On Jan. 10, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Commerce appointed 30 members to the first-ever National Commission on Forensic Science. Among these experts was Judge Barbara Hervey of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
The commission was created in February 2013 by the DOJ and U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. This cross-departmental initiative is meant to “strengthen and enhance” the validity and reliability of forensic science by focusing on the “intersections between forensic science and the criminal justice system.” The commission will standardize national guidance for laboratories working on the federal, state, and local levels and also will develop policy recommendations to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, such as professional responsibility codes and training and certification requirements.
According to the DOJ, commission members—who were selected from more than 300 candidates—represent “an extremely broad range of expertise and skills” and include forensic science providers, researchers, professors, law enforcement officials, and legal experts including prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges. "I’m very excited and very honored," Hervey told the State Bar. "I will try to represent Texas well."
Hervey, of San Antonio, has served as judge of Place 7 on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for more than 13 years. She received her law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 1979 and was admitted to the Texas Bar that same year. Hervey then practiced with a San Antonio law office for five years and went on to serve as assistant criminal district attorney of Bexar County’s appellate section for 16 years.
Concerned about the increase in wrongful convictions in Texas, Hervey established the Texas Criminal Justice Integrity Unit in 2008, which aims to decrease convictions of innocent persons by improving defense counsel quality, eyewitness identification procedures, crime lab reliability and forensic science, attorney accountability, and more.