National Certification and Accreditation Recommendations

At the fifth meeting of the National Commission on Forensic Science, January 29-30, 2015, in Washington, DC, saw the final drafts of three policy recommendations regarding certification and accreditation in forensic science.

The first, "Universal Accreditation" states: "It is recommended that all Forensic Science Service Providers (FSSP) become accredited." The document notes that there are "potentially thousands of FSSPs, predominately in law enforcement agencies, providing limited forensic science services. The majority of these providers are not accredited to forensic science standards." The proposed implementation strategy suggests that those FSSPs that are not already accredited should seek accreditation within five years.
The second recommendation, "Certification of Medicolegal Death Investigators", states, "The National Commission on Forensic Science requests that the Attorney General of the United States approve a recommendation that directs the Office of Justice Programs to establish a priority to use grant funds to defray the cost of ensuring all medicolegal death investigators (MDI) and Coroners (functioning as medico legal death investigators) in the united states obtain professional certification by the year 2020." The report says that between 5,000 and 8,000 MDIs are currently employed within the United States, but only about 1,500 are certified by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators. The document recommends utilizing a new or existing grant program to defray the costs of certification.
In the third recommendation, "Accreditation of Medicolegal Death Investigation Offices", the Commission "requests that the Attorney General of the United States approve a policy that recommends that all offices, facilities, or institutions performing medico legal death investigation activities be accredited by th year 2020." Fewer than 100 of the estimated 2,366 medicolegal death investigation offices in the United States are currently accredited.
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Court Case Update

FINGERPRINT EVIDENCE went through a nearly three-year ordeal in the New Hampshire court system, but eventually emerged unscathed. On April 4, 2008, the New Hampshire Supreme Court unanimously reversed the decision of a lower court to exclude expert testimony regarding fingerprint evidence in the case of The State of New Hampshire v. Richard Langill. The case has been remanded back to the Rockingham County Superior Court.