The Trump administration’s assault on science continues with the announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the dismantling of the National Commission on Forensic Science (NCFS)—a body dedicated to improving accuracy and reliability in forensic evidence used in criminal cases, an expert in forensic evidence and forensic errors said.
Not only is this short-sighted, but it also short-circuits efforts to address ongoing issues involving forensic errors, wrongful convictions, and crime lab misconduct, said Jessica Gabel Cino, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of law at Georgia State University’s College of Law.
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The practical effect of Sessions’ actions is not that states are going to carry on these efforts. Rather, the ensuing stagnation will have a decades-long domino effect of locking the forensic science community in a silo and allow problems to persist, said Cino, who is on the American Academy of Forensic Science's standards board for DNA and fingerprints.
The board takes the developments and guidelines from NCFS and crafts standards and best practices for crime labs to implement.
Cino is available for interviews and op-eds. She teaches and presents on forensic evidence, criminal law and trial strategy. She administered the Defense Forensic Science Center’s empirical study on fingerprint language.
Cino also has written articles on forensic evidence, including the validity of forensic evidence genetic testing, forensic DNA identification and why forensic lab reviews matter. She has been quoted in various media outlets.