A Path Forward: Where Are We Now?

While DNA evidence has benefitted from extensive scientific research, other forensic fields (such as hair and fiber analysis and ballistics) have not been subjected to extensive research and investigation. Jennifer Friedman writes that cases relying in whole or in part on forensic evidence must be carefully scrutinized. In addition to traditional investigation and obtaining expert assistance, criminal defense attorneys should consider challenging the admissibility of the evidence. Moreover, attorneys should seek to limit how the evidence is presented by the expert — consistent with existing research. Real reform must come from the courts, and effective representation by criminal defense lawyers will spark these reform efforts.