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Informe al presidente. Ciencia forense en los tribunales penales: asegurando la validez científica de los métodos forenses basados en comparación de características

PCAST. Consejo de Asesores del Presidente en Ciencia y Tecnología (USA)

Traducción al castellano del informe presentado al Presidente de los Estados Unidos de América, Barack Obama, en el año 2016, por el Consejo de Asesores del Presidente en Ciencia y Tecnología (PCAST, por su sigla en inglés). La traducción, a cargo de Juan Lucena Molina, se publica con una presentación de Carmen Vázquez. El PCAST concluye que hay dos importantes carencias: (1) la necesidad de clarificar los estándares científicos sobre la validez y fiabilidad de los métodos forenses y (2) la necesidad de evaluar métodos forenses específicos para determinar si han sido científicamente declarados como válidos y fiables. Nuestro estudio tiene como objetivo ayudar a resolver estas carencias para una serie de métodos forenses basados en «comparación de características» —específicamente, métodos de comparación de muestras de ADN, mordeduras, impresiones de huellas latentes, señales balísticas, huellas de calzado y cabello—. Nuestro estudio, que incluye una extensa revisión de la literatura científica, tiene en cuenta también contribuciones de investigadores forenses del FBI (Oficina Federal de Investigación) y del NIST (Instituto Nacional de Estándares y Tecnología), así como de muchos otros científicos y analistas forenses, jueces, fiscales, abogados defensores, investigadores académicos, defensores de la reforma de la justicia penal y representantes de las Agencias federales. Los resultados y recomendaciones transmitidos en este informe son, desde luego, únicamente del PCAST. Nuestro informe revisa estudios previos relacionados con la práctica forense y las acciones federales puestas recientemente en marcha para fortalecer la ciencia forense, discute el papel de la validez científica dentro del sistema jurídico, explica los criterios que permiten juzgar la validez científica de los métodos forenses de comparación de características y aplica estos criterios a los métodos de comparación anteriormente mencionados. Basándonos en nuestros resultados sobre la «validez de los fundamentos» de los métodos indicados, así como sobre la «validez de su aplicación» en la práctica ante los Tribunales, ofrecemos recomendaciones sobre las acciones que pudieran llevar a cabo el NIST, la Oficina sobre Política de Ciencia y Tecnología, y el Laboratorio del FBI, para fortalecer los fundamentos científicos de las disciplinas forenses, así como las acciones que pudieran realizar el Fiscal General y el Poder Judicial para promover el uso más riguroso de esas disciplinas en los Tribunales. 

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