Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NAS Report: No Science in Forensic Science

Forensic scientists come in many forms, and their numbers include many examiners who do not work in crime labs. They also lack uniform standards in education and methodology; their conclusions often lack scientific rigor and are overly confident; and they are too often marked by improper alignment with law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. As consequence, the forensic science community is fragmented and broken, cannot identify let alone fix its own problems, and does not speak with a single voice about what is best for its future. Moreover, it has proven incapable of holding itself accountable for anything that it does. Such are the findings in the recently published report by the National Academy of Science (NAS), Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward (Edwards and Gotsonis, 2009). Subsequently, it falls to those of us who are relatively free to respond of their own accord, without political affiliation, censure, or fear of reprisal, to do so. This commentary is prepared in that spirit.

The commentary is available here, as a pdf:

The NAS Report (released February 18, 2009), along with related press releases and presentations, is available here:


Brent E.Turvey, MS, also author of Criminal Profiling, 3rd Ed. with Elsevier Science (2008), can be reached at

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