Forensics and science progress are surely interlopers to the minds of ‘tough’ prosecutors like Mr. Sessions. Some States are following his trends by limiting post conviction appeals to a mere 5 years under the guise of “Fair Justice Act(s).” Counter pose that with the fact that the average length of time for a successful DNA exoneration is 14 years. One-half of these cases involved forensic opinions and methods that were flawed or or even worse. All of this prosecutorial hop scotch is happening quick-step while reviews of police controlled forensics is going backwards with alacrity.
The US Attorney General has interrupted federal efforts toward a “Uniform Language for Testimony and Reports” and substantive “Forensic Science Discipline Reviews.” Subjects included the forensic train wreck of bitemark analysis. While we are all waiting breathlessly for Sessions, the State of Massachusetts is setting up the beginnings of its own review and management of police crime labs in the face of its notorious crime lab scandal involving 21,000 cases.
As a substitute, he promised on April 10, 2017 the following:
1. In the coming weeks, the Department will appoint a Senior Forensic Advisor to interface with forensic science stakeholders and advise Department leadership;
2. The Department will conduct a needs assessment of forensic science laboratories that examines workload, backlog, personnel and equipment needs of public crime laboratories and the needs of academic and non-traditional forensic science practitioners, and issue a report to Congress; and
3. The Department will publish a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comment on how the Department should move forward to strengthen the foundations of forensic science and improve the operations and capacity of forensic laboratories. The notice will remain open until June 9, 2017.
“These actions are being undertaken on the expiration of the National Commission on Forensic Science (NCFS) and will increase the capacity of forensic science providers, improve the reliability of forensic analysis, and permit reporting of forensic results with greater specificity. The Task Force’s Subcommittee on Forensics will spearhead the development of that strategic plan.”