California panel recommends lab improvements


California’s innocence commission issued its fifth report yesterday, warning legislators and criminal justice officials that the state’s forensic science standards need improvement. The panel, officially called the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, recommended that the state create a forensic science oversight commission.

"This is long overdue," said Gerald F. Uelmen, head of the administration of justice commission and professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law. "We're in a world where forensic science is playing a greater role in all criminal cases. It puts a lot of pressure on the system — not defense lawyers, but prosecutors and the criminalists themselves," he said.

The commission recommended that local prosecutors look into allegations of irregularities in expert testimony and that a council set state standards for forensic experts.

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. (Los Angeles Times, 5/9/07)

The Innocence Project advocates for the creation of forensic science oversight commissions in each state.

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