Enforce Existing Federal Forensic Science Oversight Program


Writing on The Hill’s Congress Blog today, Innocence Project Policy Director Stephen Saloom calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to make sure crime lab problems are properly addressed by enforcing the regulations under the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant Program. Saloom writes:

In order for the Coverdell grant program to operate as Congress intended, the Obama Administration must manage the program properly and give grant applicants the tools they need to properly investigate forensic problems. Specifically, the Department of Justice, which administers the program, should:

• give grant applicants clear guidance on what constitutes an appropriate oversight entity and process for investigating forensic problems;

• encourage applicants to provide supporting documentation with their applications;

• make it easier for members of the public to file allegations under the Coverdell program;

• make sure funded labs are referring problems to their investigative entities;

• monitor thoroughness and independence of investigations; and, once all of these steps have been taken,

• withhold funding when the requirements are not met.

Read his full post here

. (The Hill, 4/13/09)

Download the Innocence Project’s new report

finding that only 13% of designated forensic oversight agencies meet requirements of federal law.

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