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NCJ Number: 229759 Find in a Library
Title: Past and Future of Forensic Science and the Courts
Journal: Judicature  Volume:93  Issue:3  Dated:November-December 2009  Pages:94-101
Author(s): Michael J. Saks
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 8
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the results of a report from the National Research Council (NRC) examining the validity of the approaches used by forensic science professionals and the accuracy of their conclusions.
Abstract: This article presents the findings of a report from the Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Science Community of the National Research Council (NRC) who spent 2 years examining "scientific research to support the validity and reliability of existing forensic disciplines." Three events occurred that brought about the need for this report, one legal, one scientific, and one mixed. The first, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the validity of claims made by forensic experts; second, the development of a general model of how forensic identification could be accomplished resulting from the advent of DNA typing; and third, the use of DNA typing to exonerate innocent individuals erroneously convicted of crimes. This article lists eight specific charges given to the Committee when Congress authorized the National Academy of Sciences to conduct an extensive study of the forensic science system in the United States. The general findings and conclusions of the NRC report are discussed. The report lists 13 recommendations for improving the forensic science community and calls for the creation of a National Institute of Forensic Science (NIFS). Thirteen recommendations are presented in this article, as are the proposed responsibilities of the NIFS. Finally, the implications for the courts resulting from the findings of this report are examined.
Main Term(s): Forensic sciences
Index Term(s): Courts; Criminalistics; Evidence identification; Expert witnesses; Forensic science training; Scientific testimony; Trial procedures
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