News 02.05.14

National Forensic Science Commission to Set Standards for Crime Labs

In an effort to improve how forensic evidence is handled in crime labs and to ensure that forensic disciplines are based on science, members of the newly formed National Forensic Science Commission will develop and advise on standards concerning the intersection between forensic science and the criminal justice system. With more than half of DNA exonerations involving faulty forensic evidence from crime labs and unreliable disciplines, such as bite mark analysis, the commission’s effort couldn’t come at a better time.

 


Nature

magazine reports that the commission, which was formed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), met for the first time this week in Washington, D.C., to discuss training and certification standards.

 

The commission is comprised of 37 scientists, lawyers, forensics practitioners and law enforcement officials — including Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld. It was formed, in part, in response to a 2009 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) 2009 report,


Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward


, that criticized nearly every forensic practice, save for DNA evidence.

 

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