Friday, August 29, 2008

Correcting forensic science errors

From the Justice Project this week comes another in their excellent series of policy papers on the causes of wrongful convictions in DNA exoneration cases, this time focused on flawed or biased forensic science. From their announcement:

This week, The Justice Project is releasing Improving the Practice and Use of Forensic Science: A Policy Review. This policy review provides an overview of the problems that plague forensic science, offers solutions to these problems, profiles cases of injustice, highlights states with good laws and policies related to forensic science, and includes a model policy.

Learn more about improving forensic science here.

As TJP President John Terzano wrote, “While forensic laboratories have yielded critical evidence in countless cases, preventable error has subverted justice, convicted the innocent, and jeopardized public safety. Law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the public at large all have a vested interest in making sure reforms are implemented to reduce the risk of mistakes and to elevate the quality and objectivity of forensic evidence and testimony.”

Read Terzano’s blog post here.

Research on the exonerations of innocent people has identified many of the primary causes of wrongful convictions. Based on these findings, The Justice Project has constructed a national agenda for reform designed to eliminate common, preventable errors that undermine the fairness and accuracy of our criminal justice system. Providing better oversight and practices in forensic science is one of TJP’s eight initiatives for criminal justice reform.

Learn more about all eight initiatives here.

The report features the story of exonerated Texan Brandon Moon both on the cover and as a key case study. This is an excellent and informative series which I'd strongly recommend to those interested in the topics they've covered. Here are the policy reviews they've addressed so far:

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