To the Editor:
Re “Doubts and DNA Evidence” (front page, Sept. 5):
As Manhattan district attorney and as a criminal defense lawyer for two decades before that, I have seen prosecutors and defense lawyers alike rely on evidence generated by advanced forensic tools. In addition to solving crimes, “high sensitivity” technology and the Forensic Statistical Tool, or F.S.T., as used by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, have resulted in exonerations of wrongly charged defendants.
These technologies have also enabled prosecutors to rule out innocent people at the very outset of a criminal investigation.
High-sensitivity technology and F.S.T. software produce reliable results that are generally accepted in the scientific community. That is why an overwhelming majority of legal and scientific experts, as well as New York State’s independent oversight agency, have long supported the validity and integrity of these methods.
About 40 state and federal judges have issued written opinions affirming the reliability of F.S.T. and high-sensitivity testing, with only one dissenting decision.
Every defendant remains free to challenge the validity of evidence obtained by these forensic tools used against him in court through cross-examination and expert testimony. This is how we ensure that, in addition to keeping us safe, advanced forensic tools keep innocent people out of jail.
CYRUS R. VANCE JR., NEW YORK