Here is a narrative by a fellow who spends money on PR releases about forensics. This piece is regarding the speech given last week by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Yates outlined the reasons and logic for continued review of many other forensic “sciences” even after the FBI’s admission to a systemic dysfunction of scientific proofs over it decades of microscopic hair comparison.
Yates strongly implies that the USDOJ does not consider the hair blunder as an outlier. She must have read the 2009 NAS Report cover to cover. This PR-forensics guy has spent years disclaiming its relevance. Whatever. I’m sure this reveal by Yates made some in the forensics-law enforcement industry shudder. On to the subject at hand.
This author does short shrift about bad “hair” and gains momentum for the remainder about doubting the efficacy of “high” costs versus benefit of going past the what he hoped was a closed chapter and scope of forensic reform. Here is a nugget of his predictable scoffery.
“Reasonable people can disagree about whether or not spending scarce taxpayer dollars on these case reviews is actually necessary – or whether or not it really helps to identify and rectify miscarriages of justice. What is not acceptable, however, is failing to establish reasonable, responsible criteria for what actually constitutes an error. Unfortunately, when Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates claimed that 90% of hair-testing reviews found some form of error, she may have fallen prey to the same temptation for which forensic science professionals have been criticized in recent years.”