Restoring credibility to forensics

Kick out the pseudo-science and fix the broken incentives for witnesses and information gatherers, advises Radley Balko, which happens to be good advice on the civil forensics/expert witness side as well. More from Balko: “A brief history of forensics” and some thoughts on the lessons learned, or mostly not-learned, from the satanic sex abuse cases of the 1990s. And from Ed Pilkington at The Guardian: “Thirty years in jail for a single hair: the FBI’s ‘mass disaster’ of false conviction,” earlier on that here and here.

One Comment

  • Mr. Balko’s essay on a brief history of forensics was terrific.

    Mr.Balko held out the NAS as a trustworthy institution to opine on forensic science. But even that prestigious institution is subject to political bias. The NAS revised the formula for calculating DNA probabilities. The issue was part of the OJ Simpson trial where judge Ito correctly ruled in favor of the multiplication rule for calculating DNA probabilities. I was really angry with the NAS at the time, and I cheered judge Ito’s ruling.

    Governor George Allen was castigated for use of the term macaca. But he got DNA early on and gave get out of hail cards to anybody with true exculpatory DNA evidence. People value name calling above justice.

    Governor Perry, on the other hand, would not even consider the pleads of forensic experts, and he let an innocent man die by execution. So much for being highly religious.