Strengthening Forensic Science In The United States

Author: National Research Council
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 0309142393
Size: 47.85 MB
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Scores of talented and dedicated people serve the forensic science community, performing vitally important work. However, they are often constrained by lack of adequate resources, sound policies, and national support. It is clear that change and advancements, both systematic and scientific, are needed in a number of forensic science disciplines to ensure the reliability of work, establish enforceable standards, and promote best practices with consistent application. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward provides a detailed plan for addressing these needs and suggests the creation of a new government entity, the National Institute of Forensic Science, to establish and enforce standards within the forensic science community. The benefits of improving and regulating the forensic science disciplines are clear: assisting law enforcement officials, enhancing homeland security, and reducing the risk of wrongful conviction and exoneration. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States gives a full account of what is needed to advance the forensic science disciplines, including upgrading of systems and organizational structures, better training, widespread adoption of uniform and enforceable best practices, and mandatory certification and accreditation programs. While this book provides an essential call-to-action for congress and policy makers, it also serves as a vital tool for law enforcement agencies, criminal prosecutors and attorneys, and forensic science educators.

Strengthening Forensic Science In The United States

Author: National Research Council
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 0309131308
Size: 73.42 MB
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Scores of talented and dedicated people serve the forensic science community, performing vitally important work. However, they are often constrained by lack of adequate resources, sound policies, and national support. It is clear that change and advancements, both systematic and scientific, are needed in a number of forensic science disciplines to ensure the reliability of work, establish enforceable standards, and promote best practices with consistent application. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward provides a detailed plan for addressing these needs and suggests the creation of a new government entity, the National Institute of Forensic Science, to establish and enforce standards within the forensic science community. The benefits of improving and regulating the forensic science disciplines are clear: assisting law enforcement officials, enhancing homeland security, and reducing the risk of wrongful conviction and exoneration. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States gives a full account of what is needed to advance the forensic science disciplines, including upgrading of systems and organizational structures, better training, widespread adoption of uniform and enforceable best practices, and mandatory certification and accreditation programs. While this book provides an essential call-to-action for congress and policy makers, it also serves as a vital tool for law enforcement agencies, criminal prosecutors and attorneys, and forensic science educators.

Strengthening The National Institute Of Justice

Author: Committee on Assessing the Research Program of the National Institute of Justice
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 0309156351
Size: 37.53 MB
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The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the nation's primary resource for advancing scientific research, development, and evaluation on crime and crime control and the administration of justice in the United States. Headed by a presidentially appointed director, it is one of the major units in the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) of the U.S. Department of Justice. Under its authorizing legislation, NIJ awards grants and contracts to a variety of public and private organizations and individuals. At the request of NIJ, Strengthening the National Institute of Justice assesses the operations and quality of the full range of its programs. These include social science research, science and technology research and development, capacity building, and technology assistance. The book concludes that a federal research institute such as NIJ is vital to the nation's continuing efforts to control crime and administer justice. No other federal, state, local, or private organization can do what NIJ was created to do. Forty years ago, Congress envisioned a science agency dedicated to building knowledge to support crime prevention and control by developing a wide range of techniques for dealing with individual offenders, identifying injustices and biases in the administration of justice, and supporting more basic and operational research on crime and the criminal justice system and the involvement of the community in crime control efforts. As the embodiment of that vision, NIJ has accomplished a great deal. It has succeeded in developing a body of knowledge on such important topics as hot spots policing, violence against women, the role of firearms and drugs in crime, drug courts, and forensic DNA analysis. It has helped build the crime and justice research infrastructure. It has also widely disseminated the results of its research programs to help guide practice and policy. But its efforts have been severely hampered by a lack of independence, authority, and discretionary resources to carry out its mission.

Dna Technology In Forensic Science

Author: Committee on DNA Technology in Forensic Science
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 0309045878
Size: 36.93 MB
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Matching DNA samples from crime scenes and suspects is rapidly becoming a key source of evidence for use in our justice system. DNA Technology in Forensic Science offers recommendations for resolving crucial questions that are emerging as DNA typing becomes more widespread. The volume addreses key issues: Quality and reliability in DNA typing, including the introduction of new technologies, problems of standardization, and approaches to certification. DNA typing in the courtroom, including issues of population genetics, levels of understanding among judges and juries, and admissibility. Societal issues, such as privacy of DNA data, storage of samples and data, and the rights of defendants to quality testing technology. Combining this original volume with the new update--The Evaluation of Forensic DNA Evidence--provides the complete, up-to-date picture of this highly important and visible topic. This volume offers important guidance to anyone working with this emerging law enforcement tool: policymakers, specialists in criminal law, forensic scientists, geneticists, researchers, faculty, and students.

Support For Forensic Science Research

Author: Committee on Strengthening Forensic Science at the National Institute of Justice
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780309376457
Size: 78.98 MB
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Reliable and valid forensic science analytic techniques are critical to a credible, fair, and evidence-based criminal justice system. There is widespread agreement that the scientific foundation of some currently available forensic science methods needs strengthening and that additional, more efficient techniques are urgently needed. These needs can only be met through sustained research programs explicitly designed to ensure and improve the reliability and validity of current methods and to foster the development and use of new and better techniques. This task is challenging due to the broad nature of the field. Concerns have been raised repeatedly about the ability of the criminal justice system to collect and analyze evidence efficiently and to be fair in its verdicts. Although significant progress has been made in some forensic science disciplines, the forensic science community still faces many challenges. Federal leadership, particularly in regard to research and the scientific validation of forensic science methods, is needed to help meet the pressing issues facing state and local jurisdictions. This report reviews the progress made by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to advance forensic science research since the 2009 report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward and the 2010 report, Strengthening the National Institute of Justice. Support for Forensic Science Research examines the ways in which NIJ develops its forensic science research priorities and communicates those priorities as well as its findings to the scientific and forensic practitioner communities in order to determine the impact of NIJ forensic science research programs and how that impact can be enhanced.

Inside The Cell

Author: Erin Murphy
Publisher: Nation Books
ISBN: 1568584709
Size: 54.30 MB
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Josiah Sutton was convicted of rape. He was five inches shorter and 65 pounds lighter than the suspect described by the victim, but at trial a lab analyst testified that his DNA was found at the crime scene. His case looked like many others—arrest, swab, match, conviction. But there was just one problem—Sutton was innocent. We think of DNA forensics as an infallible science that catches the bad guys and exonerates the innocent. But when the science goes rogue, it can lead to a gross miscarriage of justice. Erin Murphy exposes the dark side of forensic DNA testing: crime labs that receive little oversight and produce inconsistent results; prosecutors who push to test smaller and poorer-quality samples, inviting error and bias; law-enforcement officers who compile massive, unregulated, and racially skewed DNA databases; and industry lobbyists who push policies of “stop and spit.” DNA testing is rightly seen as a transformative technological breakthrough, but we should be wary of placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of the same broken criminal justice system that has produced mass incarceration, privileged government interests over personal privacy, and all too often enforced the law in a biased or unjust manner. Inside the Cell exposes the truth about forensic DNA, and shows us what it will take to harness the power of genetic identification in service of accuracy and fairness.

The Evaluation Of Forensic Dna Evidence

Author: Committee on DNA Forensic Science: An Update
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 0309121949
Size: 60.85 MB
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In 1992 the National Research Council issued DNA Technology in Forensic Science, a book that documented the state of the art in this emerging field. Recently, this volume was brought to worldwide attention in the murder trial of celebrity O. J. Simpson. The Evaluation of Forensic DNA Evidence reports on developments in population genetics and statistics since the original volume was published. The committee comments on statements in the original book that proved controversial or that have been misapplied in the courts. This volume offers recommendations for handling DNA samples, performing calculations, and other aspects of using DNA as a forensic tool--modifying some recommendations presented in the 1992 volume. The update addresses two major areas: Determination of DNA profiles. The committee considers how laboratory errors (particularly false matches) can arise, how errors might be reduced, and how to take into account the fact that the error rate can never be reduced to zero. Interpretation of a finding that the DNA profile of a suspect or victim matches the evidence DNA. The committee addresses controversies in population genetics, exploring the problems that arise from the mixture of groups and subgroups in the American population and how this substructure can be accounted for in calculating frequencies. This volume examines statistical issues in interpreting frequencies as probabilities, including adjustments when a suspect is found through a database search. The committee includes a detailed discussion of what its recommendations would mean in the courtroom, with numerous case citations. By resolving several remaining issues in the evaluation of this increasingly important area of forensic evidence, this technical update will be important to forensic scientists and population geneticists--and helpful to attorneys, judges, and others who need to understand DNA and the law. Anyone working in laboratories and in the courts or anyone studying this issue should own this book.