Mistakes and Neglect
The current status of forensics in the criminal justice system is imperfect. There is a belief by some in the general public that forensic evidence is always right (Saks & Koehler, 2008). This belief is wrong and dangerous because it can sway the opinion of those on the jury. Forensic science has not had standardized system of guidelines that experts and laboratories follow (Saks & Koehler, 2008). This has led to many errors and mistake. Without non-profits like The Innocent Project, many more wrongly convicted people would not have been able to prove themselves innocent. Many of those who are sent to prison over wrong forensic evidence do not have the means to hire forensic scientist to analyze the data and lawyers to fight for their freedom.
Jacqueline Blake was an Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) lab employee who failed to complete negative control tests in about 90 different cases (Pyrek, 2010). Jacqueline admitted to her superior that she gave false testimony over a bullet analysis which led to the investigation of her work. The FBI had now had over a 100 samples that were at risk of being incorrect (Pyrek, 2010). Blake 's work showed discrepancies that including impr...
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... the standards in the firearms lab were being met (USA TODAY, 2008). The state police also examined a sample of shooting cases and 19 of them had serious errors out of 200 (Baker, B., 2009). This is about ten percent of errors. The audit discovered that there were many corners cut and other mistakes that were made by not being thorough (Michigan State Police, 2008).
Forensic evidence is an important aspect of the criminal justice system. When forensic experts do not correctly do their job they can have a huge effect on many people. The cases highlighted showed some of the effects that happen when forensic experts do not keep high standards in their job. A few mistakes or a few shortcuts can lead to a innocent person being executed, a guilty murder roaming the streets freely, lawsuits resulting in millions of dollars, crime labs being shutdown, and more.
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