Forensic Lab Problems Cry Out for More Oversight and Quality Standards

A spate of recent news reports has called into question the objectivity of some forensic evidence and highlighted the need for effective oversight mechanisms for the nation’s crime labs. Fingerprint analysts told The Missouri Lawyer  that when police officers have access to the labs, they often pressure the fingerprint examiners to secure arrests. In December, the New York State Inspector General released a report revealing that forensic analyst Gary Veeder falsified hundreds of results over a fifteen year period. The Phoenix, Arizona Police Department announced plans to investigate claims that lab technicians in the crime lab undermine the integrity of criminal investigations by leaving evidence behind at scenes and disposing of fingerprint evidence. In December, Donald Gates walked free from prison after his exoneration for a rape and murder he did not commit when it was revealed that FBI lab technician Michael Malone provided false testimony and inaccurate testing results.

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Forensic Lab Problems Cry Out for More Oversight and Quality Standards

A spate of recent news reports has called into question the objectivity of some forensic evidence and highlighted the need for effective oversight mechanisms for the nation’s crime labs. Fingerprint analysts told The Missouri Lawyer  that when police officers have access to the labs, they often pressure the fingerprint examiners to secure arrests. In December, the New York State Inspector General released a report revealing that forensic analyst Gary Veeder falsified hundreds of results over a fifteen year period. The Phoenix, Arizona Police Department announced plans to investigate claims that lab technicians in the crime lab undermine the integrity of criminal investigations by leaving evidence behind at scenes and disposing of fingerprint evidence. In December, Donald Gates walked free from prison after his exoneration for a rape and murder he did not commit when it was revealed that FBI lab technician Michael Malone provided false testimony and inaccurate testing results.

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Was Tiller's Murder Justice?

By Eric Sapp, Publisher of FaithfulDemocrats.com

Last week, I had the honor of sitting next to a group of Gold Star Moms during the National Memorial Day concert.  We talked about their sons and exchanged some tearful hugs during the extremely moving concert.   The next day, the militant pro-life group, Operation Rescue, sent a mass email to its members entitled "Tiller Abortion Worker Honored At White House By Obama." The email condemned President Obama for inviting to the White House a woman who volunteered in George Tiller's clinic as "yet another connection between Obama and late-term abortionist George Tiller." The woman in question was a Gold Star Mom, and she was invited to the White House on Memorial Day (along with all the other Gold Star mothers I'd sat with at the concert) for no other reason than to commemorate their sons and daughters who were killed in action.  

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A Matter of Life and Death. Really. How to End California's Harvest of Shame.

One year ago, on May 16, 2008, 17 year old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez died working in the fields from the heat and lack of water.  Six California farm workers died last summer from the heat.

August 2, 2008: Maria de Jesus Alvarez

July 31, 2008: Jorge Herrera

July 9, 2008: Ramiro Carrillo Rodriguez

July 9, 2008: Abdon Felix Garcia

June 20, 2008: Jose Macrena Hernandez  

May 17, 2008:  Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez

Fifteen farm workers have died of heat-related complications since July 2004.

Doroteo Jimenez, an uncle of Maria Isabel, spoke at a Los Angeles area vigil commemorating Maria's life this week:

Maria was a beautiful human being who came to this country with a lot of dreams and the desire to work hard and help her mom and younger siblings, but her dreams were cut short. A year after her passing, the best way to honor her is by making sure farm workers are protected and treated with dignity and respect."

We can help prevent more deaths this year by passing the California EFCA for farmworkers.  A strong union can make the laws on the books become the laws in the fields.  No more deaths in the fields.

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The Best Argument of Draconian Immigration Restrictions

Alan Greenspan saying that illegal immigration aids the US economy, because he's wrong about everything:

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said that illegal immigration makes a "significant" contribution to U.S. economic growth by providing a flexible workforce.

Greenspan, appearing before a Senate subcommittee today, said illegal immigrants provide a "safety valve" as demand for workers rises and falls.

On a more serious note, look at what he is saying when you tease out the meaning, he is saying that illegal immigration is good because it drives down wages.....That's what "flexible workforce" and "safety valve," mean.

Alan Greenspan has always been a big fan of cheap labor.

There is no doubt that illegal immigration adds to GDP.  The question is whether it contributes to per capita GDP, or the slightly more nebulous and hard to measure concept of the well being of our society.

½ of Europe's population died during the heyday of the Black Death, and it is indisputable that the GDP of Europe was lower in the years following the Bubonic Plague outbreak than before.

What is also indisputable is that the standard of living of those remaining rose at the time, as can be seen through records of increased wages, and the frantic passage of (largely ineffective) laws intended to reign in wages and reduce worker mobility.

The end question is not what our immigration policy should be, but rather what should our society look like, and how to we create an immigration policy most consistent with our professed values that creates this society.

To my mind, this is best addressed by extremely aggressive laws targeting employers who deliberately or negligently hire illegals, and not by harsh measures taken against desperate economic refugees.

Cross posted from 40 Years in the Desert.

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