In The News


2017-09-07 | Constitutional Requirement to Litigate Scientific Evidence
The Supreme Court revised the standards for admissibility of scientific evidence and expert witness testimony through the seminal cases of Daubert, Joiner and Kumho Tire. The controversial issues of reliability, peer review, error and uncertainty rates, and standardization still adversely affect competent use of forensic science.

2017-09-06 | FBI and NamUs Partnership IDs Victims, Killers, Unknown Nationwide
Instead, the breakthrough was made through a new partnership in 2017 between the FBI and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs. The pilot program began in February with a massive backlog of prints which had never before been examined by the FBI. Since then, a steady stream of “hits” from the unidentified deceased have produced hundreds of names, faces—and leads. What began as a pilot program in February has already transitioned into the normal workday routine for the some 35 FBI fingerprint examiners—although the results have proven to be anything but routine.

2017-09-06 | Speaking of Error in Forensic Science
In recent years, high visibility errors have occurred at crime labs in almost every state. These have ranged from simple mistakes, such as mislabeling evidence, to testimony that overstates the scientific evidence, to criminal acts. The latter category includes dry-labbing, which is when an examiner fraudulently claims to have performed laboratory analyses which in fact were never done. Dry-labbing is not an error—it’s a crime—but if it goes undiscovered, there is a problem with error management. The cost of these cases, whether the result of simple mistakes or criminal malfeasance, have been incalculable. Innocent people have spent years behind bars, countless criminal cases have been thrown out due to tainted evidence, and the cost of litigation has soared.

2017-09-01 | Austin Police Partner With UNT Health Science Center
In the aftermath of its lab’s closure, the Austin Police Department will now send a majority of its faulty DNA cases to the University of North Texas Health Science Center to determine if retesting must be done. On Thursday, Austin City Council approved a contract to allow the center to review and analyze DNA cases that were tested by APD’s lab before it shut down in June 2016. Prior to the shutdown, the Texas Forensic Science Commission found APD’s DNA testing procedures were outdated or improper, causing already tested cases to be reanalyzed and creating a backlog.

2017-08-24 | Thousands of DUIs May Blow Away
Tens of thousands of drunken-driving cases could be thrown out across the state because officials withheld damning information about its flawed breath tests, according to defense attorneys who are asking a judge to “impose significant sanctions against the commonwealth.” “This is a really big deal,” said Joe Bernard, the attorney who made the allegations in a motion filed in Concord District Court on Saturday. “The fact that this information was not revealed to thousands of citizens is mind-blowing.”

2017-08-21 | IntegenX Applauds the Passage of the Rapid DNA Act of 2017
Similar to how fingerprint analysis has evolved from a paper and ink practice to a point-of-action technology, DNA testing has now become possible in 90 minutes within a booking station, while a suspect is still in custody. With processing times reduced from weeks to less than two hours, the potential to identify or exonerate a suspect quickly will make a meaningful impact on law enforcement.

2017-08-21 | Fallen Forensics: Judges Routinely Allow Disavowed Science
“Courts — unlike scientists — rely too heavily on precedent and not enough on the progress of science,” said Christopher Fabricant, director of strategic litigation for the Innocence Project. “At some point, we have to acknowledge that precedent has to be overruled by scientific reality.” Defense lawyers and civil rights advocates say prosecutors and judges are slow to acknowledge that some forensic science methods are flawed because they are the very tools that have for decades helped win convictions. And such evidence can be persuasive for jurors, many of whom who have seen it used dramatically on “Law & Order” and “CSI.” Rulings in the past year show judges are reluctant to rule against long-accepted evidence even when serious questions have been raised about its reliability:

2017-08-21 | Omaha Police Purge DNA Samples From Controversial 2004 Sweep
Warren defended the sweep, saying it was not random, but a targeted sweep authorized by a warrant issued by a judge. It was intended to catch a rapist who “would attack more women if he weren’t caught,” he said. “We would have used any lawful means to identify and apprehend the perpetrator,” Warren said. In the end, it wasn’t DNA from the sweep that led police to Weathers, but DNA taken from him by prison officials under a state law that requires anyone convicted of a felony or other specified offense to submit to DNA sampling.

2017-08-18 | New Scientific Research Shows Cleaning Fentanyl Spills with Household Product Effective
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey announced today that researchers have determined that household cleaner OxiClean ™ has proven scientifically to be effective in cleaning up fentanyl spills.

2017-08-18 | True ID of ‘Chameleon’ Killer Revealed: Terry Peder Rasmussen
Rasmussen, as of this identification, is believed to have killed at least six people females: the four Allenstown victims, Denise Beaudin, and Eunsoon Jun. But authorities acknowledge more victims may be out there among the unidentified bodies and unknown graves of America.

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