Thursday, April 19, 2012
Funk & Berman on Attorney Competence in Forensics
Christine Funk and Evan Berman have posted Rising to the Challenge of the NAS Report 'Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward': A Call for Demonstrated Competence Amongst Legal Practitioners (William Mitchell Law Review, Vol. 37, No. 2, p. 683, 2011) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The 2009 report issued by the National Academy of Science, "Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward," highlighted many of the shortcomings of forensic science as it is currently being presented in criminal and civil courts across the country. To a lesser extent, the report addressed the shortcomings of prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges, who receive, interpret, (or attempt to interpret) and utilize forensic science.
With the current system "inadequate to the task of curing the documented ills of the forensic science disciplines" (NAS Report "Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward" (2009) at 85), the system needs to change. This article offers a review of the changing legal landscape and calls for raising the competence bar for practitioners in the criminal justice system through imposing minimum standards for legal practitioners who handle forensic science in court.