Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Texans opine at NIST "Error Management Symposium"

Check out video from the National Institute of Standards and Technology "Error Management Symposium" of presentations by Peter Stout from the Houston Forensic Science Center and Lynn Garcia of the Texas Forensic Science Commission:

See all the other speaker videos here. And here are their Power Point presentations:
This newsclip included quotes from Garcia's speech.

Interesting note from Stout's presentation: He said the HFSC has gotten along well with the Houston Police Department, but the police union had been the source of most of the friction. The union v. crime lab tension hadn't occurred to me before.

Garcia suggested that the adversarial legal system stands at odds with improving forensic science, citing the FSC's experience with the Todd Willingham arson case as a prime example. Her description of the DNA mixture issues we've been discussing recently begins at about the 1:41:00 mark.

RELATED: Forensic bite mark analysis takes another hit in an article using its failures to highlight "the weak scientific culture of forensic science and the law’s difficulty in evaluating and responding to unreliable and unscientific evidence."


Anonymous said...

Improvements in forensic science (in the crime lab) can only be made by lab directors and managers that perform the validation experiments and write the protocols. But when Crime Lab leaders kowtow to the Prosecutors, and Prosecutors are winning cases, there is litte incentive for Crime Lab Leaders to change or improve protocols. So the subordinate lab analysts have to work from aged methdologies and out-dated protocols that are half as reliable as they could be.

But you will never hear about a complaint submitted from a lab analyst at the FSC -- And there are such complaints. They're just flippantly dismissed without reason.

Anonymous said...

You mean that "illusion" and "accreditation" can be equated, Ms. Garcia? #scientificsarcasm

Thanks for telling us something we already knew.

Now go back and reassess all the early complaints that you and the FSC dismissed because..."accreditation." I think you will find that a large number of people (Lab Directors, Asst. Directors, Managers, Supervisors) were lying to you.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. THe Arson investigation?? I think the 2010 Cecily Hamilton complaint against the APD would have made a much better example of demonstrating the adversarial system at odds with forensic science.

But that would call for an admission of guilt and negligence by the TFSC (for not performing their job). And Ms. Garcia is not good at expressing mea culpa.