Cops in Lab Coats and Forensics in the Courtroom

25 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2015 Last revised: 28 Nov 2017

See all articles by Valena Elizabeth Beety

Valena Elizabeth Beety

West Virginia University - College of Law

Date Written: July 1, 2015


Law enforcement’s past cover-ups of faulty forensics is at the heart of Sandra Guerra Thompson’s new book, Cops in Lab Coats: Curbing Wrongful Convictions Through Independent Forensic Laboratories. Thompson posits that forensic labs should be independent, rather than controlled by prosecutors and used to convict persons no matter the human cost. In brief, Thompson’s book captures the recent history of forensic validation — and invalidation — and its critical impact on the criminal justice system. Her inclusion of wrongful convictions mirrors the national conversation where innocence is the primary impetus to ensure that forensic disciplines become more reliable, forensic findings more testable, and forensic inquiries more independent.

Keywords: forensics, police, criminal, mass incarceration, wrongful convictions, innocence

Suggested Citation

Beety, Valena Elizabeth, Cops in Lab Coats and Forensics in the Courtroom (July 1, 2015). Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2016; WVU Law Research Paper No. 2015-13. Available at SSRN:

Valena Elizabeth Beety (Contact Author)

West Virginia University - College of Law ( email )

101 Law School Drive
Morgantown, WV West Virginia 26506
United States

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