Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Commentary: Radley Balko looks with approval on the important new forensics bill passed by the California Senate in his informative column "The Watch" published by the Washingtom Post - and calls on other states to consider passing similar laws — or better yet, pass more robust safeguards to keep junk science out of criminal trials in the first place."

COMMENTARY: "California's Senate has approved an important new Forensics bill," by Radley Balko, published by the Washington Post on April 11, 2014.

GIST: "California’s state Senate has just approved an important new bill that would help people convicted of crimes due to bad science win new trials. Let’s hope it gets passed into law. One of the most important things we’ve learned from DNA testing is that we have badly misjudged the reliability of a number of methods of forensic analysis. Most fields of forensics were developed by police investigators, not scientists, and aren’t subject to the rigorous standards of the scientific method, such as blind testing and peer review. Yet these methods are still presented to juries as “science.”.........Under the proposed law, if an expert later repudiates his testimony or if an expert’s testimony is later found to be unsupported by science, the convicted have grounds for a new trial. There are some nagging questions, such as what sort of consensus would be needed in the scientific community for the law to apply.........Still, it’s a sensible bill that will at least address the most egregious cases. Other states should consider passing similar laws — or better yet, pass more robust safeguards to keep junk science out of criminal trials in the first place."
The entire commentary can be found at:


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