Company of heroes validating media
Such breadth and depth of representation at the national level was unprecedented; these groups have sometimes been accused of talking past, rather than to, each other.For this group to come to consensus on more than 40 recommendation documents attests to their hard work and dedication.This federal advisory board was charged with making recommendations “to enhance the practice and improve the reliability of forensic science.” Sessions didn’t renew the charter of this independent group, instead announcing other steps to be taken within the Department of Justice.DOJ is not a science agency and thus not the ideal place to address core scientific issues.The law is tasked with ensuring public safety and making sure justice is properly served.
Past decisions, known as precedent, are the foundation of this process; as science leans forward, the law leans backward. As a philosophy, the law places a different measure and meaning on precedent than does science.
In 2009, the National Research Council published its “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward” report, which spelled out the discipline’s shortcomings and made numerous recommendations on how to improve and support it.
These included creating an independent federal entity to address the many needs of the forensic science community including more research, assistance with accreditation and increasing scientific rigor.
The department is staffed with dedicated public servants and exemplary forensic scientists, but the independence of science (real and perceived) remains a concern.
The loss of the NCFS, of which I was a member, disrupts our work to help forensic science come of age and to insure the scientific validity of all its subdisciplines – a desirable outcome for its practitioners, the legal system and all of us who are served by it.
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What we know today may be proven wrong tomorrow – and that would be celebrated as innovation and progress.