This morning, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced an initiative aimed at “examining and strengthening forensic science.” Presumably, the initiative will impact how the DOJ approaches digital forensic evidence in criminal prosecutions.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein made the announcement at the International Association for Identification’s (IAI) conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The IAI has a standing committee devoted to digital evidence.

The DOJ noted in its announcement that it is “fully committed to strengthening forensic science and its use in the courtroom,” despite what it characterizes as “efforts by some to reject reliable and admissible forensic evidence.” The DOJ will develop a “Uniform Language for Testimony and Reports . . . to help guide examiner testimony” as well as a “testimony monitoring program.”

As a first step, the DOJ is now conducting a “needs assessment . . . to understand the various challenges that the forensic science practitioner . . . faces in terms of backlog, personnel, equipment, education and training.”

The DOJ press release is available here. The DOJ’s  “Backgrounder on Forensic Science Advances” is available here.