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U.S. Departments of Justice and Commerce Name Six Experts as New Members of National Commission on Forensic Science

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

The commission, created in 2013, develops forward-looking policy recommendations for the U.S. Attorney General to enhance the practice and improve the reliability of forensic science. 

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

"For nearly two years, the commission has been hard at work developing recommendations to strengthen the field of forensic science, and the six new commissioners will bring valuable new insights to this process," said Deputy Attorney General Yates. "Their work is vital to ensuring the fairness of our criminal justice system." 

"Confidence in the collection, review and analysis of evidence by law enforcement and in the ability of the courts to fairly judge the strength of that evidence is the bedrock of any civil society," said Under Secretary May. "The new commissioners represent a diverse range of skills and training, and we look forward to their contributions as we continue our efforts to ensure that the forensic evidence used in our criminal justice system is supported by rigorous science, measurements and analysis." 

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. 

The commission was established in 2013 and re-chartered for another two-years in April 2015. These new members announced today are replacing individuals whose tenures with the commission recently ended. Because the re-charter includes a provision for digital evidence, an additional commissioner has been added to provide perspective in this important area of forensic science. 

The new commissioners are: 

  • Thomas Albright, Ph.D., Professor and Conrad T. Prebys Chair, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, Calif. 
  • Arturo Casadevall, M.D., Ph.D., Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and Alfred and Jill Summer Professor and Chair of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md. 
  • Gregory Champagne, Sheriff, St. Charles Parish, La. 
  • William Crane, Associate Professor and Director, Graduate Digital Forensic Program, Champlain College, Burlington, Vt. 
  • Deirdre Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut 
  • Sunita Sah, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. 

The commission's next meeting will be held on August 10-11, 2015, at the House of Sweden, 2900 K Street, Washington, D.C. More information about the commission can be found at http://www.justice.gov/ncfs.

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

Released August 6, 2015, Updated January 8, 2018