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DoJ and NIST Name Experts to First-Ever National Commission on Forensic Science

Published: Sunday, January 12, 2014
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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Members of the commission will work to improve the practice of forensic science by developing guidance concerning the intersections between forensic science and the criminal justice system.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the NIST announce appointments to a newly created National Commission on Forensic Science.

The commission also 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 is co-chaired by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick D. Gallagher. Nelson Santos, deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Forensic Sciences at the Drug Enforcement Administration, and John M. Butler, special assistant to the NIST director for forensic science, serve as vice-chairs.

“I appreciate the commitment each of the commissioners has made and look forward to working with them to strengthen the validity and reliability of the forensic sciences and enhance quality assurance and quality control,” said Deputy Attorney General Cole. “Scientifically valid and accurate forensic analysis supports all aspects of our justice system.”

The commission includes federal, state and local forensic science service providers; research scientists and academics; law enforcement officials; prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges; and other stakeholders from across the country. This breadth of experience and expertise reflects the many different entities that contribute to forensic science practice in the U.S. and will ensure these broad perspectives are represented on the commission and in its work.

“This new commission represents an extremely broad range of expertise and skills. It will help ensure that forensic science is supported by the strongest possible science-based evidence gathering, analysis, and measurement,” said Under Secretary Gallagher.

“This latest and most impressive collaboration between the Department of Justice and the National Institute of Standards and Technology will help ensure that the forensic sciences are supported by the most rigorous standards available—a foundational requirement in a nation built on the credo of ‘justice for all,’ ” said John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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