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2017-02-06 | Man Exonerated Based on DNA Mixture After Serving 16 Years
Two men who served decades behind bars for a brutal 1989 gang rape have both been released and exonerated, based on complex DNA mixture interpretation. The rape charge and conviction of Roosevelt Glenn—which had kept him for in prison for 16 years—were tossed out last week by an Indiana Superior Court Judge. “The court finds that newly discovered evidence exists which entitles Roosevelt Glenn to a new trial … The court finds the state is unable to retry Roosevelt Glenn,” ruled Honorable T. Edward Page on Jan. 30. “The court concludes that the criminal charges against Roosevelt Glenn … should be dismissed.”

2017-02-04 | Florida fingerprint analyst may have mishandled hundreds of cases
Shocking allegations have come out of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, which has removed a fingerprint analyst because of mistakes he’s made in cases. The state attorney’s office cites multiple job performance issues, including clerical errors, failure to identify what prints are important and the mislabeling of fingerprint cards. The widespread impact dates back to 2001. In question are at least 877 closed cases.

2017-02-02 | Houston Forensic Science Center Eliminates Digital Backlog
A year ago, it would take an average of 110 days to process a cellphone or other digital evidence at the Houston Forensic Science Center. Now that average has been pushed down to a little over two weeks for audio or video materials, and 24 days for digital analysis, the Center announced this week. A long-standing backlog at the HFSC’s Digital and Multimedia Evidence Section has been cleared, they said.

2017-01-31 | Former Elkhart County police detective cleared in civil suit
A former Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department detective was cleared of any wrongdoing Friday after a lawsuit was filed against him claiming he withheld a lack of qualification to perform latent fingerprint analysis when he testified during a murder trial that ultimately led to the conviction of an Elkhart woman.

2017-01-27 | Voice Analysis Should Be Used with Caution in Court
But is the science behind voice identification sound? Several articles in the scientific literature have warned about the quality of one of its main applications: forensic phonetic expertise in courts. We have compiled two dozens judicial cases from around the world in which forensic phonetics were controversial. Recent figures published by INTERPOL indicate that half of forensic experts still use audio techniques that have been openly discredited.

2017-01-20 | ‘Tragic Legacy’ of Drug Analyst May Mean Tossing Thousands of Cases, Mass. Court Rules
The “tragic legacy” of Annie Dookhan, who served three years in prison for falsifying and “drylabbing” forensic results will prompt the state’s district attorneys to dismiss an appreciable number of the 24,000 cases on which she worked, according to a Wednesday ruling. It was, they ruled, a “laboratory scandal of unprecedented magnitude.” A new three-part review process will now require district attorneys to vacate and dismiss all cases which they could not reprosecute; provide notice to all defendants in the remaining Dookhan-handled cases; and assign a public defender to all defendants who ask for one.

2017-01-09 | Bad Grades, Lapses in Hiring Process Doomed Austin’s Crime Lab Leader
No one — not human resources staff, not an interview panel, not department brass — noticed or flagged a less-than-stellar college transcript Milne gave them with his application. Had they done so, they would have seen that Milne’s academic history was pockmarked with failing grades, including many courses directly related to his career, according to records obtained by the American-Statesman.

2017-01-08 | Another Forensic Science Debacle, Another Teaching Moment
I read with interest the article from the Austin American-Statesman, “Bad grades, lapses in hiring process doomed Austin’s crime lab leader.” The short version is, the Austin police department sought a new “chief forensics officer” to restore their currently closed DNA lab. Scott Milne, who appears to have a bachelor’s degree in forensic chemistry, was hired to do the job. (No, the fact that they hired someone who appears to only have a bachelor’s degree to reopen a forensic DNA lab was not the story!)

2016-12-15 | Some Austin Crime Lab Staff Disinvited From Training, DPS Says
However, after an initial training with all of the analysts, DPS lost confidence in some of the staff. Monday, DPS officials said they weren't certain they could work with the majority of the staff on board. In fact, in a letter obtained by the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE, only two DNA specialists out of six were chosen to continue on with training in a "supportive environment." Brady Mill, deputy assistant director of the DPS crime lab, wrote about his concerns over the last four months in a letter to the Travis County District Attorney's office.

2016-12-14 | Former state police forensic scientist sentenced to 3 years in federal prison
A federal judge on Monday sentenced fired Oregon State Police crime lab scientist Nika Elise Larsen to three years in prison for stealing more than 700 pills seized in drug cases over more than two years. Larsen's crimes prompted prosecutors across the state to re-evaluate more than 2,500 cases. District attorneys have dismissed or dropped more than 150 convictions or charges because of Larsen.

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