The New York Times Forensic Science discussion seems odd

One person talks about “fixing forensics.” The other asks for forensic experts to be more HONEST about the limitations of what they (for better or worse in some cases) generally call “science.” Talk about attacking a serious subject from both ends of a spectrum.

I’m ok with this as both are part of the forensic puzzle of reform.

I just seem to expect too much from the bastions of forensic knowledge. They still seem to half avoid or totally ignore the serious 2009 statements made by the National Academy of Sciences’ whose attribution of systemic scientific weakness still makes headlines.

At least the following op-ed reprints from Peter Neufeld of the Innocence Project with the accompanying Barry Fisher statement BOTH use the word “forensics.’

They have that much in common.


Ex-AAFS president Barry Fisher has a thing to say about better truth-telling by experts who rarely expound on the weaknesses of their “expertism.” He says it would give judges a better chance to catch the “quacks.”

A close read of Peter Neufeld’s op-ed clarifies why Mr. Fisher’s “explain it better” method would not reach the 95% of criminal cases which use plea deals to avoid trial.

“Can’t fix the system’s use of forensic science without fixing the science.” By Peter Neufeld. Major examples he uses includes the 2 dozen failed cases performed by  the AAFS’s  forensic dentistry elite bitemark experts. 


About csidds

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