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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Applied Forensic Science

     The nature of science itself and the fact that forensic science is a service mainly delivered by the government, makes solving its problems a challenge. Science is complex, constantly in flux, and often in dispute. Moreover, government is slow, resistant to change, and difficult to hold accountable. The difficulty in dealing with the government generally is exacerbated by the convoluted structure of our criminal justice system and the adversarial nature of the trial process. Trials are more about winning and losing than achieving truth and justice.

     Most problems in forensic science can be placed into one of three categories: personnel, jurisprudence (courts and law), and science itself. Many of these problems--cuts in governmental funding, the quality of law enforcement personnel, and what legislators and judges do and don't do--are beyond the control of scientists. For these and other reasons, forensic science in America will continue to perform well below its potential. This arm of the criminal justice system represents a failed promise, a reality highlighted by the gap between what people see on television and what takes place in real life.

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