Progress is being made towards Forensic Science Reform. It has taken 5 years to get coordinated (but preliminary) recommendations from organized forensic practitioners since the 2009 NAS Report on “Strengthening Forensics Sciences.” The NAS slammed a fistful of long accepted forensic “sciences.” (e.g.: bitemark identification and others.)
The National Commission on Forensic Science just issued its first “work product” in dealing with the bad habits of some forensic practitioners. Phil Locke at the Wrongful Conviction Blog posted comments today that will give you an overview.
Phil has been dedicated in exposing problems in court accepted forensic “science.” Some folks within forensic organizations, like the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, have become aware that their previous “acceptance” of the NAS report was little more than posing. Now the NCFS is composed of many AAFS members.
Here’s a quote from Phil’s excellent blog-post giving some background reasons for the 5 year delay.
“Not surprisingly, the NAS report was met with “stonewall” and dismissive resistance from the extant forensics community, as well as the National Association of District Attorneys.”
Here is Phil Locke’s post with links to the NCFS recommendations.
Included in the NCFS portion on expert testimony is:
6. Experts should not testify concerning conclusions that are beyond the limits of a laboratory’s testing protocols.
7. Experts should not use invalid or problematic terms in their reports or when testifying
8. Experts should not use misleading terms that suggest that the methodology or the expert is infallible when testifying.
9. Experts should not use potentially misleading terms in their reports or when testifying without a clear explanation of the term’s significance and limitations.
10. Experts should not use the term “scientific” when testifying unless the basis for their opinions has been scientifically validated.
One comment from me. The NCFS determinations about what needs to been done to corral junk science echoes the contents of Forensic Testimony, Law, Science and Forensic Evidence. This was published by Elsevier in Ocotober, 2013.