Duke Lacrosse Rape Fiasco and Forensics

Roger Koppl, director of the Institute for Forensic Science Administration at Fairleigh Dickinson University, is writing a report for Reason on ways to improve accountability in forensic investigations. The real world ain’t like CSI. In light of the Duke lacrosse rape fiasco, Roger wrote a nice commentary in the NY Post.

[T]hese Duke athletes aren’t the first people to be wrongly accused, nor are they the first victims of a politically motivated prosecutor. Their ordeal demonstrates that we need to make forensic-science services, including DNA testing, available to defense and prosecution teams equally.

. . .

The time has come to free forensic science from the pressures of prosecutorial bias. To that end, crime labs should become independent of police and prosecutors, and public defenders should be given greater access to forensic advice and testing. Crime labs should be independent, operating under the supervision of an officer of the court, who would be responsible for assigning forensic evidence to laboratories and ensuring that all crime labs in the system are following proper scientific procedures.