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Betrayers of the Truth: prosecution forensic analysts who lie

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2016 | Firm News

Here is a study that documents how forensic analysts called by the prosecution provided invalid testimony at trial—that is, testimony with conclusions misstating empirical data or wholly unsupported by empirical data. This was not the testimony of a mere handful of analysts: this set of trials included invalid testimony by seventy-two forensic analysts called by the prosecution and employed by fifty-two laboratories, practices, or hospitals from twenty-five states. Unfortunately, the adversary system largely failed to police this invalid testimony. Defense counsel rarely cross-examined analysts concerning invalid testimony and rarely obtained experts of their own. In the few cases in which invalid forensic science was challenged, judges seldom provided relief. This evidence supports efforts to create scientific oversight mechanisms for reviewing forensic testimony and to develop clear scientific standards for report writing and testimony. The scientific community can promulgate standards to ensure the valid presentation of forensic science in criminal cases and thus the integrity and fairness of the criminal process.