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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Errors in State Crime Labs Prompt New State Laws and Procedures

State legislators, troubled by reports of botched DNA tests and other mistakes by forensic analysts, have begun to establish oversight commissions to improve local crime labs and coroner's offices. As a result, the American Judicature Society, a non-partisan policy research group of judges, attorneys and academics, recently held a three-day conference in Greensboro, N.C., to establish recommendations for crime lab practices. The conference's co-chairs include former U.S. attorney general Janet Reno and former federal judge and CIA and FBI director William Webster. 

Virginia, Texas, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Oklahoma, are among the states that already have, or soon will, implement plans for improvement.  These plans include oversight commissions to improve local crime labs and coroner's offices, and required accrediting of local crime labs by professional crime lab groups. Detail on these improvements and recent mistakes that prompted these improvements, here from USA Today. [Mark Godsey] 

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