The issues covered during the committee’s hearings and deliberations included:

  1. the fundamentals of the scientific method as applied to forensic practice—hypothesis generation and testing, falsifiability and replication, and peer review of scientific publications;

  2. the assessment of forensic methods and technologies—the collection and analysis of forensic data; accuracy and error rates of forensic analyses; sources of potential bias and human error in interpretation by forensic experts; and proficiency testing of forensic experts;

  3. infrastructure and needs for basic research and technology assessment in forensic science;

  4. current training and education in forensic science;

  5. the structure and operation of forensic science laboratories;

  6. the structure and operation of the coroner and medical examiner systems;

  7. budget, future needs, and priorities of the forensic science community and the coroner and medical examiner systems;

  8. the accreditation, certification, and licensing of forensic science operations, medical death investigation systems, and scientists;

  9. Scientific Working Groups (SWGs) and their practices;

  10. forensic science practices—

    pattern/experience evidence

    • fingerprints (including the interoperability of AFIS)

    • firearms examination

    • toolmarks

    • bite marks

    • impressions (tires, footwear)

    • bloodstain pattern analysis

    • handwriting

    • hair

analytical evidence

  • DNA

  • coatings (e.g., paint)

  • chemicals (including drugs)

  • materials (including fibers)

  • fluids

  • serology

  • fire and explosive analysis

digital evidence;

  1. the effectiveness of coroner systems as compared with medical examiner systems;

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