January 25th, 2011
The National Academy of Sciences released a report in 2009 detailing major flaws in the way forensic evidence collected from crime scenes is analyzed in the United States. The NAS report detailed how many labs draw conclusions from unproven and non-peer reviewed techniques such as bite-mark analysis. The report recommends implementing enforceable standards for various forensic science areas and requiring mandatory certification for labs and lab workers. Despite the findings of the NAS report, and subsequent Senate hearings on ways to improve the system, Congress has taken little action to strengthen the validity of forensic science in the United States. Bill Leahy, U.S. Senator from VT, proposed a bill in early 2011 that would address some of these concerns, but it has not made much progress. Faulty forensic science has played a role in many wrongful convictions and the until changes are made, this faulty “science” may help send more innocent people to prison.