Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ed Graf: Arson "science." Dallas News says arson science must be applied in the criminal courts;

EDITORIAL:  "Force arson science to apply in criminal court," published by the Dallas News on March 28, 2013.

GIST:  "Modern arson science is gaining traction in large part through a controversial decision by the fledgling Texas Forensic Science Commission to take a retrospective look at the Cameron Todd Willingham arson-murder conviction, which led to his execution in 2004. While not addressing the Willingham verdict, the commission’s final report highlighted weaknesses in the field of arson forensics and recommended ways to improve it. The current state fire marshal, Chris Connealy, is following through on a recommendation to review old arson cases for weak forensic work. The Graf case has surfaced on a short list. The recourse in Texas courts, meanwhile, needs a clear set of rules for defendants whose claims of innocence can be buttressed by advances in science. Toward that end, the Texas Senate this week passed legislation (SB 344) by Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, to let courts throw out convictions that were based on false or discredited forensic testimony. Passed 28-3, the bill tells the courts to be alert to scientific evidence unavailable at the time of trial. The House needs to finish work on this bill. No one should sit in prison on the basis of old wives’ tales."

The entire editorial can be found at:

See "Grits for Breakfast post on Texas Senate bill on  junk science challenges:


I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site. 

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:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.