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The National Commission on Forensic Science

Posted by Seth Chazin | Feb 06, 2015 | 0 Comments

The United States Department of Justice, in participation with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, created the National Commission on Forensic Science in 2013. The main reason for establishing the Commission was to address the problems of how scientific evidence is presented in criminal trials.

A sub-committee was created to address concerns regarding issues around the discovery of scientific evidence. The problem is that defendants in federal criminal cases have less protection with regards to scientific evidence than in civil cases.

Recently, the Office of the Attorney General issued a statement alleging  that discovery was not a part of the Commission's mandate. As a result, Federal Judge Jed Rakoff, a member of the Commission and the co-chair of the discovery sub-committee, resigned in utter disproval of this decision.  The Attorney General soon reconsidered the decision and permitted the Commission to consider issues relating to discovery.

Many prominent organizations support the work of the Forensic Science Commission, and its contributions addressing how scientific evidence is presented and examined in court. Discovery is a crucial issue affecting important rights of a criminal defendant and should not be taken lightly.

For more information on the resignation of Judge Rakoff and this controversy, check out this link…Washington Post: Judge Rakoff Returns to Forensic Panel after Justice Department Backs off Decision 

About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 30 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.


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“The death penalty is a lie, a misguided mistake born of anger and frustration. Capital punishment has become a perverse monument to inequality, to how some lives matter and others do not. It is a violent example of how we protect and value the rich and abandon and devalue the poor. The death penalty is a grim, disturbing shadow formed by the legacy of racial apartheid and bias against the poor that condemns the disfavored among us, but corrupts us all. It’s the perverse symbol elected officials use to strengthen their ‘tough on crime’ reputations and distract us from confronting the causes of violence. It is finally the enemy of grace, redemption and all of us who recognize that each person is more than their worse act.”
- Bryan Stevenson