Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Texas Forensic Science Commission: Reforms to body once under blistering attack in the Cameron Todd Willingham case and elsewhere are drawing praise from some of its critics. The Texas Tribune.

STORY: " Reforms expand forensic science commission authority," by reporter Brandi Grisson, published by the Texas Tribune on May 25, 2013.

GIST: "The commission has drawn national praise this year for its handling of another high-profile cases, including an investigation of Jonathan Salvador, whose mistakes in analyzing drug evidence at the Houston DPS crime lab have led to more than a dozen overturned convictions.  “They’re doing a very good job, and they’re really just scratching the surface at finding some of the problems,” said Scott Henson, policy director for the Innocence Project of Texas. Under SB 1238, which both the House and Senate have approved, the commission’s authority will be expanded to include both accredited and non-accredited crime labs. It will also have authority to investigate complaints involving many additional types of forensic science, including latent print examinations, breath-alcohol testing, voice analysis and forensic hypnosis. She said the commission would work to establish best practices to help those in the criminal justice field — in Texas and other states — understand what kind of evidence is reliable. “Those are disciplines where there may be some real questions about the validity of methods being used,” said Garcia. Exempted from the commission’s authority, though, are autopsies conducted by medical examiners. .......“They will be able to identify junk science, which we’re trying to eliminate so that any forensic analysis is based on research and scientific facts,” Hinojosa said. “It’s incredibly important that the public have faith and confidence in the criminal justice system and that we don’t end up wrongfully convicting innocent people.”"

The entire story can be found at:


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