Respected DNA experts Rudin, Inman, and Seigel weigh into DC Crime Lab politics and DNA “secret” statistics”

The following is an excerpt of some of the juicer parts of a in-depth after action article by Norah Rudin and Keith Inman in the California Association of Criminalists news letter. They dissect (the long article with accompanying documents starts on page 6 of the CACNews) the time line from the creation of the Washington DC “independent” crime lab in 2012 to its rapid deconstruction in 2015 by the mayor and DA of DC. They had some help from a hired reviewing company called ANAB, DC partisan politics, their ignoring the DC Science Advisory Board, the ANAB certification board having its own standards on DNA mixtures unlike its more prominent competitor ASCLD certifying company’s position, a rush to accept “improved” DNA mixture statistics ( as yet published and secret) made by the ANAB certifier who is an ex-DNA director for the FBI, and the fact that there is bad blood within the DNA community regarding competitive “interests.” Oh, one more: A senior DA involved in all this has a girl friend at the outside DNA lab now vendoring all the DC DNA work.

From Rudin and Inman. (Special thanks to @celiagivens and the Legal Aid Society DNA Newsletter)

Could Your Lab Be Next? A Sentinel Event in the Profession of Forensic Science

Generally, the question exists as to why analytical casework had to be farmed out when the stated issue was with the interpretation protocols. Why could DFS [the DC crime lab] not continue to generate results, and Dr. Budowle or some other expert of their choice provide statistics until DFS implemented its updated protocols and trained its analysts on them? Paying an outside lab to analyze physical evidence is extremely costly; paying a consultant to simply calculate statistics would have been a much simpler and certainly more cost-effective temporary solution. As for Mr. Ambrosino and his girlfriend at Bode Technologies, that is just B-movie sordid—but perhaps standard practice in D.C. politics. An issue of particular concern is the complete and utter disregard for the role of the Scientific Advisory Board, specifically put in place by the legislation to review and arbitrate issues and complaints, exactly of the sort proffered by the USAO [DC bean-counters] and Budowle [the ANAB examiner who now works in TX recently said to the Texas Forensic Forensic Science Commission that DNA analysis’ history as a “gold standard” was a “big mistake”].

About csidds

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