Aggie Statistician Joins Forensics Lab Advisory Panel
A Texas A&M statistician has joined a national panel of experts tasked with creating an independent forensics lab in Houston.
Cliff Spiegelman is now part of the nine-member Technical Advisory Group, which "will provide input on best practices in forensic science and lab operations to help move part the [Houston Police Department] lab's troubled history," according to an A&M press release.
The HPD lab was temporarily shut down in 2002 "following an audit that revealed a variety of issues, from unqualified personnel and lax protocols, to shoddy facilities and compromised science," according to the release.
"The end goal is to have a crime lab that's not associated with the police department, so it's not trying to please its employer, but rather focused on doing good science," Spiegelman, a statistics professor, stated in the release.
Spiegelman has "been an ardent advocate of the need for the criminal justice system to better embrace science in the courtroom" and was a staunch opponent of a method of testing called comparative bullet-lead analysis that the FBI discredited in 2007, according to the release.
Spiegelman, who often works with the Innocence Project, said statistics is "an area of science where I have expertise, and there's a shortage of statistical help. And Houston is a community not far from our own. I think I can do some good and help cut down on the number of false convictions and on the number of guilty people walking around free," according to the release.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.