02.18.09

Comment On The National Academy of Sciences Study On Forensic Science

“As a former prosecutor, I have always found it important to make sure that prosecutors and investigators have all the tools they need to catch and convict criminals.  We also have an obligation to justice, and to ensure that the justice system does not falsely convict the innocent.  Proper and effective use of forensic technology helps law enforcement and prosecutors to achieve both of these goals.  To do this, use of forensic evidence in the criminal justice system must be based on good science, and labs need to examine this evidence in the most accurate and rigorous ways possible. 

“I appreciate the careful and thorough study the National Academy of Sciences conducted over the past three years into how these goals can best be achieved, and I intend to study this long overdue examination of forensic evidence in our courtrooms.  I am troubled by the report's general finding that far too many forensic disciplines lack the standards necessary to ensure their scientific reliability in court.  I am also concerned that forensic laboratories and their experts do not have uniform, mandatory accreditation policies.  There appear to be far too many weaknesses in our system of forensic science.  These problems must be corrected as soon as possible.  

“The Judiciary Committee will carefully review the report and will consider what steps, including hearings and legislation, are needed going forward.  The federal government must do everything it can to ensure that science and technology are used to solve crimes and keep our society safe by catching the guilty, and exonerating the innocent.”

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