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U.S. Departments of Justice and Commerce Name Experts to First-Ever National Commission on Forensic Science


A man with a pipette
NIST's Applied Genetics Group is focused on developing standards and technology to aid human, plant, and animal identification using genetic information.
Credit: ©Robert Rathe

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced appointments to a newly created National Commission on Forensic Science.

Members of the commission will work to improve the practice of forensic science by developing guidance concerning the intersections between forensic science and the criminal justice system. The commission also will work to develop policy recommendations for the U.S. Attorney General, including uniform codes for professional responsibility and requirements for formal training and certification.

The commission is co-chaired by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick D. Gallagher. Nelson Santos, deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Forensic Sciences at the Drug Enforcement Administration, and John M. Butler, special assistant to the NIST director for forensic science, serve as vice-chairs.

"I appreciate the commitment each of the commissioners has made and look forward to working with them to strengthen the validity and reliability of the forensic sciences and enhance quality assurance and quality control," said Deputy Attorney General Cole. "Scientifically valid and accurate forensic analysis supports all aspects of our justice system."

The commission includes federal, state and local forensic science service providers; research scientists and academics; law enforcement officials; prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges; and other stakeholders from across the country. This breadth of experience and expertise reflects the many different entities that contribute to forensic science practice in the U.S. and will ensure these broad perspectives are represented on the commission and in its work.

"This new commission represents an extremely broad range of expertise and skills. It will help ensure that forensic science is supported by the strongest possible science-based evidence gathering, analysis, and measurement," said Under Secretary Gallagher.

"This latest and most impressive collaboration between the Department of Justice and the National Institute of Standards and Technology will help ensure that the forensic sciences are supported by the most rigorous standards available—a foundational requirement in a nation built on the credo of 'justice for all,' " said John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The following commissioners were chosen from a pool of more than 300 candidates:

Suzanne Bell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, West Virginia University; Frederick Bieber, Ph.D., Medical Geneticist, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Associate Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School; Thomas Cech, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder; Cecelia Crouse, Ph.D., Director, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Crime Laboratory; Gregory Czarnopys, Deputy Assistant Director, Forensic Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; M. Bonner Denton, Ph.D., Professor, University of Arizona; Vincent Di Maio, M.D., Consultant in Forensic Pathology; Troy Duster, Ph.D., Chancellor's Professor and Senior Fellow, Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, University of California, Berkeley; Jules Epstein, Associate Professor of Law, Widener University; Stephen Fienberg, Ph.D., Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science, Carnegie Mellon University; Andrea Ferreira-Gonzalez, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology and Director Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, Virginia Commonwealth University; John Fudenberg, Assistant Coroner, Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner, Clark County, Nevada; S. James Gates, Jr., Ph.D., University System Regents Professor and John S. Toll Professor of Physics, University of Maryland; Dean Gialamas, Crime Laboratory Director, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Scientific Services Bureau; Paul Giannelli, Distinguished University Professor and Albert J Weatherhead III and Richard W. Weatherhead Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University; Hon. Barbara Hervey, Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals; Susan Howley, Public Policy Director, National Center for Victims of Crime; Ted Hunt, Chief Trial Attorney, Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Kansas City, Missouri; Linda Jackson, Director, Virginia Department of Forensic Science; John Kacavas, United States Attorney, District of New Hampshire; Pamela King, Assistant State Public Defender, Minnesota State Public Defender Office; Marc LeBeau, Ph.D., Senior Forensic Scientist, Scientific Analysis Section, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Julia Leighton, General Counsel, Public Defender Service, District of Columbia; Hon. Bridget Mary McCormack, Justice, Michigan Supreme Court; Peter Neufeld, Co-Director, Innocence Project, Benjamin Cardozo School of Law; Phil Pulaski, Chief of Detectives, New York City Police Department; Hon. Jed Rakoff, Senior United States District Judge, Southern District of New York; Matthew Redle, Sheridan County and Prosecuting Attorney, Sheridan, Wyoming; Michael "Jeff" Salyards, Ph.D., Executive Director, Defense Forensic Science Center, Department of the Army; and Ryant Washington, Sheriff, Fluvanna County Sherriff's Office, Fluvanna, Virginia.

Ex-Officio Members:

David Honey, Ph.D., Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Science and Technology and Director of Science and Technology, Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Marilyn Huestis, Ph.D., Chief, Chemistry and Drug Metabolism Section, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health; Gerald LaPorte, Acting Director, Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences, National Institute of Justice; Patricia Manzolillo, Laboratory Director, Forensic Laboratory Services, U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Frances Schrotter, Senior Vice President and Chief Operation Officer, American National Standards Institute; Kathryn Turman, Program Director, Office for Victim Assistance, Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Mark Weiss, Ph.D., Division Director, Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, National Science Foundation.

The first meeting of the Commission will be held February 3-4, 2014, at 810 7th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. The membership list, notice of meetings, commission charter and other related material will be maintained within the General Service Administration's Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) database at

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. To learn more about NIST, visit

DOJ Contact: Office of Public Affairs, 202-514-2007

Released January 10, 2014, Updated January 24, 2023