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Posted on: September 20, 2016

County Attorney Calls into Question National Report on Forensic Evidence

PHOENIX—Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery released the following statement in response to today’s release of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report.

“President Barack Obama, with the assistance of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), has continued his assault on the American criminal justice system and the constitutional rule of law in the United States with today’s release of a PCAST report that attacks the validity of forensic evidence and advises law enforcement and the courts not to use it.

Importantly, President Obama and PCAST do not speak for the entire scientific community and I encourage scientists who disagree with the report to subject it to intense scrutiny, particularly with respect to multiple source DNA and firearm tool mark evidence. I also have no doubt that prosecutors across the nation will review the PCAST report and expose its flaws through rigorous cross-examination, and encourage them to do so.

The United States Constitution does not give the President of the United States the power to prosecute state and local criminal cases and such powers are expressly reserved to the states by the 10th Amendment. Nor does the Constitution authorize the president to tell the courts which evidence to admit and doing so reflects his disregard for the separation of powers doctrine. Despite having no constitutional role in state criminal cases, President Obama continually seeks to influence them, as he has already done, either directly or indirectly, in cases from Massachusetts, Florida, Missouri, and Maryland. More disturbing are his efforts to federalize the prosecution of all criminal cases by endorsing and publicizing reports from PCAST and the 21st Century Task Force on Policing. Unsurprisingly, his unconstitutional and unwelcome interference in the criminal justice system never actually furthers the interests of justice and public safety.”

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