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Blumenthal Statement on the Tenth Anniversary of Landmark Study on the Use of Forensic Science in Criminal Courts

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement today marking the tenth anniversary of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences’ landmark report calling for more rigorous standards in forensic science. Blumenthal is the author of legislation that would ensure the coordination of existing government agencies to conduct the research necessary to scientifically validate forensic practices and create meaningful standards for their use in criminal investigations.

“Ten years ago today, National Academy of Sciences published a stunning report revealing deep, dangerous flaws in our forensic science system. Viewers of shows like CSI and Law Order are accustomed to seeing crimes onscreen solved by analyzing microscopic hairs and bite marks but in reality, this kind of evidence is more subjective than scientific. In one egregious case, a man spent nearly 30 years behind bars because forensic experts were convinced that a dog hair found at the crime scene was his. That’s not science – that’s a scam. Although we’ve made some progress in establishing evidence-based standards across forensic science, recent actions by the Trump Administration are setting us back – a disservice to our criminal justice system and an insult to all who seek truth and believe in justice. There are lives are at stake in inaction: the guilty may walk free to harm again, while the innocent are wrongly incarcerated. On the 10th anniversary of this report, I urge my colleagues to join me so we can finally pass long overdue legislation to reform forensic science.”