Tribpedia: Texas Forensic Science Commission

Tribpedia

The Texas Forensic Science Commission is a nine-member oversight panel charged with investigating complaints of forensic misconduct that might affect the integrity of a forensic analysis of crimes. The once obscure committee catapulted into the spotlight in late 2009, after a shake-up by Governor Rick Perry stalled an inquiry into whether the state used faulty evidence in executing an innocent ...

Read More...

Reforms Expand Forensic Science Commission Authority

State Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, discusses CSSB1420 the Texas Dept. of Transportation (TXDOT) sunset bill on April 18, 2011
State Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, discusses CSSB1420 the Texas Dept. of Transportation (TXDOT) sunset bill on April 18, 2011

Legislators are planning to give the Texas Forensic Science Commission authority to review many more labs and types of forensic analysis and to double the agency’s budget, hoping it will become a national model for the criminal justice system. 

 

Chris Connealy: The TT Interview

The state fire marshal on how he’ll implement the changes in a Texas Forensic Science Commission report, ideas for educating fire investigators and ways to bring more experts to the scene when arson occurs. 

Forensic Science Panel Recommends Arson Probe

The momentous and long-awaited move was welcomed by the family of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was convicted of killing his three daughters in a 1991 arson fire. He was executed in 2004, and scientists have since discredited the science that was used to cement his arson conviction.

TribLive: A Conversation About Cameron Todd Willingham

Following our Tuesday night screening of Incendiary: The Willingham Case, I talked about the science of fire and death penalty politics with the filmmakers, Steve Mims and Joe Bailey Jr.; former Forensic Science Commission Chairman Sam Bassett; former Texas Gov. Mark White; and acting Corsicana City Attorney Terry Jacobson.

Texas Forensic Science Commission members (left to right) Dr Stanley Hamilton,  Dr. Nizam Peerwani and Lance Evans on April 14th, 2011
Texas Forensic Science Commission members (left to right) Dr Stanley Hamilton, Dr. Nizam Peerwani and Lance Evans on April 14th, 2011

Perry Chooses New Forensic Science Board Chairman

Gov. Rick Perry today announced he has appointed Dr. Nizam Peerwani, a well-known Fort Worth medical examiner, to lead the Texas Forensic Science Commission. He replaces Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley as leader of the panel that has been embroiled in controversy practically since its inception.

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, talks to an aide on the Senate floor on May 9, 2011.  Hinojosa is under considereation for a spot on the budget conference committee.
Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, talks to an aide on the Senate floor on May 9, 2011. Hinojosa is under considereation for a spot on the budget conference committee.

Updated: Forensic Science Commission Bill Revived

A bill that would clarify and expand the jurisdiction of the Forensic Science Commission appeared to have fizzled in the Texas House. But tonight lawmakers revived the bill and voted it out of committee.

John Bradley, left, is the new chair of the Texas Forensic Science Commission. Cameron Todd Willingham, right, was executed for setting a house fire that killed his three daughters.
John Bradley, left, is the new chair of the Texas Forensic Science Commission. Cameron Todd Willingham, right, was executed for setting a house fire that killed his three daughters.

Bassett: Politics Stymied Willingham Investigation

The former chairman of a state forensic board applauded the current commissioners' report on the arson investigation used to convict Cameron Todd Willingham, but said he's deeply concerned that politics stymied their ability to take a stronger stance.

Presiding Officer of the Texas Forensic Science Commission John Bradley during a commission meeting April 14th, 2011
Presiding Officer of the Texas Forensic Science Commission John Bradley during a commission meeting April 14th, 2011

Board Approves Report on Willingham

Members of a state forensic board today accepted an amended version of a report on convicted arsonist Cameron Todd Willingham's case, but won't rule on professional negligence until the attorney general says whether they have jurisdiction to do so.

Presiding Officer of the Texas Forensic Science Commission John Bradley during a commission meeting April 14th, 2011
Presiding Officer of the Texas Forensic Science Commission John Bradley during a commission meeting April 14th, 2011

Still No Decision on Negligence in Willingham Case

After releasing a draft report on the case of convicted arsonist Cameron Todd Willingham, state forensic board members refused again today to rule on whether investigators in the case were professionally negligent in deciding the fire that killed Willingham's three daughters was intentionally ignited.

Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley is the new chair of the Texas Forensic Science Commission.
Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley is the new chair of the Texas Forensic Science Commission.

Commission Frustrated With Willingham Investigation

Members of the Texas Forensic Science Commission expressed concerns today about the progress — or lack thereof — in the case of convicted arsonist Cameron Todd Willingham before ending a yet another meeting without a decision about the evidence that was used to send the Corsicana man to the death chamber in 2004.

John Bradley, left, is the new chair of the Texas Forensic Science Commission. Cameron Todd Willingham, right, was executed for setting a house fire that killed his three daughters.
John Bradley, left, is the new chair of the Texas Forensic Science Commission. Cameron Todd Willingham, right, was executed for setting a house fire that killed his three daughters.

Arson Experts Testify in Willingham Investigation

The Texas Forensic Science Commission heard testimony from four fire experts today to gather evidence about the reliability of the arson investigation that led to the 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham. Half said investigators got it right, and half said they were wrong.

September 17, 2010 - (l-r) Judy Willingham Cavner and Eugenia Willingham, both relatives of Cameron Todd Willingham, attend the Texas Forensic Science Commission meeting on September 17, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.
September 17, 2010 - (l-r) Judy Willingham Cavner and Eugenia Willingham, both relatives of Cameron Todd Willingham, attend the Texas Forensic Science Commission meeting on September 17, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.

Forensic Panel Questions Fire Experts on Willingham

Watch the Innocence Project livestream of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, which gathers today in Austin to question arson experts on the evidence used to hand Cameron Todd Willingham the death penalty in 1992.

An exclusive excerpt from "Incendiary," a forthcoming documentary about the Cameron Todd Willingham case.

An Early Look at the New Willingham Documentary

Filmmakers Steve Mims and Joe Bailey Jr. are putting the finishing touches on a new documentary about the Cameron Todd Willingham case that focuses almost entirely on forensics — on the science behind arson investigations like the one that led to the Corsicana man's arrest, conviction and execution following the death of his three small children in a 1991 house fire. Mims and Bailey aren't political activists; the former lectures in the University of Texas' Department of Radio-Television-Film, while the latter is a graduate of UT's law school. But they were so moved by an article about the Willingham case in The New Yorker that they decided to tackle one of the most controversial topics in the modern era of state's criminal justice system. Well in advance of the film's release, they've carved out this excerpt of about eight minutes exclusively for the Tribune.