Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NRC report on forensic evidence casts further doubt on reliability of lab evidence

In deciding the Melendez-Diaz case, the Supreme Court should not give any weight to whether lab reports are reliable; the essence of Crawford is to make this factor irrelevant. But if the Court were tempted to take reliability into account, a series of recent developments should provide strong caution: Lab reports are not as reliable as people are tempted to believe. Now a report by a committee of the National Research Council has struck another nail in the coffin. The report, issued today, criticizes the nation's entire forensic system, including labs, on numerous grounds. You can read the press release announcing the report, and find a link through which you can order the full report, by clicking here.


Anonymous said...

I believe if a person is charged with a crime and the I.D. is hear say and statements from police are also hear say well the person being charged should be able to confront those who are providing the hear say info...proof leaves out doubt hear say is all doubt, if I choose to admit to a crime and implicate another- its hear say unless I am cross examined

Richard D. Friedman said...

This and a comment attached to another posting are apparently by the mother of a criminal defendant. This comment does not state the law in technically precise terms, but it does seem to be based on an instinctively accurate sense of what the confrontation right is about.