Report on DOJ's Failures Re: Forensic Oversight

The Innocence Project released an 84 page report today showing that under the Bush Administration, the Department of Justice failed to enforce federal forensic oversight requirements. The report lays out corrective measures for the Obama Administration.

A report released today by the Innocence Project shows that nearly five years after Congress passed legislation to ensure that forensic negligence and misconduct are properly investigated, the law is largely being ignored due to a lack of federal guidance and, as a result, serious problems in crime labs and other forensic facilities nationwide have not been addressed.


The 84-page report lays out key problems with the U.S. Department of Justice’s administration of the program for the last several years and outlines improvements the Obama Administration can make going forward.

....The report includes a survey and analysis by the Innocence Project which found that only 13% of the oversight entities meet all of the requirements under federal law – that they be external and independent, and that they have an appropriate process in place for handling investigations.

These are the problems:

• Designated entities aren’t appropriate for conducting investigations. • Entities don’t know they’ve been designated to handle investigations.
• Designated entities don’t have an appropriate process for conducting investigations.
• The Department of Justice grants funds to states that aren’t complying with the requirements.

These are the recommendations for the feds:

• Provide better guidance to Coverdell applicants about what qualifies as an independent external government entity. • Provide Coverdell applicants with a clear framework for an “appropriate process” to investigate forensic errors.
• Encourage each Coverdell applicant to provide supporting documentation with its grant application.
• Make it easier for members of the public to file allegations under the Coverdell program.
• Make sure labs are referring allegations to their investigative entities.
• Monitor thoroughness and independence of investigations.
• Withhold funding when the requirements are not met.

These are the recommendations for states:

• Designate appropriate entities and communicate with them about what’s required.
• Establish policies to clearly meet the certification requirement.
• Facilitate the proper filing of Coverdell allegations.

The Executive Summary of the report is here.

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    Excellent posts today, Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by magster on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 01:03:04 PM EST
    Not seeing the information you've posted elsewhere. Thank you.

    The gvt's goal (none / 0) (#2)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 01:04:49 PM EST
    is to assure the validity of the forensics.

    Since, like this one, we have so many examples over the decades/centuries of "the gvt" failing to live up to it's responsibilities in so many ways (I actually don't blame "the gvt" but rather those pesky and extraordinarily fallible human beings that make up "the gvt," but that's another topic) is there some other way to assure that these forensics are done correctly?

    Could it be as simple as requiring identical forensic evaluations to be done at multiple laboratories with the idea that multiple labs won't all make the same mistakes?

    Or some other way that doesn't rely on the always-has-been-and-always-will-be problematical gvt?

    Since these rules are only (none / 0) (#3)
    by Think Before You Type on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 01:13:08 PM EST
    five years old, it might be more fair to not single out the Bush administration as derelict in this regard.  I hope the Obama administration can close the enforcement gaps, but sometimes Congress passes laws that in practice are difficult to enforce, as administrations of both parties have discovered, and the Innocence Project may well be issuing a new report five years from now that includes the Obama administration in the criticism.

    Jeralyn - I don't have any issue with the message of your post - I just feel that the special mention of the Bush administration is not exactly fair.  Of course, the report you cite is guilty of the same offense.

    by scrivener on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 01:15:46 PM EST



    Seattle Police Chief Kerlikowske, the drug czar designate, knows from the inside how community policing programs funded by FEMA, DOJ and other agencies were transmogrified by secretive Bush administration ideologues in security, law enforcement and intel agencies into a constitutionally-exempt citizen vigilante army...

    ...an "American Gestapo" that has usurped local law enforcement and has violated civil and human rights of U.S. citizens "targeted" by federal security and intelligence agencies as "undesirables," "dissidents," or "mental defectives."

    Obama officials and Congress should quiz Kerlikowske on what he knows about the following human and civil rights abuses that have been reported by victims of this officially-sanctioned vigilantism -- deemed legal by the now-discredited Bush DOJ "torture memos":

    • Silent, covert microwave radiation weapons assaults on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens;

    • Terroristic vigilante community gang stalking, surreptitious home entry, police-tolerated vandalism;

    • Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction" that have politicized the IRS, which victims say has been used as a tool of "social cleansing."



    Now you have on your team an official who can tell you the WHOLE truth -- so you can compare his account with what you have been told by your Bush holdovers.


    FOR MORE on the ongoing extrajudicial punishment network:

    http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-targets-terrorizes-u-s-citi zens

    OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):


    Scrivener - you must know that the (none / 0) (#5)
    by Think Before You Type on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 03:28:20 PM EST
    people who talk about "gang stalking" and "covert microwave radiation weapons" are loony.  Please spare the intelligent people who read TalkLeft this paranoia - there are all kinds of web sites available where these loonies congregate and share their paranoid ravings with each other.

    tbyt, I think you're describing scrivener. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 03:48:51 PM EST
    The ALL CAPS is what gave him away...

    DIDN'T YOU GET THE MEMO FROM DNI? (none / 0) (#7)
    by scrivener on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 04:06:50 PM EST
    "No more lame psy ops."

    You are an embarrassment to the unit.

    It will take more than paid trolls to stop this politicide-genocide from being exposed to the general public, many of whom are among its victims.

    I know you have a job to do; but please, try harder.  You're not reflecting well on the character assassin "community."


    More.... labs (none / 0) (#8)
    by 1980Ford on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 04:57:16 PM EST