Uniting forensics, law, and social science in meaningful and relevant ways, Forensic Science and the Administration of Justice is structured around current research on how forensic evidence is being used and how it is impacting the justice system. This unique book—written by nationally known scholars in the field—includes five sections that explore the demand for forensic services, the quality of forensic services, the utility of forensic services, post-conviction forensic issues, and the future role of forensic science in the administration of justice. The authors offer policy-relevant directions for both the criminal justice and forensic fields and demonstrate how the role of the crime laboratory in the American justice system is evolving in concert with technological advances as well as changing demands and competing pressures for laboratory resources.
Section IV: Post-Conviction Issues
Forensic evidence serves as a tool that can play an important role in both convicting the guilty and exonerating the innocent. The Innocence Project movement has demonstrated the value of forensic science, particularly DNA analysis, in opening cases and reanalyzing physical evidence using new or enhanced techniques (or simply using techniques that weren't used in the original case) to arrive at a more just outcome. An unfortunate complication is that evidence can of course only be reanalyzed when it is actually retained after the case is closed, and retained using proper storage methods. Yet, laboratory policies regarding evidence retention are varied with regard to how they are implemented and enforced. Some jurisdictions have passed laws requiring evidence retention for particular types of ...