CSI isn’t like real world crime labs


An op-ed piece appearing today in the LA Times by Innocence Project co-founders Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld makes clear that the bulk of work in crime labs across the U.S. today is not DNA testing – it involves disciplines like pathology, serology, hair microscopy, fingerprints, bite marks and arson analysis. Some of these are more art than science.

DNA IS THE HOT TOPIC in forensic science, but such evidence isn't used in most criminal cases. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, for instance, reports that only 10% of its lab's work involves DNA, and a national study found that DNA accounted for just 5% of crime lab work. In most courtrooms, verdicts are still being swayed by methods that have undergone very little scientific scrutiny.

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..(LA Times, free subscription required)


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