Monday, September 12, 2016

US Dep't of Justice to discourage expressions of "reasonable scientific certainty"

At this afternoon's 11th meeting of the National Commission on Forensic Science, Dr. Victor Weedn, "the Senior Forensic Advisor to the Deputy Attorney General," informed the Commission of the Department of Justice's responses to its recent recommendations. He explained that the Department is "adopting the core" of the recommendations seeking to discourage the use of the phrase "reasonable scientific certainty" and variants on it in reports and testimony. In particular, Department forensic labs will adopt policies and procedures to ensure that such terms are not used, and Department prosecutors will abstain from posing questions with these terms to witnesses (unless required to do so by judges). Commission member, theoretical physicist James Gates, complimented the Department for dealing with these words that "make scientists cringe."

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