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Science is not Waiting for the Courts
Santa Barbara Lawyer Magazine (2015)
  • Robert M. Sanger

The Forensic Science Community and the federal government are moving far beyond the courts in an effort to improve the quality of scientific evidence and expert testimony in the courts. Major events in forensics have caused a top to bottom reconsideration of what should count as expert testimony. Last month, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) convened the first set of meetings of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC). This is a forward-looking approach to forensic science.

The first OSAC meetings were held on February 16 and 17, 2015, at the beginning of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) 67th Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. Discussions of the work of NIST and OSAC permeated the following week of AAFS seminars, discussions and meetings. A recurrent theme was that science had for too long not taken the lead. It was said that the courts look backwards to precedent or to whether a proffered witness had been qualified as an expert in prior proceedings. The overwhelming sense of the convention was that most judges are not fully discharging their gatekeeper obligations under Daubert, Kumho Tire and Joiner.

  • Scientific evidence,
  • forensic,
  • OSAC,
  • NIST
Publication Date
April, 2015
Citation Information
Robert M. Sanger. "Science is not Waiting for the Courts" Santa Barbara Lawyer Magazine (2015)
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