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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Damning Forensics Report is Released


I am writing to alert NACDL membership to an important development that may have a significant impact on criminal defense practice. The National Research Council today released a sweeping critique of current forensic science methods presented by police and prosecutors in courtrooms across the country.

The report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, found that too many “crime” labs evince a prosecutorial bias more oriented toward convicting suspects rather than scientific truth. It found that many currently accepted fields are based on outmoded or untested theories propounded by non-scientists or technicians with insufficient or no background in biological or physical sciences, statistics or mathematics, and that many of those self-styled experts exaggerate their conclusions and/or testify beyond their expertise.

The report, which was ordered by Congress in 2005 and cost $1.5 million, was released at 1 p.m. Eastern time and may be downloaded from the National Academies’ web site. More information and a direct link to the report will be posted on NACDL’s Web site later today. See also---

The National Research Council is the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering. NACDL member Marvin Schechter of New York was on the NRC committee and contributed to the report.

John Wesley Hall, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)1660 L St., NW 12th Fl.
Washington, DC 20036(202)
872-8600FAX: (202) 872-8690

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