Its time for AAFS members to wake up and respond to this US #Forensic legislation

Image result for TIme to respond
The AAFS [American Academy of Forensic Science: http://www.aafs.org] previously requested comments whether it should support the new legislation proposed by consortium of forensic science organizations (CFSO) creating an office of forensic science within the Department of Justice, within the Center for Disease control or as an independent agency.  Unfortunately, AAFS membership has been generally non-responsive to the proposed legislation.
It is imperative for the AAFS to maintain and voice its impartiality, stature and objectivity in the realm of forensic science. the position of the AAFS in this matter is important. Regardless of your position on the topic, your opinion and comments are an important part of the decision making process. The deadline for comments is March 21, 2017
Comments (yes/no support legislation or explanatory position)  should be addressed to your section chair (see, https://www.aafs.org/about-aafs/aafs-commitees/ ) or if necessary, to AAFS Secretary Jeri Roper-Miller (jerimiller@rti.org).
The proposed bill to allow the US Department of Justice to take command and control of forensic science.
(a) IN GENERAL—There is established within the Department of Justice, Office of Justice 24 Programs (OJP), an Office of Forensic Science (OFS), headed by a Director, appointed 25 by the President, who shall report to Attorney General through the Assistant Attorney 26 General for OJP.
My response: RE: DOJ (CFSO_OFS_Proposal 3_6_17_Rev)
Putting the police in charge of forensic management and ultimate oversight is not a plan that will bode well because of the inherent pro prosecution bias endemic to these parties. I could use as support the numerous position statements rendered after the Nov 2016 PCAST report from LEOs, police ‘scientists’ and prosecutors but don’t want to belabor the obvious.
Mike Bowers DDS JD SCSA (IAI)
AAFS Fellow Odontology
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Forensics: More crime lab scandals: This time DUI results in Denver

Image result for dui

This is from Joe who commented to this blog:

Thousands of Colorado DUI convictions could be in doubt amid forgery allegations:

Colorado lawyers specializing in drunken-driving cases are questioning the validity of thousands of convictions after a technician who certified the state’s breath-test machines said his signature was forged on more than 100 records in 2013.

In addition, a former laboratory director’s signature is still being used on some certificates more than a year after she left the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in July 2015. Those certificates are being used in DUI trials to prove machines were recording accurate blood-alcohol content.

“This is the lab we’re asking to go into court and testify to the veracity of their machines,” said Darren Cantor, president of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar. “It really makes me question whether the CDPHE is capable of doing that.”

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/03/14/colorado-dui-convictions-forgery-attorneys/

Reply

  1. csidds says:

    More evidence of police ‘oversight’ of forensics, regardless of certification by the commercial crime lab industry, is fraught with agenda conflicts and lack of fairness.

Posted in Crime lab scandal | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Forensics Wednesday: ‘we may have to police the police ourselves’ – and other stuff

Image result for police the police

Being poor keeps innocent people in jail and generally ruins lives of many who are not accused of serious crimes. Missouri’s underfunded public defender office forces the poor to languish in jail https://interc.pt/2lThu4T by @chronic_jordan. But the @JusticeDept  Sessions tells LEOs  “good hunting.”

More “I don’t care’ DAs. How junk arson science convicted a mother of killing her own daughters by @lilianasegura. (Long read).

Save the Nat’l Comm’n on Forensic Science- it has done more a great deal to increase reliability of evidence.  @ErinMurphysLaw

Putting lawyers and cops in charge of science at the very highest levels. Traditionally, not a great idea. @maxmhouck

With Sessions being AG, I’m sure anti-forensic sci reformers will flock to this.

The NRA loves J Beauregard Sessions: “Going to right the ship at the DOJ’ of Obama’s neglect of the police and prosecutors causing increase in violent crime.

Bone by bone, Iraqis unearth a mass grave: ‘We will be out there digging until no one is left.’ LA Times.

University of Tennesse – Knoxville: Please contact  medical and dental program with concerns on the ‘science of bitemark comparisons’ training in their dental curriculum. @utgsm

From The Marshall Project:

We spend $100 billion on policing and we have no clue about what works. We need good data to undertake the cost benefit analysis necessary for good policy. THE WASHINGTON POST

More: We have to investigate the police even if Jeff Sessions won’t. THE WASHINGTON POST

 

 

Posted in criminal justice, criminal justice reform | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Univ of California Irvine Welcomes Nat’l Registry of Exonerations !!

California Innocence Project Director Justin Brooks and exoneree Brian Banks in 2012.

Irvine, Calif., March 14, 2017 — The University of California, Irvine Newkirk Center for Science & Society is now the institutional home for the National Registry of Exonerations, the internationally recognized repository of information and research on exonerations of innocent defendants convicted of crimes in the U.S.

Excerpt:“This is an important milestone for UCI and the Newkirk Center for Science & Society,” said Simon Cole, professor of criminology, law & society and director for the Newkirk Center for Science & Society. “The registry is a dynamic project that enhances our longstanding tradition of research and teaching in the area of wrongful convictions and strengthens our commitment to studying the interaction between science and social justice across disciplines, including law, criminology and literary journalism.”

https://news.uci.edu/faculty/uci-newkirk-center-for-science-society-named-home-for-national-registry-of-exonerations/

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Forensics: Junk arson ‘science’ leads to conviction, prison, then a coverup plea bargain

From @LilianaSegura. She spent two years on this and it’s worth the ‘long read.’

“How junk arson science convicted a mother of killing her own daughters.”

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/05/did-angela-garcia-kill-her-own-daughters-arson-cover-up/

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Forensics: This is not anecdotal evidence – Race and Innocence – and an apathetic DOJ

Image result for sessions

Media statements say that Sessions and his USDOJ does not read its own reports. And he admits it. 

Tell them that the following is not /anəkˈdōdl/ (not necessarily true or reliable; without facts or research). Here is his USDOJ address https://www.justice.gov/doj/webform/your-message-department-justice

 

New York Times: Black People More Likely to Be Wrongfully Convicted of Murder, Study Shows

Texas Tribune: Study Finds Harris County Leads Nation in Exonerations

Vox: Study: Black People are 7 Times More Likely Than White People to Be Wrongly Convicted of Murder

NPR and WBUR’s Here & Now: Reports Find Record Number of Exonerations, and Race Plays a Major Role

Thanks to the NationalRegistryOfExonerations@umich.edu,

Posted in exoneration, Exoneration costs, expert testimony, wrongful convictions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Forensics Today – The rise of the ‘I don’t care’ response to forensic science reform

Image result for forensic science reform protecting the innocent

When forensic reform was trending

The Obama-era Commission on Forensic Science just finished its proposals for better over sight on forensics by the Executive branch in the form of an Office on Forensic Science.  It’s been under development back to Obama’s first term and Congressional studies and bill proposals by Senators Leahy and Rockefeller. Additional reviews by the National Academy of Science, the last President’s Council on Science and Technology along with statements from other non-police managed scientific organizations round out major contributions regarding problem-based reforms.

The rise of a ‘don’t care’ climate of forensic police policy

In an extension of his ‘anecotal’ dry-labbing of crime statistics in Chicago, I’m sure now US Attorney General Sessions considers looks at forensic science by the NAS and PCAST to be merely ‘anecdotal.’ The previous AG, Loretta Lynch did her version of “I don’t care” as well.

Of course, the National Registry of Exonerations list of 2000 cases must also be anecdotal.

Image result for forensic science reform protecting the innocent

The media continues uncovering police crime lab scandals nearly each week. These are facts, and are not excusable. Try these:

US crime lab scandals (PBS)

‘Massachusetts’ crime lab scandal worsens.’ (Slate)

‘CSI is a Lie: America’s forensic investigation system is overdue for sweeping reform.’ (The Atlantic)

and …..here.’ A list of major crime lab scandals from 2012 to 2015.

A counter-punch to forensic reform

Here is a major apologist for the crime lab directors and seems to be a reform denier of great self-importance. He is saying the NCFS is a ‘liberal’ conspiratorial-based waste of time and effort. Other views are included in this recent viral ThinkProgress article on junk forensic science antidotes. Among them is AG Session’s thread saying law enforcement is bothered by federal scrutiny and ‘micro-managing.’

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Familiar? Another bitemark conviction getting a DNA-based look after 16 years

Image result for human teeth

Forensic science is not immune to the need for retesting and consideration of its’ flawed methods -Anon

The number of exonerations in the US is probably going to increase with the addition of ‘new DNA technology’ evidence recovered from a bitemark used to ‘match’ teeth of Alfred Swinton in his Connecticut 20o1 conviction. This case includes another bitemark expert recanting his original testimony. This is his second time. The dentist’s first time is Keith Harvard who was released recently on the same basis of forensic flaws in bitemark pattern matching.

Hartford Courant

CBSConnecticut

Connecticut has its share of bitemark identification flaws. The Kunco bitemark has a dentist still authenticating his past opinions of ” a match” with his reluctant current opinion of “cannot exclude”  via tooth marks, decades after the original trial. The bitemarkers cohort are all on the faculty at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and are currently teaching newbie dentists about bitemark pattern comparisons this July. See the bitemark course syllabus here. Look at Wednesday pm. All it now says is ‘Bitemarks’ for the entire afternoon. It originally was described as recognition, documentation and ‘bitemark comparisons.”

It only costs $2700 plus expenses. Too bad this course has the esteemed UT faculty of Anthropology (including it’s famed Professor Bill Bass, the original ‘Body Farm innovator’) involved with this bunch. Dental and Anthropological identification of individuals and mass disaster (natural and man made) victims are too important to be used as a vehicle for these few desperate dentists to claim academic legitimacy.

 

Posted in Bite Marks, Bitemarks, criminal justice reform, forensic science reform, forensic science reform protecting the innocence | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sudden cardiac death of younger people may be genetically controlled – SBS nexus?

“The gene, called CDH2, causes arrhythmogenic right ventricle cardiomyopathy (ARVC), which is a genetic disorder that predisposes patients to cardiac arrest and is a major cause of unexpected death in seemingly healthy young people.”

Let’s see if any of this type of research could be extrapolated to clarify some of the assumptions regarding ‘violence’ in of Sudden Infant death cases. (aka the SBS ‘triad’ that has been so popular with prosecutors and SBS proponents when children show up dead with ‘petechial ocular hemorrhages and few other physical findings.

Full article at Science Daily

Posted in criminal justice reform | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Right to confront prosecution forensic expert now costs defendants $600

Image result for money jail

NC hates to send their forensic lab experts to court to attest to their labwork and experience the joy of cross-examination. That’s since Melendez- Diaz happened in 2009. It threw crime lab techs into court to authenticate and defend their work.

It now imposes a ‘monetary recoupment’ or ‘general cost recovery’ against criminal defendants in order to defray government expenses for ‘court services.’ Apparently these opposing views have not been clearly tested on constitutional grounds. All this surrounds a defendant’s access to the Confrontation Clause and the Right to Remain Silent being diminished.

Here’s an opposing view from defense attorneys can take about defendant fees are :

“Because the NC statute applies only to the prosecution’s forensic experts, defense lawyers might argue that the statute has no legitimate purpose other than to chill the assertion of newly recognized confrontation rights.”

Here is more on this attempt to keep police crime labbers from testifying. I’m sure the District Attorneys in these cases will consider themselves to be knowledgeable scientific substitutes.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment