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5-Oct-2017

NIST launches wasteful study that undermines science and justice

Pittsburgh, PA

The Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced an unnecessary study on DNA mixture interpretation software. Their study serves their own budgets and bureaucracy. It does not help society.

For over a decade, NIST has manufactured crises in DNA mixture interpretation to amass money and power. Their "stochastic threshold" debacle closed crime laboratories and erased DNA evidence nationwide. Creating these issues helped NIST wrest the forensic science portfolio from the Department of Justice.

NIST colluded with President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to waste taxpayer dollars. Dozens of validation studies have tested DNA mixture software on a wide range of data. Yet in 2016, PCAST proposed scientifically meaningless data limits. Opposing published science, NIST's Dr. John Butler "concurred with PCAST's finding." Based on his unfounded opinion, PCAST recommended giving NIST fourteen million dollars for Butler's study.

NIST has failed to properly execute such studies. Their 2013 DNA mixture world-wide webinar propagated incorrect information. NIST didn't properly run the analysis software or accurately report results. Their comparison mistakes helped launch a foreign company's software product. NIST refused to retract their errors.

For over two years, NIST harbored a senior scientist from the foreign software company. Their vendor friend exploited the NIST brand to market his product. When alerted, NIST saw no conflict of interest in their commercial sponsorship. "A biased referee cannot conduct a fair study," said Cybergenetics chief scientist Dr. Mark Perlin.

Bayesian statistics has long provided accurate and objective DNA mixture interpretation. Such software has been extensively tested, disseminated, published, accepted by courts, and used to implicate the guilty and exonerate the innocent. But NIST concocts nonexistent problems to justify boondoggle funding. They ignore existing solutions.

Undermining science harms justice. NIST's attacks on DNA echo in the courtroom. Lawyers cite baseless NIST and PCAST claims to distort science. NIST's self-serving funding games help acquit the guilty and convict the innocent.

"Congress should investigate, not appropriate," said Dr. Perlin. "NIST wages war on DNA science, wasting money and withering justice."


Link
  • NIST to Assess the Reliability of Forensic Methods for Analyzing DNA Mixtures - NIST
  • National accreditation board suspends all DNA testing at D.C. crime lab - Washington Post
  • TrueAllele Casework on Virginia DNA Mixture Evidence: Computer and Manual Interpretation in 72 Reported Criminal Cases - PLoS ONE
  • Cybergenetics responds to President’s PCAST report on forensic DNA - Cybergenetics
  • Getting past first Bayes with DNA mixtures - Cybergenetics
  • Cybergenetics alerts NIST to possible commercial conflict - Cybergenetics
  • DNA Mixtures Topic of ISHI Talks, NIST Testing--and ‘Conflict of Interest’ Accusations - Forensic Magazine
  • TrueAllele® technology information - Cybergenetics
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