Friday, February 20, 2009

Crime Labs Seriously Deficient

Confirming something criminal defense attorneys have been saying for quite a while now, The National Academy of Sciences says with the single exception of DNA, no other crime scene evidence is dependable enough to allow police officers to testify in court, as they often do, that it's "a match" to a specific person.

The National Academy of Sciences was directed by Congress to assess the quality and needs of the nation's crime laboratories. Wednesday's report, "Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward," is the work of a panel of 17 experts, including scientists and lawyers.

In short, the report says the nation's 389 publicly funded crime labs are underfunded, underequipped and so unconnected to scientific standards that testimony in court about their results is often vastly overstated. MSNBC wrote a good article on it.

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