Press Release

Public Knowledge Applauds Rep. Takano for Bill Protecting Criminal Defendants

September 18, 2019 , , , ,

Yesterday, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) introduced the “Justice in Forensic Algorithms Act of 2019” to ensure that criminal defendants can access the software source code and other data they need to properly defend themselves and exercise their due process rights. The bill would also establish standards and testing to help the public learn how forensic algorithms work and discuss whether or how these algorithms should be used in the criminal justice system.

Currently, defendants are being convicted based on the results of forensic algorithms — without the ability to challenge this evidence in court due to intellectual property and trade secret claims. Public Knowledge applauds Rep. Takano for his leadership in protecting the due process rights of defendants in the criminal justice system.

The following can be attributed to Bertram Lee, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

This bill is a much needed step forward in ensuring that the justice system continues to afford defendants the right to meaningfully defend themselves. Due process rights should not retreat as technology advances. Trade secret and intellectual property laws should not stand in the way of defendants exercising their full constitutional rights or from challenging the evidence used against them. We need clear and articulable standards for testing the software and algorithmic evidence used against defendants in the criminal justice system. We thank Congressman Takano for his leadership on this issue and look forward to working with him in the future.”