Experts Named to National Commission on Forensic Science
More than three-dozen experts have been appointed to serve on the National Commission on Forensic Science, a newly created board that will work to strengthen practices in the field, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The appointees were chosen from a pool of more than 300 candidates and include top names in the fields of research, law enforcement, academia and law. Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole and Patrick D. Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, will serve as co-chairmen of the commission.
“Scientifically valid and accurate forensic analysis supports all aspects of our justice system,” Cole said in a January 2014 press release from the Justice Department.
The group will develop policy recommendations for the U.S. Attorney General and will also be tasked with providing guidance on the interplay between the criminal justice system and forensic science, according to federal law enforcement officials. The policy recommendations are expected to include codes of professional responsibility and certification requirements.
Among the individuals named to the commission:
• Thomas Cech, a University of Colorado Boulder distinguished professor who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1989 and the National Medal of Science in 1995.
• Stephen Fienberg, a professor of statistics and social sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. Fienberg has served as co-chairman of the American Judicature Society’s Commission on Forensic Science and Public Policy, and as chairman of the National Academy of Sciences’ Panel on Statistical Assessments as Evidence in the Courts.
• Barbara Hervey, a judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for the past 13 years. According to the Texas Bar Association, Hervey established the Texas Criminal Justice Integrity Unit in 2008. The unit’s goal is to cut the number of wrongful convictions by boosting the caliber of defense attorneys, procedures for eyewitness identification, reliability of crime labs and attorney accountability.
• Frederick Bieber, a medical geneticist and an associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School. Bieber worked with victims’ families following Hurricane Katrina and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The commission’s first meeting is scheduled for Feb. 3 to 4 in Washington, D.C. Information on the commission, its members, meetings and charter will be available at www.facadatabase.gov.