Innocence Project Calls on Department of Justice to Retract Statement on PCAST Report

We stand by the belief that justice benefits when research scientists work in partnership with forensic scientists.

02.19.21 By Innocence Staff

(Image: Science in HD/Unsplash)

(Image: Science in HD/Unsplash)

The Innocence Project issued a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Feb. 4, urging the administration to retract its recent statement criticizing a widely accepted forensic science report. The report, Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods, was published in 2016 and assessed the accuracy and reliability of forensic pattern evidence disciplines — like the analysis of shoe prints and bullets.

But on Jan. 13, days before a new administration was sworn in, the DOJ released a statement rejecting the findings of the report on the use of forensic science in criminal courts. This rejection of science is not based on evidence or data, and yet will inform how the DOJ approaches forensic science within its laboratories and prosecution strategies. Across the country, the statement will also serve as a reference point in cases in which science will be needed to ascertain guilt or innocence.