Sunday, February 16, 2014

National Commission on Forensic Science; Judge Harry T. Edwards paints a stark picture of the obstacles to reform - as he sets out the alternative at the Commission's inaugural meeting: that the courts will continue to admit forensic evidence in criminal trials, without regard to its scientific validity and reliability. Link to the entire address. (Must Read. HL);

STORY:  "Judge Harry T. Edwards delivers opening address at the inaugural meeting of the National Commission on Forensic Science," published by New York University Law Faculty on February 4, 2014.

GIST: "In his speech to the commission, Edwards contended that “judicial review, by itself, will not cure the infirmities of the forensic community…. The burden falls on the scientific community to get this done.” He explained that, “absent meaningful action by scientists and forensic analysts, the courts will continue to admit forensic evidence in criminal trials, without regard to its scientific validity and reliability. Why? Because precedent supports this practice.” He maintained that “the only way that the courts will be able to move beyond this precedent is if forensic practitioners own up to the limitations of their disciplines and real science is brought to bear in assessing whether and how those limitations can be overcome.” The judge also pointed out that, “apart from being bound by precedent, the judicial system is encumbered by judges and lawyers who generally lack the scientific expertise necessary to comprehend and evaluate forensic evidence in an informed manner. And the judicial system embodies a case-by-case adjudicatory approach that is not well suited to address the systematic problems in many of the forensic disciplines. Given these realities, there is a tremendous need for the forensic community to improve.”"

The entire post can be found at:


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