Nothing like using empirical data to establish CJ problems that are largely ignored by governmental practitioners. A few folks have been been saying this about ANSI/ASCLD for years. Here’s a scandal-in-point. Crime labs.
From the NYC Legal Aid DNA Newsletter @CeliaGivens
The Austin police crime lab ceased all efforts to reopen DNA and serology testing in December 2016 after an audit conducted by the Texas Forensic Science Commission in June revealed the lab’s use of, “unapproved DNA testing procedures, inaccurate quality assurance methods, unqualified lab technicians and management, and clear signs of contaminated evidence.”
In addition to passing the ASCLD inspection in 2015, the Major Cities Chiefs Association visited the lab and issued a report in February 2016 stating, “it was readily apparent that the [Austin police crime] laboratory and its staff upheld the high standards of accreditation.” Three months later the Texas Forensic Science Commission discovered the lab’s errors.
The fact that the lab was approved twice by at least two independent oversight agencies just months before the errors were found has led many to question the legitimacy of these accrediting agencies. While Texas law requires labs to be accredited by ASCLD if their findings will be used in court, experts note that lab accreditation tests are announced well in advance and “[do not] test the quality of a lab’s work –– only that it has protocols and that they are followed.” Former Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo added that, “he had depended on the outside reviews to identify and correct concerns he’d received about the facility. That the reviews came back clean…leaves him skeptical of the oversight.”