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2015-05-03 | The Death and Afterlife of Houston’s Crime Lab
Still, in February the HFSC celebrated a major milestone: it finally cleared its backlog of over 6,600 sexual assault kits dating back 30 years. The moment was bittersweet—the kits turned up 850 matches in the FBI’s national DNA database, leading to charges being filed belatedly against 29 individuals, including suspects who had gone on to commit at least six other rapes while the kits were languishing in an HPD evidence locker. But it also marked a moment of redemption for a lab that had once been a national disgrace.

2015-05-03 | Year in jail, no indictment: Crime lab snafu blamed
At this time last year, nearby Hinds County had nearly 130 inmates who had been in the detention center there for a year or more without trial.

2015-05-01 | Staffing limits stalling APD fingerprint backlog
In September, the lab told KXAN the typical backlog for fingerprint analysis was running between 9 and 12 months. Growth, staffing issues and recent turnover were blamed for the back-up which usually run up to six months under optimal circumstances. At the time, the lab set a goal of eliminating the backlog in one year’s time.

2015-05-01 | Director of D.C.’s embattled DNA lab resigns after suspension of testing
The embattled director of the District’s first independent DNA lab resigned Thursday, a week after two audits found that the lab’s procedures were inadequate, thereby forcing a national accreditation body to suspend all of the lab’s DNA testing. In addition to Houck’s resignation, two other senior officials, the chief scientist for the lab and the senior manager for DNA testing, were let go.

2015-04-30 | Suspended D.C. Crime Lab Has 30 Days
Although, Houck did not comment on what the audits found specifically that led to the suspension of DNA testing, or a timetable for when testing might resume, he said that the recent finding are extremely significant.

2015-04-30 | Database Size, Sample Quality Impact Forensic Accuracy
Specifically, the authors developed methods to statistically quantify 1) the random match probability (RMP) which quantifies uncertainty in measures aimed at validating a forensic discipline’s basic premises (such as a uniqueness claim) and 2) the accuracy of likelihood ratio methods (LRs) used in making classification/ individualization conclusions.

2015-04-28 | District could spend nearly $1 million for outside lab to test DNA evidence
The District may have to pay as much as $1 million to an outside laboratory to test DNA evidence after two audits found that the city’s own testing procedures were inadequate, two city officials said Tuesday. District officials are scrambling to identify a DNA forensic lab that can review older cases as well as handle new cases.

2015-04-27 | Five Things About Sexual Assault Kits
Investments in research have dramatically improved the science of forensic DNA testing and our understanding of sexual assault kits. Here are Five Things we know and don’t yet know, based on research to date:

2015-04-27 | Four States Auditing Cases Involving Flawed FBI Hair Analysis
Approximately 3,000 cases involved FBI hair analysis from 1985 to 1999. The FBI is reviewing those convictions to see how many of those cases involved errors made by hair examiners. But the pool of potentially-related criminal cases could be much larger than 3,000 cases, Cates said. The Bureau is having difficulties identifying cases prior to 1985, when it started its computer system, but the federal agency started doing hair comparison in the 1930s, Cates said.

2015-04-27 | National accreditation board suspends all DNA testing at D.C. crime lab
One of the national organizations that govern DNA laboratories has ordered the District’s new crime lab to immediately suspend all DNA casework after concluding that the lab’s procedures are “insufficient and inadequate.”

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