In The News


2015-12-22 | Initial Eyewitness Confidence in IDs Could Be Crucial in Determining Accuracy
“A blanket indictment of the reliability of eyewitness expressions of confidence is wrong,” said Wixted. “It’s a huge mistake our legal system is making. At the time that they’re first making an ID, eyewitnesses can give us reliable information about their accuracy.”

2015-12-22 | Federal complaints allege marijuana misreporting by State Police crime lab
At least three attorneys filed federal complaints Tuesday against the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division for allegations of serious negligence or misconduct, and to contest grant money the crime labs received this year. However, officials with both the MSP and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office told FOX 17 their agencies are not conducting investigations into these allegations.

2015-12-14 | Forensic Scientists Study Decomposition for Insights Into Post-Mortem Interval
“We feel there is great promise that our findings could be used by forensic scientists,” said Jessica Metcalf, a lead researcher from both schools. “We view it as a potential method that could be used with other lines of evidence by investigators attempting to solve suspicious crimes.”

2015-12-12 | Lives in Balance, Texas Leads Scrutiny of Bite-Mark Forensics
In 1987, he was sentenced to life on murder charges after a dental expert testified that it was virtually certain that his teeth had caused marks on an arm of the victim, a drug dealer who was stabbed to death. This same expert has now repudiated his testimony as unfounded. Mr. Chaney is one of more than a dozen people around the country who have been released or exonerated in cases involving bite-mark testimony that was later debunked.

2015-12-08 | DOJ's New Accreditation Policies to Advance Forensic Science
New Accreditation Policies to Advance Forensic Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates announced today that the Justice Department will, within the next five years, require department-run forensic labs to obtain and maintain accreditation and require all department prosecutors to use accredited labs to process forensic evidence when practicable. Additionally, the department has decided to use its grant funding mechanisms to encourage other labs around the country to pursue accreditation.

2015-12-07 | Defense Attorneys Demand Closer Look at Software Used to Detect Crime-Scene DNA
Defense attorneys have tried but failed to get access to the source code of the program, called TrueAllele. They say they can’t determine whether the software is erroneously linking their clients to crimes if they are unable to review the instructions the program gives the computer. “TrueAllele is being used on the most dangerous, least information-rich samples you encounter, and typically in the most important cases,” said Dan E. Krane, a biology professor at Wright State University and defense expert who has opposed use of the program. “And I don’t know how it arrives at its answers.”

2015-12-07 | Digital forensics standards must be improved
The police management of digital forensics is “disparate” and improvements must be made in firearms classification, crime scene investigation and laboratory processes, according to the Forensic Science Regulator. In her annual report Dr Gillian Tulley was critical that very little digital forensics work – the recovery and investigation of material found in digital devices – is accredited to international standards by the UK Accreditation Service and she committed to obtaining accreditation for all providers by 2017. Dr Tulley believes without proper scrutiny the risk of errors is significant.

2015-12-07 | Organ Matter on Bullets Could Pinpoint Fatal Shot
Amid the chaos of a gun homicide involving multiple shots and multiple shooters, reconstructing exactly which shots proved fatal can prove a daunting case. But using mass spectrometry on the trace proteins on the bullet can determine what organs they passed through with startling new accuracy, according to a study in the Journal of Proteome Research. The mass spectrometry method was used on bullets fired through pig parts – and the scientists were able to identify the correct organ more than 99 percent of the time, they said.

2015-12-04 | Cuyahoga County opens regional fingerprint lab
The Cuyahoga County Regional Forensic Science Laboratory has opened a fingerprint lab to handle cases at no charge for all law enforcement and justice agencies in the county. "The opening of the fingerprint lab is another step forward in the provision of regional crime lab services to our community," Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson said in a statement.

2015-12-01 | Can DNA predict a face?
In the last few years, several scientists and companies have ventured into the new world of appearance prediction. It’s a hazy place, where the roots of a person’s looks hide out in their genetic instruction books. Scientists dig up these roots by linking people’s physical features with tiny landmarks in their DNA. If investigators could use DNA to predict nose width, say, or eye size, they might have an easier time tracking down criminals.

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