Science and the law are not natural partners. Science seeks to advance our understanding of the natural world. The law is tasked with ensuring public safety and making sure justice is properly served. Over time, science became another tool available to the legal system to pursue those goals.
During recent years, though, problems with some aspects of forensic science have come to light. Examples include false convictions based on faulty fire-scene and burn-pattern analysis and on bite-mark analysis, incorrect fingerprint identification and instances of misconduct in forensic labs. Recognizing these shortcomings has led to various efforts to propel forensic science forward, helping us recognize which parts of it are scientifically valid, which parts aren’t, and where more research must be done.