"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; http://www.t-mlaw.com/blog/post/the-elephant-in-the-crime-lab/
EDITORIAL: "Crime labs needs oversight Forensic science has been sloppy," published by The Columbus Dispatch on December 4, 2016. An independent newspaper serving Ohio since July 1, 1871; Thanks to Dr. Michel Bowers (Forensics in Focus: CSIDDS) for bringing this editorial to our attention. HL);
GIST: Police and prosecutors call it “the CSI effect”: The unrealistic portrayal of forensic science in television dramas has conditioned jurors to expect — and give great credence to — crime-scene evidence tied to the accused through high-tech analysis. Sometimes, the key to identifying a murderer — and sending him to prison or death — is only few fibers, or maybe a single hair, blood patterns, a trace of poison, a boot mark or a tire track. “Wow,” says the viewer. “That’s unbelievable.” And, in real life, it might be: Forensic science is under attack as highly flawed, according to a recent Dispatch article. A lack of standards, training and verification of results is partly to blame. Other times, scientists appear to go rogue, helping police build their case by favorably interpreting evidence or fabricating results. Take the case of G. Michele Yezzo, whose 32 years of specialized work at the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is being questioned — seven years after she retired. A statewide task force of justice groups and defense lawyers last month launched a sweeping review of all Yezzo-related convictions, despite no problems being found during an internal review by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Regardless of their findings, this controversy underscores a broader debate over the quality of forensic science: Yezzo conducted her analysis of evidence without much oversight. Her reports summarizing findings were reviewed by supervisors, but her actual work, methods and conclusions rarely were checked. And her work went unquestioned even as red flags were raised about her mental stability; for example, records show she was accused of saying she’d shoot her co-workers and herself. Yezzo isn’t the only forensic scientist to fall under scrutiny. In Franklin County, the coroner’s office chief toxicologist from 1977 to 2003, James Ferguson, lied about his academic credentials; his testimony was key to the homicide conviction of a young mother and nurse, whose husband overdosed on drugs. She’d spent 20 years in prison before Ferguson’s dishonesty was discovered. In Los Angeles County, the police department crime lab spent millions of dollars on fixes after it mishandled evidence, notably tainting the famed bloody glove in the O.J. Simpson murder case. And in the 1990s, major reforms followed charges that the FBI crime lab mishandled evidence in key cases, such as the bombings at the World Trade Center and in Oklahoma City. According to the New York-based Innocence Project, more than 100 crime labs and their forensic scientists have been implicated in incidents involving serious errors, falsifying evidence or faulty methods. A 2009 report mandated by Congress cites a lack of standards for training of forensic scientists and testing of evidence. Scientists analyzing trace evidence were largely self-taught and have no data to support their findings, the report from National Research Council said. The council recommended increasing scientific standards and making crime labs independent of the control of law-enforcement agencies and prosecutors. The legal system isn’t immune to injustices, such as mistaken identities or inadequate defense attorneys. That’s why appeals are built into the system. But bad science is preventable, and it is causing widespread harm. A Dispatch analysis of data since 1989 from the National Registry of Exonerations found that faulty or misleading forensic science played significant role in nearly 1 in 4 of the wrongful convictions of 1,900 people. That included 16 Ohioans, four of whom were sentenced to death. People’s lives and liberty depend on competent forensic science. Until this profession itself clears out the “lab rats,” it will continue to be under attack."
See also the CSIDDS post - Look-back and breaking news on why crime labs should have independent oversight - at the link below: "The Columbus Dispatch has undertaken significant journalism and critical review of police-run crime lab culture from a FACT basis of events"
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/