In The News


2016-12-13 | Forensic Analyst Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison for Stealing Drugs from Evidence
Between January 2013 and August 2015, Larsen stole morphine, hydrocodone, diazepam, methamphetamine, oxycodone, and methadone in pill form. Overall, she took 700 controlled substances from more than 50 separate pieces of evidentiary items. Most of the thefts were perpetrated in Umatilla and Deschutes counties at the OSP’s Crime Laboratories in Pendleton and Bend.

2016-12-12 | The Science of Discerning the Real from the Fake
A picture is worth a thousand words. When Nicephore Niépce created the world’s first permanent photographic image in 1826, he set in motion what could only be described as a revolution of epic proportions, and though the art of photography has changed over the centuries, our fascination with the captured image never has.

2016-12-08 | Familial Searching, Used in 10 States and Counting, Solves the Unsolvable
Ohio just started using familial searching less than a month ago, issuing protocols on Nov. 9 in how it was to be used. Within weeks, they had matched the DNA from the crime scene to a ladder Christian had touched. “When I learned that a predator was breaking into homes to snatch children from their beds, I wanted to immediately launch this new testing in Ohio, which we had been studying and validating for some time,” said Mike DeWine, the state’s Attorney General. “This is a first for (the Bureau of Criminal Investigation) and a first for Ohio.”

2016-12-06 | Bite mark evidence challenged in Ross case
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has become the latest organization to identify bite mark evidence as profoundly unreliable, joining the National Academy of Sciences, the Texas Forensic Science Commission and other academic researchers and scientists, Delger said.

2016-12-04 | State crime lab woes: Increased demand, lack of personnel and equipment negatively impacting workload
But according to a West Virginia State Police 2015 report, it’s a matter of increased demand and a lack of personnel and equipment to keep up with the workload. All evidence collected from criminal investigations from every county and jurisdiction in the state is sent to the West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory in Charleston. That 2015 report pointed to a “tremendous backlog of approximately 2,400 drug cases” in the lab, which was not fully staffed. That figure stood at more than 2,900 in fall of this year, according to a recent release.

2016-12-04 | NC Man Who Served 25 Years for Rape Based on Hair Evidence Pardoned
Timothy Bridges was convicted of raping an elderly woman in 1991, based on two hairs found at the scene of the crime, and despite a bloody handprint on the wall that didn’t match him. He served 25 years in prison, before his conviction was vacated and he was released on bond last autumn. Now he has been granted a full pardon by the North Carolina governor – and has become the latest prisoner completely cleared of his supposed crimes based on faulty hair analysis.

2016-12-01 | Experts Argue it's Time to Stop Using Bite Marks in Forensics
Studies of wrongful convictions based on DNA exoneration's have found the forensic sciences to be second only to eyewitness errors as a source of false or misleading evidence contributing to erroneous convictions. Error rates by forensic dentists are perhaps the highest of any forensic identification specialty still practiced.

2016-11-28 | Experts: DNA technique not used in NY could help in Karina Vetrano case
In the nearly four months since 30-year-old Howard Beach jogger Karina Vetrano was strangled in Spring Creek Park, teams of NYPD detectives have worked the case with no suspects. The best lead so far has been DNA left on Vetrano’s body that hasn’t matched any profiles in state or national databases of convicted criminals, police said.

2016-11-28 | After lab closure, daunting questions on DNA-based convictions remain
The shuttering of the Austin Police Department’s forensics lab after an audit found unscientific protocols and contamination of evidence has delayed pending cases and led to a debate about how the lab should be operated. Now, the Travis County district attorney’s office is faced with another chunk of the problem: Figuring out how many cases were resolved using possibly bad DNA evidence.

2016-11-28 | Debate rages over quality of science in crime labs
In 1992, a jury convicted the Air Force veteran, who had no previous criminal record, in a three-day trial and sentenced him to die. He spent more than a decade in prison, including three years on death row, until DNA testing proved his innocence and pointed to the real killer in 2002. “They were going to kill me using this junk bite-mark science,” said Krone, 59, who now lives in Tennessee. “The system is set up so that mistakes will be made. That’s why it’s beyond important for scientists to make sure what they are saying about evidence is true and can be backed up with scientific proof, not guess work. You guess wrong and people can die or lose chunks of their life behind bars.”

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