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 The Willingham/Willis case has dominated the FSC's docket for several years now, but outdated arson investigations by a longshot aren't the only problems in forensic science.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.