US Attorney General Jeff Sessions [official profile] will not renew the National Commission on Forensic Science (NCFS) [official website], according to a statement [press release] released Monday. The NCFS is a 30-member group of scientists, academics, law enforcement officials, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges originally commissioned [press release] in 2013 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) during President Obama’s administration. The commission is set to expire April 23, and continued efforts to “advance forensic science and combat violent crime” will be handled by the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, a committee established [press release] by executive order under President Trump. Sessions commended the efforts of the NCFS in his statement.
As we decide how to move forward, we bear in mind that the Department is just one piece of the larger criminal justice system and that the vast majority of forensic science is practiced by state and local forensic laboratories and is used by state and local prosecutors. We applaud the professionalism of the National Commission on Forensic Science and look forward to building on the contributions it has made in this crucial field.
The DOJ will seek public comment through the Federal Register [government website] on how it should move forward with forensic science issues. The deadline to comment is scheduled for June 9.
Trump has been very proactive signing executive orders at the start of his term as president, with many orders targeting crime. In February Trump signed three executive orders aimed at targeting drug cartels, and creating the Task Force to reduce crime and stopping crimes against law enforcement. In January, the president signed an order [JURIST report] aimed at reducing the number of federal regulations. Also in his first weeks of office Trump signed orders withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, preventing foreign non-governmental organizations supporting abortions from receiving US funding, and withholding federal funding [JURIST reports] for so-called “sanctuary cities.”