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The Champion

July 2017 , Page 40 

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Another Opportunity for Forensic Reform: A Call to the Courts

By Jennifer Friedman

The criminal justice system has been given another chance to get it right when it comes to the admissibility of scientific evidence. A report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST),1 “Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods,” sends a clear message: evidence that is not scientifically valid is not legally admissible. The purpose of this article is to provide historical background on forensic science litigation, summarize the findings of the PCAST Report and suggest new litigation strategies for criminal defense attorneys to take when challenging scientific evidence.

Some History

Since the issuance of the 2009 National Academy of Science Report, “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward” (2009 NAS Report), criminal defense attorneys in jurisdictions with sufficient resources have been aggressively mounting challenges to forensic pattern matching experts a

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