In February 2010, North Carolina exonerated Gregory F. Taylor after he served 17 years of a life sentence for a murder he did not commit. Because of North Carolina’s provisions providing for formal review of innocence inquiries,1 Taylor was able to present exculpatory evidence to demonstrate his innocence. Had it not been for North Carolina’s forensics laboratory, however, Taylor would likely not have been convicted and sentenced to prison. Although the innocence review panel did not disclose the precise basis of its finding, Taylor’s defense team uncovered evidence that the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) Crime Laboratory had failed to disclose exculpatory evidence of serological testing performed on Taylor’s car, which was used at trial to (falsely) link him to the crime. While testimony and SBI reports admitted at trial indicated blood had been found on Taylor’s car, confirmatory tests performed by SBI prior to trial had been negative for the presence of blood. These tests, which produced negative results, were more sensitive than the initial positive tests, but were omitted from laboratory reports and never admitted at trial.2
Even more disturbing, the SBI examiner responsible for withholding the exculpatory results testified at Taylor’s review hearing that he was following SBI policy when he included an initial positive test in his report but did not disclose the negative confirmatory results. Following Taylor’s exoneration, an independent audit of the SBI’s practices from 1987 to 2003 revealed that concealing exculpatory testing was indeed a matter of SBI policy.3 Auditors uncovered 230 cases with similar flaws and found that 80 affected prisoners remained incarcerated at the time of the audit, including four awaiting execution on death row. Five others had died while in prison and another three had been executed.4 While the audit found that no written policy required the examiner to conceal exculpatory evidence in 1993, there was a “sanctioned practice of some N.C. SBI laboratory analysts at that time to omit the results of certain negative or inconclusive confirmatory tests in final lab reports under certain circumstances, and this practice later became written SBI policy in 1997.”5
While the occurrences in North Carolina may seem extreme, it would be naïve to think that the potential for such abuse of the forensic system is limited to North Carolina. Crime laboratory scandals have arisen over and over again across the country in federal, state, and private forensic laboratories. Recent news reports detail problems, for example, in the San Francisco and Connecticut government laboratories.6
Most unusual about the events in North Carolina is the existence of an innocence commission tasked with investigating wrongful convictions resulting from flawed forensic science and an Attorney General’s Office that responded to initiate an independent inquiry. Less unusual are the systemic problems identified and the recommendations made by the independent auditors, which should be familiar to all criminal defense attorneys. In fact, the results of North Carolina’s SBI audit overlap significantly with the problems noted and recommendations made by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences in the 2009 report Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward (NAS Report).7 The NAS Report provides a roadmap for positive forensic reform and improvement of the criminal justice system.
In 2009, the NAS Report recognized a problem of which defense attorneys have been painfully aware for many years: forensic science suffers from “serious problems that can only be addressed by a national commitment to overhaul the current structure that supports the forensic science community in this country.”8 Despite this damning recognition of systemic flaws in the forensic science system, courtrooms continue to be afflicted with unreliable forensics that suffer from bias, lack of validation, and lack of oversight. The systemic change needed has not been immediately forthcoming, at continuing great cost to defendants against whom courts admit invalid and unreliable forensic evidence. Thus, it remains incumbent upon defense attorneys to identify opportunities to challenge the status quo and to demand increased reliability and validity in the forensic evidence presented against their clients.
After reviewing the NAS Report’s recommendations, NACDL released Principles and Recommendations to Strengthen Forensic Evidence and Its Presentation in the Courtroom in February 2010.9 The recommendations focused on seven categorical areas for improvement identified in the NAS Report: (1) a central, science-based federal agency, (2) a culture of science, (3) a national code of ethics, (4) the prerequisite of research, (5) education, (6) transparency and discovery, and (7) defense resources, particularly for indigent defense services.10 These recommendations are intended to engender a commitment to scientific research and education about forensic techniques that is presently lacking in the criminal justice system. Despite the efforts of the NAS and NACDL, however, little of the needed change has occurred in these areas over the past two years.
The NAS Report recognized the local variability in capabilities, resources, and training available in laboratories and observed that the current system “has only thin ties to an academic research base that could support the forensic science disciplines and fill knowledge gaps.”11 To alleviate this problem, NAS recommended the creation of an independent federal agency to oversee the forensic science system, emphasizing that an appropriate entity “must have a culture that is strongly rooted in science” and “cannot be principally beholden to law enforcement.”12 The proposed National Institute of Forensic Science (NIFS) would enhance the reliability of forensic science through, inter alia, identifying best practices, overseeing a system of accreditation, engendering a culture of science, and advancing peer-reviewed research.13 Perhaps reflecting the current economic and political climates, NIFS has not yet been created. The NAS Report emphasized that the other recommendations embodied in the report were “crucially tied to the creation of NIFS” because of the need for standardization, scientific research, oversight, training, and a system of certification that requires a code of ethics.14 The NAS Report emphasized the importance of creating NIFS as an agency wholly independent from law enforcement ties, avoiding conflicts of interest.15
There has been some movement with both federal legislative and federal executive branch responses to the NAS Report. Legislatively, the Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Reform Act of 2011, introduced on Jan. 25, 2011,16 attempts to provide for federal oversight of forensic disciplines. Unfortunately, the proposal fails to address the need for independence from law enforcement. Instead, the proposed legislation places a federal forensic science authority within the Department of Justice (DOJ) with a director appointed by the Attorney General.17 The legislation empowers DOJ to undertake responsibility for best practices, accreditation, national research strategy, the validation process, and defining forensic science disciplines.18
Within the Executive Branch, the Subcommittee on Forensic Science was established several months after the NAS Report’s publication. As set forth on its website, “[t]his Subcommittee was created to assess the practical challenges of implementing recommendations in the 2009 National Research Council (NRC) report … and to advise the White House on how best to achieve the goals outlined in that report.”19 Since its founding, the Subcommittee has had problems with the transparency of its process. Equally important, the Subcommittee appears less directed toward reform and more toward retrenchment.
While the Subcommittee has not issued any formal position papers in its two years of existence, its Co-Chair Kenneth Melson20 has provided great insight into what can be expected of the Subcommittee. Melson has explicitly rejected the NAS Report’s unequivocal and primary recommendation that forensic science oversight be divorced from law enforcement, contrarily writing “the only structure that makes sense to house such an entity is the Department of Justice.”21 In the same paper, arguing in favor of the continued admissibility of forensic evidence regardless of “whether there are studies confirming the scientific validity and reliability of a forensic science discipline,”22 Melson leveled harsh criticism of the NAS Committee’s evaluative process and the NAS Report’s conclusions.23 Melson understood that the NAS Report’s conclusions would be considered both by judges prior to admission of evidence at trial and by juries during trial. He advised “experienced experts” to “foil the effective use of the [NAS] Report.”24 Simply put, the Subcommittee — described by Melson as “an exciting new initiative”25 — appears to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing whose mission is to bury, if not upend, the NAS Report.
Proposals that the forensic science oversight authority be housed in DOJ dangerously tie the development and oversight of forensic science to federal law enforcement. There is no reason to believe that repeating this systemic flaw at the federal level would alleviate the effects of this flaw — particularly the problem of bias in forensic decision-making26 — at the local level. In fact, this proposal flies in the face of the NAS Report’s conclusions regarding the possibility of housing the proposed agency at the DOJ:
There was also a strong consensus in the committee that no existing or new division or unit within DOJ would be an appropriate location for a new entity governing the forensic science community. DOJ’s principal mission is to enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law. Agencies within DOJ operate pursuant to this mission. … The work of these law enforcement units is critically important to the nation, but the scope of the work done by DOJ units is much narrower than the promise of a strong forensic science community. Forensic science serves more than just law enforcement; and when it does serve law enforcement, it must be equally available to law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and defendants in the criminal justice system. … In sum, the committee concluded that advancing science in the forensic science enterprise is not likely to be achieved within the confines of the DOJ.27
In March 2011, the American Statistical Association (ASA) formally expressed concerns about placing forensic oversight within DOJ.28 Noting that the NAS Report “recommended measures that amount to no less than changing the culture of the forensic science community,” the ASA challenged the ability of a DOJ entity to do just that. According to the ASA, the proposed structure “presents potential conflicts of interest precluding the independence required for a forensic science office to be effective at serving the entire forensic science community, including defendants.” Additionally, the ASA exhorted legislators about the need to introduce a culture of science to forensics: “Because DOJ is so integrally tied to the forensic science culture and current problems, a forensic science office must be independent of the DOJ to realize the necessary changes in a timely manner.” ASA declined to support the proposed legislation.29
Past experience with DOJ control over forensics exemplifies the need for independence. Summarizing the FBI’s involvement in counteracting defense efforts to question DNA analysis, Paul C. Giannelli concluded that “the government shaped science by controlling the research agenda, hiding unwelcome test results, attacking legitimate studies that were unfavorable, harassing scientists who disagreed, and ‘spinning’ science in the press.”30 Similarly, law enforcement agencies reacted poorly to post-Daubert challenges to fingerprinting analyses, leading Professor Giannelli to conclude that “the DOJ, through the FBI and NIJ, went to great lengths to manage the research agenda on fingerprint comparisons, as it had in DNA analysis.”31
Supporting the need for an independent agency, Professor Giannelli directly implicates the DOJ in efforts to obstruct the development of forensic science:
The government has not only failed to conduct the needed research, it has thwarted efforts to do so. Indeed, the conduct described … rivals that of some private corporations such as the tobacco industry — shaping the research agenda, limiting access to data, attacking experts who disagree with its positions, and “spinning” negative reports. Currently, we have the worst of two possible worlds. Basic research in the forensic sciences is weak, and the only agency currently capable of funding research, the DOJ, is sabotaging efforts to conduct rigorous independent studies.32
Allowing DOJ control over forensics would thus be a coup for law enforcement and risks making the situation even worse for criminal defendants than before issuance of the NAS Report.
Culture of Science
As Professor Simon Cole noted, the very fact that the NAS Report had to occur to initiate the push for reliability and validity is evidence of the absence of a culture of science in forensics.33 Professor Cole also observed that stakeholders must be careful that “scientific culture” is not “empty sloganeering, rather than a practical set of measures appropriate to the sort of work most forensic scientists do.”34 The introduction of a culture of science requires an understanding of four distinct roles in forensics: researchers, technicians, technical managers of laboratories, and crime scene technicians.35 A culture of science in each of these arenas, however, “would assume, as a fundamental precondition, the removal of NIFS and of forensic laboratories from the control of law enforcement.”36
The NACDL Report expressed the concern that “a close working relationship with law enforcement has detrimentally influenced the mindset of … forensic … facilities and the personnel within them.”37 The experience in North Carolina is a cautionary tale regarding the dangers of state crime labs that are intimately associated with local law enforcement. Among the factors identified by auditors as contributing to the SBI’s ethic was “[a] mindset promoted by the Section Chief that the lab’s customer was law enforcement and reported results should be tailored primarily for law enforcement’s consumption.”38 Such a pro-law enforcement ethic is as inappropriate in a neutral scientific process as it is unsurprising given the affiliation of most local crime laboratories with law enforcement entities.
Transparency and Ethics
Both the proposed legislation and Melson’s published commentary create structures rife with conflicts of interest as state government officials, lab directors and agents, law enforcement, and prosecutors would all be, as they are now, involved in the oversight of accreditation for state forensic laboratories.39 To see the pitfalls of forensic laboratories determining their own accreditation schemes, one needs to look no further than the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB). Although ASCLD/LAB is now separate from its mother organization, the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, its board “is elected by a Delegate Assembly composed of the directors of accredited laboratories and laboratory systems.”40 In other words, crime lab directors founded an organization to accredit themselves and continue to select the Board of Directors of that organization.41 As obviously perverse as these incentives are, ASCLD/LAB “is the largest forensic science accrediting body in the world” and accredits hundreds of laboratories.42
The limitations of, and problems with, ASCLD/LAB’s accreditation have been amply demonstrated through the SBI scandal and through the numerous problems involving other accredited laboratories across the country. Starting in 1988, ASCLD/LAB accredited SBI every five years, allowing SBI’s directors to choose which cases were reviewed.43 At no point did ASCLD/LAB enjoin the troubling issues with SBI’s policies. The problem may not have been, however, simply that ASCLD/LAB missed these flaws. The director of ASCLD/LAB, Ralph Keaton, worked at SBI for 30 years before taking the helm of ASCLD/LAB. According to The News & Observer, “[a]nother ASCLD-LAB official, John Neuner, had been a high-ranking SBI lab official after Keaton left the bureau in 1995. The blood analysis problems spanned both of their tenures, persisting from 1987 to 2003.”44 While the role of these ASCLD/LAB officials in SBI’s serological policies is unclear, it is difficult to imagine that they were unaware of SBI’s policy of nondisclosure of negative confirmatory results. Additionally, if in fact ASCLD/LAB officials were unaware of the policy, questions should certainly be raised regarding the quality of its accreditation program.
One of SBI’s auditors has since remarked that prior to the audit, he believed ASCLD/LAB to be “the gold standard,” but now believes that “it is a minimum standard.”45 For this reason, accreditation procedures and standards should be formulated on an objective scientific basis by unbiased, outside professionals. The day-to-day practitioner should not blindly trust “accredited” forensic laboratories and should instead push in court and in local legislatures for additional disclosure, improved reporting, and transparency in local forensic processes. Furthermore, the experience at SBI supports the call by the NAS Report and NACDL for a national code of ethics that clarifies the role of forensic scientists in the judicial system and that systematizes discipline for ethical violations.46
The Prerequisite Of Research
One of the central conclusions of the NAS Report and a core recommendation of the NACDL Report is that there is a need for scientific validation of the various forensic disciplines. The NAS Report noted a stunning lack of scientific evidence supporting many forensic techniques, explaining that “[a]lthough research has been done in some disciplines, there is a notable dearth of peer-reviewed, published studies establishing the scientific bases and validity of many forensic methods.”47 Specifically, the NAS Report criticized the lack of scientific validity underpinning a broad range of common techniques, including fingerprinting, forensic odontology, firearm and toolmark identification, and microscopic hair and fiber analysis.48 “Make no mistake. This book is a harsh indictment of forensic science as practiced by law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in the United States,” Thomas L. Bohan, former president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, astutely noted in his critique of the NAS Report.49
The findings of the NAS Report called for a scientific response. As Judge Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit remarked shortly after co-chairing the committee responsible for the NAS Report, “[t]he most important part of our committee’s report is its call for real science to support the forensic disciplines. … What is needed is interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed, scientific research to determine the reliability and validity of existing disciplines and to achieve technological advances.”50 A broad and diverse collection of commentators agree:
We all believe that many forms of forensic science today stand on an insufficiently developed empirical research foundation. We all believe that forensic science does not yet have a well-developed research culture. These disciplines, in our view, need to increase their commitment to empirical evidence as the basis for their claims. Sound research, rather than experience and training, must become the central method by which assertions are justified.51
What does this mean for the use of such forensic evidence in court? The NACDL Report directly answered that question: “The results of any forensic theory or technique whose validity, limitations, and measures of uncertainty have not been established should not be admitted into evidence to prove the guilt of an accused person.”52
The prior admission in court of the results of a forensic technique should not lead one to conclude that the evidence is the product of a validated and admissible forensic discipline. “Prior admissibility or use of the results of a forensic discipline, technique, or theory is not conclusive proof of validity or reliability.”53 As Judge Edwards remarked, “[i]f courts blindly follow precedent that rests on unfounded scientific principles, this will lead to unjust results.”54 No action should be taken to legitimize any forensic discipline before its scientific foundations are fully vetted. Honest skepticism for techniques that have not yet been scientifically validated is healthy and necessary.
Nonetheless, suffice it to say that, as Ken Melson encouraged in his article, prosecutors and the forensic scientists have fought vigorously against defense counsel’s invocations of the NAS Report.
Judge Edwards addressed the prosecutorial pushback in a 2010 address:
I recently had an opportunity to read several briefs filed by various U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in which my name has been invoked in support of the government’s assertion that the committee’s findings should not be taken into account in judicial assessments of the admissibility of certain forensic evidence. … This is a blatant misstatement of the truth. … [Such claims] are without basis in fact and utterly absurd.55
The pushback has not, however, been limited to prosecutors. The forensic science community’s pushback has been equally vigorous and, in many ways, equally disingenuous — whether in the courtroom or through its lobbying efforts.
Judge Edwards predicted that the NAS Report would be “‘cited authoritatively’ by the courts in their assessment of particular cases” because, if the lack of scientific validity of a particular technique had been exposed, “no judge would continue to admit such evidence without considering the new information regarding the scientific validity and reliability of its source.”56 Nonetheless, the NAS Report’s conclusions, including the commonsense notion that lack of validation is peculiarly relevant to admission, have received a mixed reception in court. While a detailed case review is beyond the scope of this article, case-by-case litigation has had both gains and losses, such that continued pressure is necessary.
The NAS Report and the NACDL Report presaged a re-evaluation of the admissibility of various forms of forensic evidence by courts across the country. Defense counsel accordingly must emphasize the need to reassess admissibility and the limits of any forensic evidence that is admitted through pretrial challenges addressing the foundation of forensic evidence. Forceful recurring litigation of the need for hearings seeking the exclusion or limitation of the testimony of forensic examiners makes clear that defense lawyers will not permit junk science to be grandfathered into the judicial system, and that the courts will either have to take their gatekeeping role seriously or face the risk of appellate reversal.
The momentum created by the NAS Report must not be lost. Although most defense attorneys were likely not surprised by the flaws underlying common forensic techniques, the NAS Report has created a window of opportunity for defense counsel to demand meaningful reform on all fronts — in the courts, the media, the local legislatures, and the federal system. Less progress has been made on “the path forward” than one would have hoped when the NAS Report issued and when NACDL followed with its recommendations, but with the continued dedication of vigilant and zealous members of the criminal defense bar, the opportunity remains to persuade the criminal justice system to follow the path laid to reform and justice.
- North Carolina is the only state with an agency dedicated to investigating claims of actual innocence. The agency was established in 2006 in response to several high-profile exonerations. See http://www. innocencecommission-nc.gov/rules.html. Under its enabling statute, the Innocence Commission may investigate by compelling the production of witnesses, documentation, and discovery. After a hearing, the Innocence Commission may refer the case to a three-judge panel that conducts an evidentiary hearing at which the defendant must prove actual innocence by clear and convincing evidence. See generally N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1460 through 1470.
Chris Swecker & Michael Wolf, An Independent Review of the SBI Forensic Laboratory 5-7 (hereinafter SBI Audit), available at http://www.ncids.com/forensic/sbi/Swecker_Report.pdf. For comprehensive investigative reporting on the SBI scandal, see http://www.newsobserver. com.
SBI Audit at 2, 7.
- Id. at 4.
- Id. at 12.
- See, e.g., Editorial, State Crime Lab Has Fallen Far Behind, Hartford Courant, Aug. 18, 2011, available at http:// articles.courant.com/2011-08-18/news/hc-ed-crime-lab-crisis-20110818_1_crime-laboratory-directors-backlog-dna-testing (noting loss of accreditation for Connecticut’s crime lab and opining that “[t]he shocking truth is that the once-renowned crime lab is badly broken and needs to be fixed — immediately”); Jason Van Derbeken, SFPD Drug-Lab Problems Could Go Back Years, S.F. Chron., Apr. 2, 2010, available at http://articles.sfgate.com/ 2010-04-02/news/20832186_1_crime- lab-lab-technician-police-lab (recounting ongoing problems with internal handling and thefts of drug evidence). Concerning the Connecticut scandal, see also Lucy A. Davis, et al., Audit of the Connecticut Department of Public Safety Forensic Science Laboratory, External DNA Audit Report on Compliance with the FBI Director’s Quality Assurance Standards for DNA Databasing Laboratories (July 11-13, 2011) (finding, among other things, that modified procedures for DNA analysis were adopted without proper support, documentation, or review); Lonnie Ginsberg, et al., Audit of the Connecticut Department of Public Safety Forensic Science Laboratory, External DNA Audit Report on Compliance with the FBI Director’s Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories (July 11-13, 2011) (identifying, among other problems, lack of procedures ensuring integrity of evidence and lack of basic knowledge among DNA analysts). Concerning the San Francisco scandal, see also Robert A. Jarzen & John Yoshida, San Francisco Criminalistics Police Laboratory Audit of the Controlled Substances Unit (Mar. 29, 2010) (finding that recording net weight of drug samples remains discretionary and that there are ongoing deficiencies in evidence handling and maintaining chain of custody).
Every reader should obtain a copy of the report, which is available as a free download at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12589.
NAS Report at xx.
Hereinafter cited as NACDL Report. This report followed the task force’s study and proposals. Go to www.nacdl.org to read the report.
- Id. at 2.
NAS Report at 15.
- Id. at 14-19.
- Id. at 20.
- Id. at 20-27.
- Id. at 80.
Full text available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/ z?c112:S.132:.
Mr. Melson is a career DOJ prosecutor who formerly headed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives but was reassigned to a forensic science advisory position within DOJ following a congressional investigation into a failed ATF operation. See Jerry Markon & Sari Horwitz, ATF Head Kenneth Melson Reassigned Amid Gun-Trafficking Probe, Wash. Post, Aug. 30, 2011, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/atf-head-kenneth-melson-reassigned-amid-gun-trafficking-probe/2011/08/30/ gIQAjALppJ_story.html.
Kenneth E. Melson, Embracing the Path Forward: The Journey to Justice Continues, 36 New Eng. J. on Crim. & Civ. Confinement 197, 207 (2010).
- Id. at 220.
- Id. at 220-28.
- Id. at 228.
- Id. at 229.
- See, e.g., Paul C. Giannelli, Independent Crime Laboratories: The Problem of Motivational and Cognitive Bias, 2010 Utah L. Rev. 247, 251-54 (2010) (link between law enforcement and forensic scientists may result in examiners perceiving, consciously or unconsciously, that their role is part of the prosecution and not as independent scientists, and to act with confirmation bias).
NAS Report at 80.
Letter of Robert N. Rodriguez, Ph.D., president of the American Statistical Association, to Senator Patrick Leahy, March 31, 2011, available at http:// www.amstat.org/outreach/pdfs/LeahyS132letter.pdf.
Similarly, Nature, the prestigious international journal of science, endorsed the NAS Report. Science in Court, 464 Nature 325, 325 (2010).
Paul C. Giannelli, Daubert and Forensic Science: The Pitfalls of Law Enforcement Control of Scientific Research, 2011 U. Ill. L. Rev. 53, 78 (2011).
- Id. at 81.
- Id. at 90.
Simon A. Cole, Acculturating Forensic Science: What Is ‘Scientific Culture,’ and How Can We Adopt It?, 38 Fordham Urban L.J. 435, 437 (2010).
- Id. at 453.
- Id. at 466-67.
- Id. at 469.
NACDL Report at 5.
SBI Audit at 28.
Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Reform Act of 2011, S. 132 §§ 201–03; Melson, supra note 21, at 219-220.
ASCLD/LAB is full of seemingly inextricable, interwoven conflicts of interest. For example, Mr. Melson is an ASCLD/LAB board member. Go to http://www.ascld-lab.org/board.html.
- See Mandy Locke & Joseph Neff, Legislators: SBI Needs New Accrediting Agency, The News & Observer (Raleigh), Sept. 17, 2010, available at http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/09/17/685970/legislators-sbi-needs-new-accrediting.html.
- Id. ASCLD has separately formed a for-profit consulting organization (ASCLD Consulting) to assist laboratories in passing accreditation standards and a lobbying organization (the Consortium of Forensic Science Technologies). The four separate organizations have listed four different suites in the same office building as addresses, but three of these addresses do not in fact exist. See Joseph Neff & Mandy Locke, Forensic Groups’ Ties Raise Concerns, The News & Observer (Raleigh), Oct. 13, 2010, available at http://www.newsobserver. com/2010/09/26/703376/forensic-groups-ties-raise-concerns.html.
- See NAS Report at 215.
- Id. at 8.
- Id. at 127-82 (describing various forensic disciplines and differences in their scientific underpinnings).
Thomas L. Bohan, Review of Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, 55 J. Forensic Sci. 560 (2010); see also Thomas L. Bohan, President’s Editorial: Strengthening Forensic Science: A Way Station on the Journey to Justice, 55 J. Forensic Sci. 5, 6 (2010) (proposing that research begin with “a series of validation investigations … to determine whether a technique or theory the scientific validation of which has been questioned has in fact already been scientifically validated”).
Harry T. Edwards, The National Academy of Sciences Report on Forensic Sciences: What It Means for the Bench and Bar, 51 Jurimetrics 1, 6 (2010) (originally delivered at Conference on the Role of the Court in an Age of Developing Science & Technology, held at Superior Court of the District of Columbia on May 6, 2010).
Jennifer L. Mnookin, et al., The Need for a Research Culture in the Forensic Sciences, 58 UCLA L. Rev. 725, 778 (2011).
NACDL Report at 8.
Edwards, supra note 50, at 6.
- Id. at 4.
- Id. at 5.
The authors thank Jennifer Friedman and Julia Leighton for comments on drafts of this article. The positions and opinions expressed in this article are the authors’ own and do not necessarily represent the views of their current or prospective offices, NACDL, the commentators, or members of the NACDL Task Force on the Future of Forensic Science.