Saturday, July 02, 2011

Forensic science chair appointment should allow FSC work to move forward

Governor Perry made a safe and laudable pick to replace Williamson County DA John Bradley as chairman of the Forensic Science Commission - Dr. Nizam Peerwani, medical examiner for Tarrant, Denton, Johnson and Parker counties, reports the Texas Tribune. After the drama surrounding the commission over the last two years, this will be a welcome change. I've been impressed with Peerwani since he joined the FSC. Unlike his predecessor as chair, he seems willing to confront failures in forensic science head on instead of obfuscating the issues or attempting to cover up for sloppy or erroneous procedures.

Of course, the FSC has only examined a couple of cases so far because Mr. Bradley slowed down the commission's work virtually to a halt in order to delay the final report on the Todd Willingham investigation. Thus Peerwani's first task should be to re-focus commission efforts on processing cases instead of delaying them, and to identify more cases which merit examination. The Willingham/Willis case has dominated the FSC's docket for several years now, but outdated arson investigations by a longshot aren't the only problems in forensic science. It's time for the commission to move forward and Peerwani IMO is the right appointment to allow that to happen, just as Bradley's was the right appointment when the Governor wanted to delay their work.


Anonymous said...

The Texas Tribune Still Claiming to be "Non-Partisan"

05/04/2011 Robbie Cooper (Urban Grounds)

When I saw Evan Smith promoting The Texas Tribune’s annual membership drive via Twitter last week, I just had to shake my head in bewildered amusement:

Hey, Twitter buds: It's day 2 of the @texastribune pledge drive. Plz support nonpartisan public service journalism
5/4/2011 8:40 am via TweetDeckReplyRetweetFavorite@evanasmith
Evan SmithSo, they’re still pretending to be “non-partisan,” rather than just another Liberal media organization pushing their Liberal agenda?

As Inigio Montoya would say, “You keep using that word (non-partisan). I do not think it means what you think it means.”

The Trib (you don’t mind if I call you the Trib, do you?) was founded by a hyper-partisan Texas Democrat supporter, John Thornton, who claimed that he was, “giving up partisan politics for the sake of the Texas Tribune.” Uh-huh. Sure he will/did.

To show his commitment to giving up “partisan politics” he went out and hired a partisan Liberal political editor (Evan Smith) from Texas’ largest left-leaning magazine (Texas Monthly). Evan then went out and hired a Liberal staff from the deep bench of Texas liberal journalists. One of his prize first-hires, Elise Hsu, has already moved on. To NPR. Known for their diversity of hiring when it comes to political ideology.

If there’s a single Conservative working for the Trib, I’d like to know who it is. Because everyone I’ve met is a standard Liberal Journalist. Just for once, I’d like to see some death row reporting from a pro-death penalty perspective instead of the Deathrow Inmate Groupie reporting that we get from Trib’s rabid anti-death penalty reporter activist Brandi Grissom.

Look, if you don’t want people to think you’re just another typical Liberal media outlet, perhaps you should think twice before taking money from George Soros. Who kinda has a reputation for funding far-left wing media ventures, such as Media Matters.

And having banners on your site bragging about being sponsored by Planned Parenthood (with my tax dollars?) doesn’t do a lot to bolster your non-partisan claims, either.

Look…Trib team…it’s no big deal that you’re a bunch of Liberals pushing your liberal agenda while sneering at Conservatives and Tea Party patriots. Just quit pretending that you’re non-partisan, mkay?

Anonymous said...

Peerwani handled or more accurately mishandled the Branch Davidian autopsies.

There really is no Tarrant County medical examiner office as all the employees work for a separate company owned by Peerwani et al. There is a contract from Tarrant county for services.

Some years ago Peerwani was billing services to surrounding counties From the Tarrant County Medical Examiners office though the work was actually carried out by his private firm.

I wouldn't get my hopes up...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

8:46, try to focus. Your comment has nothing to do at all with this post, and Mr. Cooper can promote his own work without reprinting off-topic posts in Grits comments.

12:21, whatever critiques you may have of Dr. Peerwani, on the FSC he's been a voice of fresh air, particularly compared to his predecessor as chair.

john said...

But I'd hope those that cheated or were incompetent were investigated to the point prosecutions can follow through. Otherwise, it's bees wax as usual, and it hardly matters if it grinds to a halt---since it was already operating only as a expedient rubber stamp to those in charge. This is a typical case where TV shows glorify CSI and in real life neither the will or the competence (or the budget for test gear & mood lighting) exists. WE JUST NEED GOV PEOPLE TO DO THEIR DAMNED JOBS AND HONOUR THEIR OATHS, OR BE BURNED AWAY.

Phillip Baker said...

OH, Cooper..I am live in perpetual amazement at the blinders conservatives seem to love to wear. If ANY article fails to slavishly present their view, it is slammed as "liberal". Conservatives love to sneer at what is called "PC behavior", which they attribute to blind partisanship by progressives. Yet conservative PC is alive and very well. Key phrases that pop up-"war against Christianity","war on Christmas", "liberal media", "liberal- leaning,sympathizing, whatever as long as it is perceived as "liberal", which they define as ANYthing not officially approved by and believed in by conservative extremists. So where's the attack on Fox News, the unabashed mouthpiece of far right conservatism? A little consistency please, or is that simply asking too much?

Anonymous said...


First, Dr. Peerwani recommended abatement for the other (third) investigation that the FSC was (supposedly) working on...stalling it indefinitely and without logical cause(FSC Meeting Minutes July 23, 2010).

Second, Dr. Peerwani accepted a paid position to be an "independent forensic expert" for the very lab the FSC was supposed to be investigating (March 16, 2011,

This screams conflict-of-interest, if not an outright deliberate indifference to their duties are as unbiased investigators.

"A voice of fresh air" is certainly not what I would call him.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

2:19, are you talking about the investigation into the Austin lab? If so, I actually agreed with him on that.

To appreciate why he's a breath of fresh air, perhaps you'd have had to watched the FSC meetings up close and personal over the last couple of years as I've done. He's no John Bradley and is actually critical of junk science to an extent his predecessor never was. Do I agree with him on everything or support his every consulting arrangement? Of course not. But he's not the politicized, agenda-driven hack that Bradley was.

Anonymous said...


Nope. Not Austin. Which goes to show how far they went to make complaint 09-15 "disappear". The Dallas County Crime Lab has been on their investigation "to-do" list since March 2009.

Anonymous said...

GUESS WHAT "TEXAS THE HUNS"! You keep griping and whining about "Texas Liberals". If it were not for THE TEXAS TRIBUNE expressing more than your "Bible thumping, blood thirsty," point of view, the rest of the country would be shunning Texas as a 'PRISON, HANG UM HIGH, JAIL CASH COW, TWO FACE, NARROW MINDED, SO CALLED CHRISTIAN state. Conservative want to tell EVERYBODY how they MUST live. That's why you - have more prison's and execute more people than any other State in the country.
YOU might think your, "I know what God wants", attitude is rightous. But rest of the Country thinks Texas is the last place in the of world they want to live or even visit. YOU people are scary!

Anonymous said...

"Stalling For Jesus". Is that what Perry thinks he's doing by dragging his feet in the forensic science labs of Texas? Oh yea. I forgot. Texas would have no industry without PRISONS!!!!