COUNTDOWN: 14 days to Wrongful Conviction Day: (Thursday October 6, 2016);
STORY: "Texas Is Ahead of the Feds When It Comes to Forensic Science in Courtrooms," by reporter Meagan Flynn, published by The Houston Press on September 21, 2016
GIST: "President Barack Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has a pretty clear-cut message to prosecutors across America: Stop convicting people based on junk science. On Tuesday, the advisors released a scathing review of various forensic "science" practices that have, for some time, remained kosher in courtrooms — despite the serious lack of evidence proving their scientific validity. Of the several methods reviewed, the only one the experts deemed trustworthy was your basic DNA testing, or analysis of simple mixtures of DNA when only two people's DNA is present. The other methods the council examined included bitemark analysis, complex DNA mixture analysis, footprint analysis like the kind you might see in some detective b-movie, microscopic hair analysis, firearms analysis and latent fingerprint analysis. And all of them were either in need of substantial improvement to be considered admissible in court or were considered basically useless.Not necessarily a good look for criminal justice, especially when religious viewers of shows like CSI have been accustomed to trusting TV actors to catch the bad guys using these same fancy methods. At least, however, there's some good news: Texas's own forensic science commission — which is not a common agency among all states — has already been studying these very issues in the last couple of years, and the White House findings mirror exactly what Texas experts have been saying. "Texas has been really ahead of the curve in understanding that much of the pattern forensic evidence may be flawed," said William Press, vice chair of the council and a computer science and integrative biology professor at the University of Texas. "Texas is in a better position than most states to take the necessary steps to bring science into forensic science, and to make sure that we convict the right people." The science and technology council's findings particularly line up with those of the forensic science commission on bite mark analysis, hair analysis and complex DNA mixture analysis.".........Still, despite the strides made in identifying questionable forensic science methods Press said that Obama's science and technology advisors have already received negative feedback from prosecutors about Tuesday's report, presumably unhappy that the council is making it harder for them to secure convictions. "It struck us as a little bit shocking, because every time you convict the wrong person, then the actual person has gone free," Press said. "It's hard to see how prosecutors would want to convict the wrong person. I think it's just that the law is a very conservative system, and change is very slow. But we feel that, by now, the scientific evidence is absolutely clear."
The entire story can be found at:
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.