I have been following this for a while. Things seems very unsettled at the new (2012) independent crime lab in the District of Columbia. After another audit, DNA lab work at DC crime lab is now suspended for 30 days to correct statistical methods of DNA mixture interpretation. Other forensic units are expected to undergo additional scrutiny due to the DC DA and mayor going all postal due to the general national collapse of forensic credibility in the public eye. There’s a slight twist to who is doing some of the audits. It shows up at the end of my synoposis. From the WashPost… 

The audit, which was published Friday, criticized the lab’s practices and said they were not in compliance with FBI standards. It ordered “at a minimum” the revalidation of test procedures, new interpretation guidelines for DNA mixture cases, additional training and competency testing of staff.

The DNA analysts at the District’s Department of Forensic Sciences, according to the audit, “were not competent and were using inadequate procedures.” The authors of the review gave the lab a minimum of 30 days to address their concerns.

In an interview Sunday, Max M. Houck, the lab’s director, said that his office is “working diligently” to respond to both audits and that officials there take the reviews “seriously.” Keith St. Clair, a spokesman for the lab, said that whatever processes need to be corrected “will be corrected.”

The D.C. lab was audited last fall by the same accreditation organization that the city used to perform the new review. Houck said his lab passed the previous audit by the group. The FBI also audited the lab last year, he said.

Now THAT LAST is rather ironic. Considering this “dog hair” case they misidentified as a defendant’s hair.  Its title includes “…..losing faith in forensic science.”

WaPo Full Article on the DC lab. 


More doubt and concern of forensic science’s credibility.

“Five Disturbing Things You Didn’t Know about Forensic ‘Science” From Jordan Smith  She leads with bitemark matching.  Plus……….

Elsevier SciTech  (@SciTechELS) about forensic science ethical standards under scrutiny.

“Forensics in Crisis” BBC television new series. 

“How many innocent people id NJ send to prison with junk science?” Editorial


Other media articles from the last 2 days.

HereHere. Here. Here. Here. Here.



About csidds

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