Author John Grisham, a member of the Innocence Project Board of Directors, spoke before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Wednesday about the rampant use of faulty forensic techniques in the courtroom and urged nationwide improvements.
Grisham and other panel members called attention to the 2009 National Academies’ of Science (NAS) report on widespread problems in the forensic science community that highlighted the need to create a national agency to oversee the forensic sciences.
For Grisham, whose nonfiction book “The Innocent Man” recounts the saga of a wrongly convicted man who is finally set free, the key to change lies in allowing scientists instead of police to develop forensic techniques.
“These methods that we are so critical of now and that bring so many bad verdicts now were created by law enforcement. They were not science driven. And that is not a criticism of law enforcement. They are trying to solve crimes,” he said. “You have got to leave the science in the hands of the scientists. Not the lawyers, not law enforcement.”