The evidence is on our side

Roger Koppl has an excellent post about the systematic problem with police forensics: the police run it.

There's a mountain of evidence to suggest that the law enforcement system in the U.S. (and elsewhere) gets it wrong so often—frequently intentionally—that we ought to radically change the way we do it if we value justice at all. I'm afraid that many of us don't.

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I submit that "many of us"

I submit that "many of us" not only don't value justice, but we don't even understand it. To most, the concept of justice is the notion that a criminal is punished. I reject the notion of punishment (for punishment's sake) and submit that "just" justice is when the victim (or heirs) has received full restitution (or as much as possible). If extracting restitution from the criminal involves loss of life, liberty, or property (i.e., what others call punishment), then so be it, but this punishment is not for punishment's sake, nor to fund government activities, but strictly for making the victim whole (and of course the cost to administer the making whole of the victim).

Justice is a mustice

ed42: (good post)

Well, they value the illusion of justice then.

Count me in with the people that have never understood the word "justice" as people usually mean it. Same goes for the word "honor".

I think part of this current and popular view of justice in many peoples hearts and minds, exists, because we are emotional creatures (i said: hearts doh!). By default we don't extend the depths of our feelings to the edge of reason or logic.

I might even stand firm that most people would value justice, whether it's by your definition, or by theirs. Do we need to understand something to value it? I say no, and I'm not suggesting you said otherwise.

It is mostly available personnel and cost

From the Baltimore story:

> Moreover, says Clifford, “Very often those crime scenes are enormous, sometimes covering entire city blocks.”

The cost of analyzing the DNA one could find on a city block??? Police work isn't like the TV shows. Homicide and serious assault investigation is high tech work of high importance. Half the reported rape cases are phony - failure of a business deal or the female changes her mind in mid stream. Or the husband catches the boyfriend. Most burglary investigations are paperwork for the insurance companies and/or public relations to placate an irate tax payer. Most burglary suspects are found by accident, mostly on a traffic stop, something like that. No city cop has time to look for missing people or runaway kids. The police are most always a day late and a dollar short. These days, most good police work is done through traffic stops and walking the beat. I was on the job for 30 years.

Thanks, I think


You certainly help to make the case that forensics (and burglary investigations and more) ought not to be the exclusive domain of the current monopoly holders.