Saturday, January 04, 2014

Commission to discuss reviews of flawed forensic disciplines

The Texas Forensic Science Commission meeting next week in Austin (Friday, Jan. 10, see their agenda) will include discussions of the ongoing arson review by the state fire marshal, the review of hair and fiber microscopy cases whose scientific basis has been called into question, "Brady" training for forensic scientists, as well as pending litigation over the DPS-Houston crime lab fiasco stemming from misconduct by analyst Jonathan Salvador and a number of other interesting topics.

Regrettably, these meetings have not been well-covered by the MSM over the last couple of years, but looking at the agenda, there's a fair amount of meat on the bone this time around so maybe that will change. See also the agency's extensive 202-page 2013 annual report (pdf).


dfisher said...


This weeks meeting of the Forensic Science Commission should be very interesting since the first of 4 criminal complaints against it's members start going out this week.

The Longview News Journal has an article in today's paper. Copy and paste the below web address to view the article.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Of course, by statute, they're still not allowed to investigate medical examiners.

If the ME's office does other crime lab work, that's fair game, but not their autopsy work, unfortunately. I never supported that restriction but its inclusion was necessary to expand the FSC's jurisdiction in other areas like old arson cases, etc..

Anonymous said...

To dfisher-

What are the 3 other criminal charges and who are the other FSC members involved?

Dr. Peerwani was caught once before accepting a contract from a crime lab the FSC was investigating. As was Dr. Eisenberg.

Disregarding ethics and accountability, the FSC ignored the blatant conflict of interests and continued business as usual.

dfisher said...


The reason the Forensic Science Commission can't review that part of an autopsy performed by a physician or medical examiner is they both are covered by the judiciary, and may only be reviewed under an appeal to a higher court, or a mandamus.

Physicians can only perform a forensic autopsy under order of a justice of the peace.

The TX Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 49.25, sec. 6(a) imposes the duty of conducting inquest with or without a jury on the medical examiner and their deputies. Only judges can impanel juries, so like JP's, medical examiners are judges. This is what the 1st Court of Appeals held in 2009.

As you can see in the article, Tarrant County's so called medical examiner is a professional association, and the professional association hires Peerwani and the deputies as independent contractors.

The Tarrant CO Commissioners Court never had the authority to enter into a contractor agreement with Peerwani's company to perform an autopsy or sign a death certificate, as the latter is a third degree felony.

dfisher said...


The kkk in front of the last posting is some kind of error. Possible NSA hacking.

Anonymous said...

The remit of the FSC should be expended to the still prevalent "junk science" of predictions of future dangerousness in capital cases, and to psychiatric and psychological testimony generally - there's a huge amount of pure garbage testimony out there, but for some reason it doesn't get the media coverage that the physical sciences do.