Invitation to Provide Follow-up Information to PCAST Regarding its Forensics Report


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In September 2016, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its Report to the President on “Forensic Science in the Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity Of Feature-Comparison Methods.” See https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/PCAST/pcast_forensic_science_report_final.pdf.

As a follow-up to this work, PCAST invites you to reply by Wednesday, December 14 to the following request:

  1. Please identify any relevant scientific reports that (i) have been published in the scientific literature, (ii) were not mentioned in the PCAST report; and (iii) describe appropriately designed, research studies that provide empirical evidence establishing the foundational validity and estimating the accuracy of any of the following forensic feature-comparison methods, as they are currently practiced:
    1. DNA analysis of mixed samples with three or more contributors, in which the contributor in question represents less than 20% of the sample.
    2. Bitemark analysis.
    3. Firearms analysis to associate ammunition with an individual gun (as opposed to analysis to identify class characteristics).
    4. Footwear analysis to associate an impression with an individual item of footwear (as opposed to analysis to identify class characteristics).
    5. Hair analysis.
  2. Please indicate how the scientific reports establish foundational validity and estimate the accuracy of the relevant method.

PCAST plans to review the findings of its Report in light of the additional relevant information.

Please send replies to pcast@ostp.eop.gov by December 14, 2016.