A Pioneer in Forensic Science Reform: The Work of Paul Giannelli
Few can say, "I told you so," to our entire criminal justice system. Being right about what is wrong with the use of evidence in criminal cases is not a bad thing, but being able to influence the growing response to the crisis in modern forensics must be still more gratifying. Paul Giannelli is one of the rare law professors who was far ahead of his time in anticipating serious problems in the law that were not noticed and not carefully studied. Giannelli has helped to bring the field around to an understanding of the real scope of those problems and he has tirelessly worked to advance our knowledge in scholarship and in policymaking. If the law has not adequately corrected all of the problems that Giannelli continues to play a pioneering role in bringing to light, that is through no inadequacy of his own diagnoses and recommended cures. It is an honor to have the opportunity to contribute to this tribute honoring his work on the occasion of his retirement.
A consistent observation in Giannelli's work is that much of what passes for forensic science is not altogether sound science. His work has for some time detailed the shortcomings in forensic methods and practice and it has sounded the alarm for the judiciary to better review such evidence. For example, one strand of Giannelli's work has focused on the need for a different structure for forensic science in the United States. A decade before the National Academy of Sciences report in 2009 called for the creation of an independent scientific entity to develop standards and regulate crime laboratories'-a proposal that Giannelli correctly identified as a "centerpiece" of that report Giannelli called for independent crime laboratories and deplored the role of law enforcement influence on forensic science research.