In 2009, I bought a copy of a report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) called “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward.” The report–actually it’s a 328-page hardbound book–was the result of a Congressional request that NAS look at the state of forensic science in the United States. Two years earlier, Congress had appropriated $1.5 million for the multi-faceted study. Experts from around the country–forensic scientists, judges, law professors, lawyers, medical examiners and more–were among the community that came together to study the problem areas and recommend improvements. The idea was that the government would then act on the 13 recommendations listed in the report. Those recommendations included studies to establish the scientific bases for determining the validity of a forensic method, make forensic testing independent from law enforcement, create standard laboratory accreditation and individual…

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