ACS Capitol Hill Briefing — Scientific Rigor for the Courtroom

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2014 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) Science & the Congress Project invites news media to attend a luncheon briefing on “Scientific Rigor for the Courtroom.” It will be held Tuesday, April 1, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Capitol Visitor Center, Senate Side, SVC-212-10. Please RSVP to

The briefing is sponsored by the ACS Science & the Congress Project and by the American Statistical Association (ASA).

Contrary to portrayals in movies and on TV shows, many forensic sampling and analysis techniques are not based on sound scientific procedures, and these tests often provide inconsistent results. For legal decisions with potentially life-changing consequences this degree of variability and lack of sound science is unacceptable. But in these times of budget tightening, forensic laboratories are at a distinct disadvantage in trying to both manage operations and improve the scientific quality of their work. What steps can be taken within the forensic science, legal and academic communities to ensure that investigatory methods are scientifically sound and are communicated properly in the court room? This expert panel will discuss the challenges involved in forensics, a vital science. The briefing will feature the following panelists and an open discussion:

Moderator: Jay Siegel, Ph.D., Michigan State University


  • Edward Cheng, J.D., Vanderbilt Law School
  • Mary Bush, D.D.S., University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine
  • Suzanne Bell, Ph.D., West Virginia University

Invited: Michael (Jeff) Salyards, Ph.D., Defense Forensic Science Center

The Science & the Congress Project was established in 1995 to provide a neutral and credible source of scientific information targeted to policymakers on Capitol Hill. Expert speakers are chosen to provide a balanced presentation about the topic under discussion, and their comments are independent of any position that may be held by the ACS, the sponsors of ACS Science & the Congress, or its co-hosts. For more information, visit Science & the Congress.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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