Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods   [open pdf - 2MB]

"'Forensic science' has been defined as the application of scientific or technical practices to the recognition, collection, analysis, and interpretation of evidence for criminal and civil law or regulatory issues. Developments over the past two decades-including the exoneration of defendants who had been wrongfully convicted based in part on forensic-science evidence, a variety of studies of the scientific underpinnings of the forensic disciplines, reviews of expert testimony based on forensic findings, and scandals in state crime laboratories- have called increasing attention to the question of the validity and reliability of some important forms of forensic evidence and of testimony based upon them. A multi-year, Congressionally-mandated study of this issue released in 2009 by the National Research Council (Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward) was particularly critical of weaknesses in the scientific underpinnings of a number of the forensic disciplines routinely used in the criminal justice system. That report led to extensive discussion, inside and outside the Federal government, of a path forward, and ultimately to the establishment of two groups: the National Commission on Forensic Science hosted by the Department of Justice and the Organization for Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. […] This report aims to help close these gaps for the case of forensic 'feature-comparison' methods-that is, methods that attempt to determine whether an evidentiary sample (e.g., from a crime scene) is or is not associated with a potential 'source' sample (e.g., from a suspect), based on the presence of similar patterns, impressions, or other features in the sample and the source."

Publisher:United States. White House Office
Copyright:Public Domain
Retrieved From:The White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/
Media Type:application/pdf
Help with citations