Forensic Science White Wash: Why do US forensic associations continue to ignore the risks of more erroneous convictions ?

Answer: Its not in their agenda to admit mistakes and they most assuredly hate criticism.

The  National Commission on the Forensic Sciences is the effect of the AAFS and other groups in failing to  initiate their own investigations of these exonerations and the forensic disciplines implicated in false convictions.

But their excitement about so many of their members being placed on the NCFS is truly joyful.

Watch this PBS show. It is very relevant today.

With major contributors from the forensic science community, this in-depth PBS from 2012 presentation discussed the strengths and weaknesses of forensic examiners and their effects on the US judicial system. Erroneous convictions involving bite mark identification and other “impression evidence” are one of its points of focus.

Here is an excerpt from the opening page:


“Program Description
There is a startling gap between the glamorous television world of “CSI” and the gritty reality of the forensic crime lab. With few established scientific standards, no central oversight, and poor regulation of examiners, forensics in the U.S. is in a state of crisis. In “Forensics on Trial,” NOVA investigates how modern forensics, including the analysis of fingerprints, bite marks, ballistics, hair, and tool marks, can send innocent men and women to prison—and sometimes even to death row. Shockingly, of more than 250 (note: the 2014 number exceeds 310)  inmates exonerated by DNA testing over the last decade, more than 50 percent of the wrongful convictions stemmed from invalid or improperly handled forensic science. With the help of vivid recreations of actual trials and cases, NOVA will investigate today’s shaky state of crime science as well as cutting-edge solutions that could help investigators put the real criminals behind bars.


About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
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