Friday, March 5, 2010

AAFS weighs in on NAS report

From the Seattle Times:

"Crime science tackles tainted image at Seattle meeting
The overriding issue at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting in Seattle this week isn't likely to find its way into a "CSI" television script. In the wake of a blistering report on the nation's crime labs, forensic experts are trying to shore up the scientific credentials of many of their workhorse techniques.

A National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel concluded last year that analysis of bite marks, blood spatters, handwriting and even fingerprints is not backed by the type of rigorous evidence that is standard in other scientific disciplines.

"The dominant message here ... is that the emperor really doesn't have all his clothes on," said Donald Kennedy, former president of Stanford University and an organizer of the NAS review.

Bohan said most forensic scientists have taken that message to heart.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy established a forensic-science subcommittee, and legislation will be introduced in Congress next month to bolster research and oversight of crime labs. But Bohan is impatient for progress.

"Everybody is talking about what to do," he said.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is beginning to fund fundamental research in several areas, including ballistics and fire-debris analysis, said Michael Sheppo, leader of the forensic sciences at DOJ's research arm."

Click here for the rest of the story.

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