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Forum Post: New Commission To Set Standards For Troubled Forensic Sciences

Posted 1 year ago on March 24, 2013, 10:22 p.m. EST by GirlFriday (21783)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

After years of reports of troubled crime labs, the U.S. Department of Justice is putting together a commission that will set standards, a professional code and education requirements for forensic scientists.

The U.S. Department of Justice is looking for a little outside help standardizing the science that puts some people behind bars and sets others free. The department, along with a U.S. science body, is putting together a National Commission on Forensic Science, the agencies announced recently.

The commission will create a professional code for forensic scientists, set certification requirements and advise the Attorney General, the announcement said. In addition, the National Institute of Standards and Technology will double-check existing forensic science standards and develop new ways of making forensic measurements.

45% of wrongful convictions stemmed from faulty forensics. The announcement follows nationwide discoveries of sloppily run crime labs. It also comes after years of evidence that many forensic-science techniques need dramatic improvement and sometimes send innocent people to prison--or worse. http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-02/new-commission-set-standards-troubled-forensic-sciences

and additional links: No Forensic Background? No Problem

Crime Labs in Crisis: Shoddy Forensics Used to Secure Convictions

45 Comments

45 Comments


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[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

(quote).....the U.S. Department of Justice is putting together a commission that will set standards, a professional code and education requirements for forensic scientists. (unquote) You mean to tell me there wasn't one before?

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

Ya. That was my reaction. Mind blowing?

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

It might be a case of covering their own butts from a legal standpoint. There's so many holes in the NIST report (not a conspiracy, BTW), that they might be a bit concerned about their own future freedom.

Just a thought, mind you.

But it is mind-blowing that a country as bound by legality as the US, has no set standards in place for this kind of very important professional advice to the courts.

One of our more infamous lawsuits (a dingo took my baby) was based upon what turned out to be flawed evidence from a nooby forensic investigator. The mother spent a considerable time of her life in prison, and received a large compensatory payout on release.

I wonder what happened to the forensic scientist responsible.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and you could have said that name to me and I would not have known who the hell you were talking about. The dingo took my baby and I had a flashback.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

It was a trial-by-public, more than anything. Aussies are ruthless in their gossip and judgement. I'm more inclined to go against public opinion, because it is generally based upon personal prejudice. In this case, Lindy "didn't show enough emotion".

The same thing happened with that poor backpacker, who's boyfriend was gunned down, and she was tied up, but managed to escape into the wilds, and survive the night in the desert. She didn't show enough emotion with a camera shoved in her face. When she was found, her wrists were tied with plastic cable ties. Her survival was something of a miracle, and she'd witnessed the death of her fiance, but apparently she didn't show enough emotion.

Peter Falconio was the victim's name. Her name escapes me. As if she'd wait till they were in the most remote part of our desert, shoot her BF, tie her own wrists with cable ties, and abandon her vehicle to go stumbling around in the dark all night.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

Aussies Nancy Gracing it before Nancy Grace.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Oh, the media always plays a huge part in it.

Gossip mags sell more copy than newspapers here.

Sowing the seeds of doubt is their stock-in-trade, I guess.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

We have the same thing here. Only, that is pretty much what qualifies as news.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

I think when the author of a gossip article says, " we heard from a source close to (insert minor celeb here)", then there is your admission of BS in a nutshell.

But, tasty gossip feeds the mill, I guess. It's the reason I don't watch the tube anymore. Though I do watch movies online, without the adverts.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

Ironically this is also how we realize that an article is bs in the NY Times etc.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Yes, the funny thing is, they never do it to players who have enough money and influence to sue their butts off in court. Was it the NYT that was closely aligned with some Moonies org? Can't remember. Trying to eat breakfast and type at the same time.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

Moonies?

More of a Heritage Foundation thing http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Heritage_Foundation

Happy Breakfast!

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Were you aware? That the science of fingerprinting - is not a science?

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

Sure it is.

Well, according to the DHS it is also an art.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

My bad. It is a science - a poor one.

Example:

This data is then compared by the computer with information that is similar in the database and finally produces a shortlist of matches in order of likeliness. The crime scene fingerprint is compared manually by investigators with the shortlist to identify any matches.


Excerpt taken from :

Forensic Science | Fingerprinting library.thinkquest.org/04oct/00206/text_nts_fingerprinting.htm Fingerprinting. Even with the recent advancements made in the field of DNA analysis, the science of fingerprinting, dactylography, is still commonly used as a ...


Dealing with partials - short list of likely matches. Who else may have a partial print match that is not in the databank?

I don't believe a study has ever been done to rule out the possibility of someone having a full print that could match someone else.

It is a field of probabilities.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

IDK either, but it would be worth trying to research if any have been done.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

This came up just a short while ago - when a school of Forensic Science was found to be accredited by itself.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

I often wondered about the plethora of CSI shows littering the idiot box.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Yep - psych the public.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Now that you mention it, there's another genre, with psychic profilers who pick up the slack when CSI runs out of clues.

There's also one who talks to ghosts, IIRC.

No escaping justice, ppl. Might as well just confess and be done with it.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Even if you actually are innocent.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

As long as there's a conviction, it's Case Closed, hombre.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Well - Hell - No One is perfect - So they gotta have done something wrong at some time in their life - Right?

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Our nations were built on such a premise, I guess.

Can't colonise without a labour force.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Kinda like what modern day greedy corpoRAT assholes are experiencing with out sourcing their work to China. No respect for ownership there - thank you so much for your designs - now we compete with you with your own product. HAH HA.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

It does swing both ways though. China is the largest producer of photovoltaic cell technology, but the lowest user globally, because air pollution is so bad there, that solar panels are rather useless. Poor fella my country.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Yep - funny they go there - rather then pay a decent wage and build a healthy society.

[-] 3 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

I'm researching for a historical adventure novel based in Broome, northwest Australia. Fascinating stories there. The British overlords sent their white suits to Singapore for laundering and pressing. Such was their holier-than-thou attitude at that time.

They also forbid any mixing of the "races" of the many nationalities that made up the population in that multicultural port of old. It all backfired on them in the end though, with the Japanese wresting control of the industry, and sending many of the English boat owners bankrupt.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

How convenient is that?

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

This came up because of a background check ( belated ) into a forensic specialists background concerning expertise in the areas of forensics relating to past court testimony on validity and findings of evidence.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

Do you remember the name of the school?

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Haven't found the specific item I am looking for yet - but you should find this interesting:

Crime Labs in Crisis: Shoddy Forensics Used to Secure Convictions https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/22698_displayArticle.aspx His conclusion is that “bad science, misadventures of forensic experts [and] ... are the forensic “experts” who lie about their academic credentials or accreditation, ..... The investigator also provided a dental mold of his own teeth, which he told ...

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

DNA expert Dr. Elizabeth A. Johnson, a vocal critic of Houston’s crime lab, said there were systemic problems at the lab in regard to forensic testing, including with DNA evidence. “They can’t do a sperm sample separation to save their lives,” Dr. Johnson contended in a 2003 article. “If you put a gun to their heads and said you have to do this or you will die, you’d just have to kill them.”


Ok, I almost fell out. I am adding this article to the top.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

And when you think of the people convicted just because of those failed tests - then killed by death penalty - maybe some forensic testers should be shot.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

Or how about life without parole?

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

What a nightmare - to be innocent - imprisoned on false evidence.


[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (14699) 1 minute ago

'Specially those that insisted they were not guilty........... ↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Yes - such a dreary walking dead life.


[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (14699) 1 minute ago

It sure would be one long life to spend with other lifers though. ↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

'Specially those that insisted they were not guilty...........

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

At least some of those could be freed and perhaps find some sort of compensation - not possible for the dead.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

It sure would be one long life to spend with other lifers though.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

I could probably find it if I googled for the forensic expert that provided own accreditation.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (21783) 1 year ago

Got it or something similar. I'm over at ProPublica

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

I do believe that is the one - forensic accreditation by payment.