On Wednesday, The National Academy of Sciences released a hugely significant report that, as the NY writes:
…….calls into question the scientific merit of virtually every commonly used forensic method, including analysis of fingerprints, hair, fibers, blood spatters, ballistics and arson. Only DNA, which the panel said had benefited from rigorous scientific scrutiny and peer review outside of the forensics discipline, escaped significant criticism.
“The fact is that many forensic tests, such as those used to infer the source of tooth marks and bite marks, have never been exposed to stringent scientific scrutiny,” the report said. The report highlights crime laboratory scandals involving hundreds of tainted cases handled by police agencies in Michigan, Texas and West Virginia, and by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. At least 10 wrongly convicted men have been exonerated as a result of those laboratory investigations, and the cases of hundreds of other people convicted with the help of those facilities are under review.
AG Eric Holder says his office will be “reviewing” the report over the next few days.
Wise idea, Eric.
As the report was just released yesterday, reactions thus far are just the temblers before the quake. But a quake is assuredly coming.
Here’s what the LA Times said in their story on the story:
…..the findings are expected to unleash a flood of new legal challenges by defense attorneys.
“This is a major turning point in the history of forensic science in America,” said Barry Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to exonerating the wrongfully convicted. He said the findings would immediately lead to court challenges.
“If this report does not result in real change, when will it ever happen?” Scheck asked.
The Los Angeles County Public Defender’s office plans to use the National Academy report to file challenges on the admissibility of fingerprint evidence and is reviewing cases in which fingerprints played a primary role in convictions, officials said.
PREDICTION: Look for this report to have a signifcant effect on the issue of the death penalty America. We are already seeing articles like this one.
IN OTHER CRIMINAL JUSTICE NEWS….
THE NEW YORK TIMES URGES Canada’s Harper to press Barak Obama to do the right thing and finally let torture and extraordinary rendition victiom, Maher Arar, finally have his day in the US Courts.
Good for the New York Times
NEARLY EVERY GANG PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION PERSON IN TOWN will be at the 5 p.m. Public Hearing being held in City Council Chambers to discuss a proposed piece of federal legislation known as the YOUTH PROMISE ACT (H.R. 3846), a bill introduced by Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia. Scott will be there. I’ll post a report late tonight.
That “hugely significant report” is probably nothing more than a synopsis of positions offered by defense attorneys in thousands of cases–and, shot down by judges and juries. I suspect that there are more “hugely significant reports” supporting forensic evidence.
About your favored “New York Times” – New York Times Stock Now Costs Less Than Sunday Paper
They’ve falling faster and lower than Bush’s approval ratings.
Fact: The “hugely significant report” is released by The National Academy of Science. It is full of scientific articles that have been rigorously tested and peer reviewed.
If you know of any “hugely significant reports” supporting forensic evidence, that have been rigorously tested and peer reviewed, please let me know. It would help my research immensely. Thanks in advanced!
Yeah, I’ll have as much confidence in the NAS report as I did in the IPCC report on global warming.
This will be a tough one…”calls into question the scientific merit of virtually every commonly used forensic method, including analysis of fingerprints, hair, fibers, blood spatters, ballistics and arson.”
We’ll let others, including outside experts and the courts, decide if the tests and peer reviews measure up. I’ll guarantee you one thing–there will be nothing in that report that defense attorneys and their professional witnesses haven’t already covered.
It seems to me that the organization started with its conclusion and tried to work backwards. Anything to help the criminals, while forgetting the victims and attacking American justice….
Woody, gotta disagree with you on this one.
The first clue is that the field is now called “Forensic Science.” In general, if a field tacks “science” onto it’s name, it isn’t one.
When the academy says that many of these forensic matching techniques have not been scientifically tested, they are almost certainly right.
Lawyers will get away with as much BS as they can, and that includes prosecutors. In our scientifically illiterate society (thank you, public education), the jurors end up listening to a battle of the “experts.”
Just consider the O.J. trial. To anyone with the slightest scientific background, the evidence was overwhelming. To the jurors, well, they allowed themselves to be mislead.
Speaking of prevention programs, just posted on the Times website, “Get Lit Players Bring Poetry to Other (inner city) Teenagers!” They really do seek to fix and steer to a better path “at risk youth” with poetry! From Longfellow and Ezra Pound and Poe to hip-hop. Is this for real or a liberal sop?
Not as practical as learning to install solar panels, but it’s something. Better poetry before jail than after.
That solar program sounds pretty cool, actually — they have to learn or relearn Algebra as part of the course, to figure out how to measure the right number/type of panels. (Wouldn’t that be geometry?) Anytime you can get ex-cons to study high school math sounds good to me. Just as long as they don’t revert to their old ways on the job and cost the city a lawsuit.
WBC, thanks for pointing out the Times article on that Get Lit group. Hey, art is transformative. Or at least it can be if you find—or somebody shows you—the way in.
So, yeah, it sounds for real to me. If poetry or music or reading or…whatever…. can cause a kid to see something deeper and realer and more worthwhie inside him or herself, then it can make a big difference.
Teach kids accounting! That would make them look really cool to their friends.
“In our scientifically illiterate society (thank you, religious right)”
There, fixed that for you. Even Charles Johnson of the conservative Little Green Footballs has that one figured out.
As always, it sure would be nice to have a smart conservative around here.
A very small part of the RR are Biblical literalists and hence are anti-Science. A larger group (but contrary to liberal stereotypes, not a majority by far) are anti-evolutionists, thus being somewhat anti-science.
On the other hand, environmentalists have a lot of power in the education system, and frequently mislead students with gross exaggerations and unscientific assertions.
Compared to the damage our public school systems have done to scientific literacy, the almost-always unsuccessful attempts of the anti-evolutionists to change school curricula are immaterial.
John Moore, with all due respect, while I think some of your social positions are a lot more tenable than some of your detractors here, saying anti-evolutionists are “somewhat anti-science” is like saying someone’s a little pregnant. This is one area of conservatism I have absolutely no patience for.
And as for your last sentence, their efforts may be “immaterial” in the national scheme of things, certainly at the national level, but in school systems like a suburb of Georgia where a friend of mine moved to unaware, the school teaches BOTH Darwinism/ scientific theory and creationism as “alternate theories.”
As an engineer herself, although generally conservative, having her child forced to learn gibberish which is certain to raise children unfit to enter the scientific field is far from immaterial. Trying to remove her child from such brainwashing into stupidity has been bureaucratic nightmare. And the general consensus in Cobb County is that those who think this gravely disadvantages children’s futures are the “radicals” and socially suspect.
Here in LA, where public schools are so poor, sadly many of the more affordable Christian schools teach creationism only. Conversely, I don’t see a whole lot of “gross exaggerations and unscientific assertions” in the public school system from “environmentalists,” who are by no means equivalent somehow to the creationists. While some Goristas may be extreme pessimists and exaggerate timeframes, I don’t see how anything they advocate can hurt a child, like creationism (science illiteracy) does. Sorry, but one of my kids once misspelled “creationism” and came up with “cretinism,” and that stuck in his mind as being an aptonym and I have to say I agree.
First, understand that I think creationism does NOT belong in a science class. It has nothing to do with science. What does belong in science classes is rarely taught well, as evidenced by the products of the system – and that is the philosophy and methodology of science.
If that was taught better, students would be equipped to understand the unscientific nature of Creationism and also to question the many other pieces of unscientific nonsense they are fed (usually in environmentalism – and yes, there is lots of nonsense taught there).
The assertion that “certain to raise children unfit to enter the scientific field” is an extreme exaggeration. As noxious this is to the parents, it is unlikely (especially if parents are involved) to damage the child’s science prospects very much. The odds of the kids actually “learning” this as a “fact,” isn’t that high. The only kids likely to have a problem in the sciences as a result of Creationism are those who believe in it due to their own religion, and who go into specific fields – and even there, only in specific fields.
You might ask here what her are the chances her children could have a career in, say, history, if they maintain her conservative beliefs. The answer is; conservatives cannot get advanced degrees in history almost anywhere in the nation, unless they are “in the closet.”
I consider the Gorista nonsense to be more dangerous than creationism, partly for the same reason that Intelligent Design is more dangerous. Both of these directly undermine the scientific method, while Creationism simply bypasses it. It is the philosophy and methodology of science that is by far the most important part of any science education.
The Goristas do more than exaggerate facts – they present controversial results of a weak scientific field as facts, and they present “peer review” and “consensus” as meaningful measure of value of scientific assertions – greatly undermining the understanding of the scientific process.
I have a problem with that. Creationism in the guise of science is wrong, but Creationism by itself is an orthogonal religious belief (that I do NOT subscribe to).
Sorry ’bout the typos.
Having, against my better judgement, read this thread I’ve come to the conclusion that the “Mooristas'” brand of nonsense is more dangerous than Woody’s drivel.
crawl back under the bridge, reg
Go fuck yourself, fascist bastard. Your “twister” antics were hilarious.