Issue: Gun Violence
The Commission is developing standards and policy recommendations regarding introduction and use of forensic evidence in courts.
No formal position.
In January 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) appointed members to the National Commission on Forensic Science.
The Commission was charged with improving the practice of forensic science by developing guidance concerning the intersections between forensic science and the criminal justice system. Also, the Commission will work to develop policy recommendations for the U.S. Attorney General, including uniform codes for professional responsibility and requirements for formal training and certification.
The Commission created 23 subcommittees to establish guidelines and standards. A Training on Science and Law Subcommittee was established to explore mechanisms for judges, lawyers, and forensic scientists to engage in collaborative training. The goal was to ensure that legal professionals understand the probative value and limitations of forensic science and forensic practitioners understand legal procedure and issues associated with the presentation of scientific evidence in court. In addition, a Legal Issues Subcommittee was established to address legal issues raised by the other subcommittees.
- The Training on Science and Law Subcommittee developed a Recommendation on Forensic Science Curriculum Development for training judges and others, which was approved on 12/8/15. The Reporting and Testimony Subcommittee is developing the following recommendations.
- On 4/30/15, the Commission approved an Inconsistent Terminology Views Document.
- On 8/11/15, the Commission approved the Views Document on Pretrial Discovery of Forensic Materials.
- On 12/7/15, the Commission approved the Views Document on Documentation, Case Record and Report Contents.
- On 3/22/16, the Commission approved the Recommendations to the Attorney General Regarding Use of the Term “Reasonable Scientific Certainty” and the Views Document on Use of the Term “Reasonable Scientific Certainty.”
- On 6/21/16, the Commission approved the Recommendations to the Attorney General Regarding Pretrial Discovery, the Views Document on Judicial Vouching, and the Views Document on Notice and Demand Provisions.
- On 9/13/16, the Commission approved the Recommendation on Documentation, Case Record and Report Contents
As the new Administration, did not approve a new charter, the last meeting of the Commission was held on 4/10/17. One point of business was to approve a final report, Reflecting Back - Looking Toward the Future.