CASE CLOSED … what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

Posts Tagged ‘standards for forensic science’

* LA Times: Establishing national forensic science standards is crucial when evidence determines life or death.

Posted by DXer on September 29, 2009

CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why the FBI failed to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

“The whole Anthrax episode is unquestionably a dark moment in American history. But what makes it fascinating is how it was handled (or should I say mishandled) by the administration and the various agencies involved. The book is a must read for anyone who wondered … what really happened? … Who did it? … why?” … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth?”


Editorial from the LA Times … 9-21-09 …

  • Establishing national forensic science standards is crucial when evidence determines life or death.
  • With the busiest death chamber in the nation, it was only a matter of time before Texas positioned itself to become the first state to admit that it executed a person who was wrongfully convicted. And now that day is at hand.
    • According to a nationally respected fire engineer, the so-called scientific evidence used to convict Cameron Todd Willingham of setting a blaze that killed his three daughters in 1995 was not scientific at all.
    • In his scathing report to the Texas Forensic Science Commission, Craig Beyler found that the arson investigators on the case had a poor understanding of fire dynamics and based their conclusions on erroneous assumptions, sloppy research and a dash of mysticism.
    • Willingham’s case is heartbreaking: He lost his children to fire and his wife to divorce, spent 12 years in prison and died still protesting his innocence.
  • But his is not an isolated case. There are thousands of Willinghams in prisons across the country.
    • If not on death row, they are nonetheless serving decades-long or even life sentences after having been convicted on the basis of erroneous scientific conclusions made by poorly trained “experts.”
  • In 2006, Congress charged the National Academy of Sciences with studying the application of forensic science in the U.S. judicial system. Its findings, released last year, are grim.
    • Almost every branch of forensics but DNA testing — hair and fiber analysis, arson investigations, comparisons of bite marks — lacks the extensive scientific research and established standards to be used in court conclusively.
  • In February, the science academy issued a report calling for Congress to create a national institute of forensic science, and there is more than enough evidence that one is desperately needed.
  • As an independent agency, not part of the Justice Department, it would be charged with conducting research, setting national standards for forensic disciplines and enforcing those standards.
  • Right now, standards vary wildly.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the science academy’s recommendations this month, and it is to be hoped that the end result is a national forensics institute.
  • The fate of thousands hangs on the correct analysis of a thread, a hair, the fibers of a rug. We can do better by them, even if it’s too late for Willingham.

read the entire editorial at …

NOTE: There was a long article in the NEW YORKER recently on the Willingham case.

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