Exonerating the Innocent
In February 2009, the National Academy of Sciences released a comprehensive review of the forensic science in use throughout American crime labs. Their findings were shocking. They found that, with the exception of DNA testing, most forensic techniques employed in the field—including fingerprinting, firearms identification, hair fiber matching—“have never been exposed to stringent scientific scrutiny.” The report also highlighted a number of variations and deficiencies in training, certification, and accreditation of lab technicians and crime labs.
Since the report came out, Senator Franken has been an active participant in Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearings aimed at identifying and resolving the problems in our nation’s crime labs. He has also introduced bipartisan legislation to reduce our nation’s backlog of untested rape kits—which number around 180,000. Processing these rape kits will both identify actual perpetrators, facilitating law enforcement, and, undoubtedly, exonerate the wrongly-accused.