Houston Chronicle columnist Rick Casey offers his perspective on this Friday’s meeting of the Texas Forensic Science Commission (“Forensic revolt again is in order,” September 12, 2010), when the commission is expected to issue a final judgment as to whether Cameron Todd Willingham was convicted and executed on the basis of faulty forensic analysis. Here’s an excerpt:
Not much is at stake for Willingham. He was executed for the crime in 2004.
But a lot is at stake for Texas.
Formed in the wake of the scandals at the Houston crime lab that broke in 2002, the Forensic Science Commission represents one of the most promising efforts by any state to deal with the crisis in forensic science.
Made up of seven scientists and forensic practitioners, one defense attorney and one prosecutor, the commission is charged with investigating complaints involving crime labs and forensic investigators. Its larger role is not to point fingers at labs and practitioners but to promote justice by enforcing scientific standards.
Friday’s meeting will go a long way in determining whether the commission fulfills that role.