Government-Funded Study Calls for Overhaul of Nation’s Crime Labs

Here is an article about the famous National Academy of Sciences study. I thought I should post it as a follow up to my post about the crime labs in San Francisco.

Government-Funded Study Calls for Overhaul of Nation’s Crime Labs

Forensic science has helped send thousands of suspected murderers, rapists and other alleged criminals to prison.

But according to a much-anticipated report released today by the nation’s leading scientific research group, this evidence can’t always be trusted. Calling the forensic science system “badly fragmented,” the report’s authors said their findings could trigger a massive overhaul of the nation’s crime labs.

Defense attorneys all across the country have been calling for vast changes to our nation’s crime labs to ensure proper results.  As it stands, the state of the crime labs is woefully inadequate, as the report confirms:

The report, commissioned by Congress and conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, painted a somewhat dire picture of the nation’s crime labs. It showed poorly trained technicians using unsubstantiated methods to analyze cases in labs that are often underfunded or poorly supervised.

The report also calls for Congress to create a new independent federal agency to oversee these forensic labs:

Most significantly, and perhaps most controversially, the report recommended overhauling how the federal government approaches forensic science by taking it out of the hands of the U.S. Justice Department, which has been criticized for having a lax approach. Congress should create a new, independent federal agency to police crime labs, the report said.

I highly encourage you to read the rest of this article and ask the hard questions:

  • Why are we ignoring scientific standards and sending innocent people to jail?
  • How reliable are the tests being conducted at these labs?
  • Why are we spending so much on other areas and not funding these labs properly?
  • Is the unreliability of these labs putting innocent people in jail and letting criminals walk away free?
  • There are huge DUI lobbies spending millions to influence politicians to enact stricter DUI laws.  What utility are these stricter laws when the supporting evidence is unreliable?

People this is an issue we need to worry about and make sure our politicians and lawmakers act on.

Note: The link to the full NAS report is included below:

Please join us at for a more detailed and comprehensive look into the National Academy of Sciences report to Congress that details deficiencies in the way that forensic science is practiced in the United States today.

-Justin J. McShane, Esquire, Pennsylvania DUI Attorney

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Justin McShane

PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.

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