free Press:

“The U.S. Justice Department should be distributing, not stalling, money set aside to help analyze DNA evidence in cases where the findings might show that people were wrongly convicted of crimes.”

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The Houston Chronicle:

“You would think the last person Texas Department of Public Safety officials would want at the helm of the DNA division of the agency's McAllen crime lab would be a reject from its scandal-scarred Houston Police Department counterpart…”

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From the Ontario (Canada) Daily Observer

: “Dr. Charles Smith is an expert witness (supposedly) in forensic pathology who lied, invented, forgot, pretended, withheld, dismissed, neglected, guessed – and, as a result, sent many people to jail for crimes that never happened. Not to jail for murders they did not do, or for manslaughter cases in which they had no hand, but for murders and manslaughters that never occurred.”

Read the full editorial


The Innocence Project has been at the center of activity in recent weeks aimed at improving the way forensic science is used in American courtrooms.

Co-Director Peter Neufeld testified

before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the federal government’s failure to act on a law seeking to ensure crime lab oversight and fund DNA testing.

And this week Kennedy Brewer is expected to become the first person in Mississippi exonerated by DNA testing. He was sent to death row in 1995 based on seriously flawed forensic testimony.

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