Regulation (or lack thereof) of Crime Labs

The Austin American Statesmen describes how “Despite their high-stakes work for the criminal justice system — from convicting the guilty to exonerating the innocent — forensic labs are surprisingly underregulated.”  They note that a 2013 survey of Texas public labs found that “13 percent had obtained  certification. For DNA examiners, it was only 5 percent. (Texas will require state licensure for several of the disciplines starting in 2019.)”

They describe how: “While the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods recommends best practices and protocols, neither it nor the National Institute of Standards and Technology can enforce them. The FBI ensures labs handle data correctly to access the agency’s vast DNA identification database, but it doesn’t check technical lab work. Texas requires public forensic labs to be accredited for their findings to be used in court, but beyond that demands no standards.”

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