Friday, February 27, 2009

NPR CLAIMS Regarding National Academy of Science Report on Forensics

The committee found there isn't enough research behind many forensic techniques to show how accurate and reliable they are.

It also says forensic labs are underfunded and understaffed, and there's no mandatory certification to ensure quality.

It says forensic analysts' court testimony commonly refers to evidence being a "match" or "consistent with" a suspect, even though no forensic method except for DNA analysis "has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source."

While autosomal DNA has passed a Daubert test on whether it is scientific, it receives very little needed review that would show it is not the "gold standard" of forensics.

In Illinois they found 903 pairs of profiles of separate individuals matching at nine or more loci in a database of about 220,000.

In Maryland, in a database of fewer than 30,000 profiles, 32 pairs matched at nine or more loci. Three of those pairs were identical at 13 out of 13 loci.

The danger of DNA: It isn't perfect
The verdict is out on DNA profiles
Top lab repeatedly botched DNA tests
Crime labs finding questionable DNA matches:
FBI tries to keep national database away from lawyers

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