"Reformers have for years recommended that all forensic labs be independent from law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies' and this is a key reform promoted by The Justice Project (2008). But fixing these problems is only half the answer' because half of the wrongful convictions attributed to misleading forensic evidence involved deliberate forensic fraud' evidence tampering' and/or perjury.
From "The Elephant in the Crime Lab," by co-authored by Sheila Berry and Larry Ytuarte; Forensic Examiner; Spring, 2009;
STORY:"Is California's new law a model for curbing prosecutorial misconduct," by Gretel Kauffman, published by The Christian Scientist, on October 5, 2016. (Gretel Kauffman ( a Christian Monitor staff reporter) is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a B.A. in American Studies. She has previously interned for NPR’s “On Point,” WXXI Public Broadcasting, and WBTA 1490, and was a correspondent for TheBatavian.com.
SUB-HEADING: "Prosecutors in California who intentionally withhold or tamper with evidence may now face felony charges as a result of a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week."
GIST: "Prosecutors who intentionally withhold or tamper with evidence in California may now face prison time for their actions, thanks to a first-of-its-kind law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week. Such offenses, previously considered misdemeanors, are now punishable by felony charges and up to three years in prison. The new law comes amid controversial allegations that prosecutors with the Orange County district attorney's office failed to turn over evidence in a high-profile murder case, a situation that helped to shape the debate on the state Senate floor. But legal experts say that while the Orange County debacle served as a catalyst of sorts for the legislative process, the new law reflects a larger, growing movement to hold prosecutors and others working within the criminal justice system accountable for their actions. Supporters of the law applaud it as a significant step toward curbing prosecutorial misconduct and the wrongful convictions that sometimes result. But there's no telling how effective the measure will ultimately be – and those on the other side of the fence worry that it could have damaging side effects. The National Registry of Exonerations, launched in 2012, has counted 1,894 Americans exonerated since 1989. Fifty-one percent of those wrongful convictions were due to official misconduct, occurring most commonly in homicide cases. A number of high-profile exoneration cases in recent years have drawn the public's attention to such misconduct, including instances of prosecutors withholding, or tampering with, exculpatory evidence. "This isn't about bad men, though they were most assuredly bad men," John Thompson, who spent 14 of his 18 years in Louisiana State Penitentiary on death row before his exoneration in 2003, told The Huffington Post. "It’s about a system that is void of integrity. Mistakes can happen. But if you don’t do anything to stop them from happening again, you can’t keep calling them mistakes."........."In the long term, there have to be other mechanisms," says Ellen Yaroshefsky, director of the Monroe H. Freedman Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics at Hofstra University. Those mechanisms include reforms in hiring practices, training, supervision, and judicial action, she tells the Monitor in a phone interview. But, she adds, "in the short term, at this time in history, it's a good step forward."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/
Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.