Friday, February 20, 2009

Dr. Lee? Absent From NAS Study On Science And The Courts

Guess whose name is conspicuously absent from the new National Academy of Sciences' report on the forensic use of science? The inscrutable Dr. Henry C. Lee. Indeed, even the institution he founded, housed at the University of New Haven, is absent from the list of those consulted, relied upon, or heard from in Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward.

This significance of this cannot be overstated in my view. Dr. Lee is the prime time face of the use of science in forensic settings, known to some as "forensic science." He has opinions, publications and disciples in almost every application of science in the courts. He has made a fortune testifying and opining and serving as a hired gun for anyone with a buck. Call him P.T. Barnum in a lab coat.

The first thing I did after downloading a copy of the NSF report was scan the names of those who contributed. It was a morbid sort of curiosity. I wanted to see if I had met any of the contributors in court, or whether I had read any of their studies. I was relieved not to see Lee's name in the mix. Its absence made the study seem more credible.

Good riddance, Dr. Lee. For profit science for jurors is almost as dangerous as being the bought and paid for stooge for a government crime lab. It will be interesting to see what spin Lee concocts for his failure to be invited to the NAS party. He'll have something to say; indeed, he'll probably write another book -- this time on the NAS.