PBS’ Frontline, Pro-Publica, and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley have joined forces to investigate the reliability of modern forensics. “The Real CSI,” airing tonight at 10 pm EST, reveals that some of the best-known and most common tools of forensic science—bite-mark identification and fingerprinting, for example—have contributed to wrongful convictions through faulty “expert” testimony.
“What we’re talking about with forensic science is systemic failure,” says Innocence Project co-founder Peter Neufeld. “We’re talking about using techniques, using equipment that’s never been validated scientifically.”
Frontline will also examine the process behind becoming a credentialed forensic consultant. Leah Bartos, a journalism graduate student at UC Berkeley, decided to see just how rigorous becoming a licensed Forensic Consultant was. Says Bartos:
“ ‘It was like an open-book exam basically, and I passed,’ … for $660 and a few hours taking an open-book exam online, she became certified as a forensic consultant by ACFEI.”
Though forensic science is frequently depicted in popular media as irrefutable evidence, the reality is much more complicated.
Watch a preview
of “The Real CSI”.
about unreliable forensics.