In The News


2015-05-14 | ltered Fingerprints: A Challenge to Law Enforcement Identification Efforts
FBI fingerprint examiners have encountered situations where criminals, including those in the country illegally, intentionally altered their fingertips themselves or with the assistance of medical professionals. They falsely believed that doing so would prevent law enforcement officials from discovering their true identities.

2015-05-14 | One of N.J.'s largest medical examiner offices failed accreditation, but does it matter?
Four other medical examiners' offices in New Jersey, including the state medical examiner's office, were previously accredited. Since 2013, all of those offices' accreditations have either lapsed or the offices failed the re-accreditation process. National Association of Medical Examiners President Marcus Nashelsky said it's not uncommon for an accreditation to lapse. But he did say it's more rare to fail a re-accreditation application.

2015-05-14 | FBI Warns About Altered Fingerprints
In a study last year, the FBI identified 412 records in the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System which showed deliberate print alteration, they said. The biggest number of altered prints appeared to be by people who had extensive criminal records and multiple law enforcement encounters, the study found. Some were violent criminals and thieves, federal authorities said. But especially common were people who were involved drug-related offenses, and who had immigration offenses.

2015-05-13 | A Closer Look: The Consolidated Forensic Lab in Washington D.C.
But even all the technological advances couldn't save the facility from two recent audits that shut down DNA testing at the laboratory in April. The audits claimed that procedures were “insufficient and inadequate,” and may even cause further damage by leading to the revocation of the laboratory’s national accreditation.

2015-05-09 | Despite DNA, the Rapist Got Away
Then a couple of years ago, after a series of scandals in the Robbins Police Department, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office took over the evidence room and found scores of rape kits just gathering dust. One of them was Natasha’s. The sheriff’s office had it tested, and it returned with a DNA match on a career criminal, Carl F., now 46, who had a long record of offenses. Another rape kit in the same evidence room also returned a hit on Carl F., the sheriff’s office says.

2015-05-08 | A setback for forensic science
Houck worked to ensure the independence and transparency of the laboratory. With the help of the lab’s legal counsel, he developed new lines of communication between the laboratory and the groups it served — including police, prosecutors and defense lawyers. The laboratory ended a policy that had allowed prosecutors to have preferential access to laboratory information and to control what defense lawyers were allowed to see. Under the new administration, prosecutors and defense lawyers were given equal access.

2015-05-07 | Innocence Audit to Investigate Wave of Criminal Exonerations
"Innocence Network members reject the vast majority of applicants for assistance, because they conclude that they have no viable claim of innocence, and they regularly advocate for reforms that will serve no objective except truth-finding," wrote Keith A. Findley, the Network's president, and a clinical professor of law at the University of Wisconsin.

2015-05-07 | A Final Lament to D.C.'s $220 Million Crime Lab
DNA testing had just been suspended at the laboratory, and Mr. Houck hardly seemed eager for a press conference—the price tag to send out the casework to other labs was estimated in the millions. But as the months-long scandal whirled around outdoors, the air inside the $220 million facility was cool and comforting, and as usual, a constant 72 degrees.

2015-05-05 | Arizona Department of Public Safety is First NDIS Lab to Upload DNA Profiles to National Database Utilizing Rapid DNA
Samples taken from the arrestees were analyzed using the RapidHIT system, which generated a full DNA profile in under two hours that was subsequently uploaded to the National DNA Index System (NDIS). NDIS is the highest level of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which is managed by the FBI and enables the exchange and comparison of forensic DNA evidence from violent crime investigations across the US.

2015-05-04 | D.C. crime lab chief paints pricey future
The interim director of the District’s Department of Forensic Sciences says it could cost up to $800 per case to outsource. DNA testing after a national accreditation board ordered the city’s crime lab to stop in-house testing. Monday was Roger Mitchell Jr.’s second full day on the job as the department’s interim director following the dismissal of four high-ranking officials in the wake of a critical audit. He spent much of the day answering questions about the lab’s abilities before a D.C. Council committee.

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