In The News


2015-04-26 | Hi-tech DNA machines cause concern
Patrick Carroll, senior director of international sales at IntegenX, told The Independent he expected to see the technology used in all major UK custody suites in the near future. Although data is currently double-checked by a forensics expert, he said he believed officers could soon input information directly into the national database. “What we want is the data from this to go directly into the national database, so that you skip that step of having to have a forensic lab,” he said.

2015-04-24 | LIMS vs QMS: What Are They and Do I Need Both?
Let us start with a description of the two systems. A LIMS is a Laboratory Information Management System, sometimes also referred to as a LIS — Laboratory Information System or a LMS — Laboratory Management System. A QMS refers to a Quality Management System, sometimes also referred to as an eQMS – Electronic Quality Management System or a Compliance Management System.

2015-04-24 | ‘Serious flaws’ found in Ohio’s fingerprint system
“More than 1,100 times from 2012 to 2014, BCI officials changed criminal histories recorded through flawed fingerprint scans as “no-hit” when, in fact, checks showed the people had “hits” — prior convictions with fingerprints on file.”

2015-04-23 | Bloodstain Patterns on Textile Surfaces: A Fundamental Analysis
While DNA evidence might link a person to a particular bloodstain, it does not indicate how it got there and — more importantly — what exactly happened. Bloodstain pattern analysis, on the other hand, is an important forensic tool that can provide useful information that may help fill the gaps in the investigation of the crime. The examination of bloodstains or bloodstain patterns on clothing can provide information about the position, activity, and movements of the wearer during and after the bloodshed event.

2015-04-23 | The science (and lack thereof) behind the FBI’s retreat on hair analysis
However, problems were apparent quite early on. As early as 1976, a paper concluded that “due to the fact that so many of the characteristics coded are subjective—for example, color, texture—it was not possible to get complete reproducibility between two or more examiners coding the same hair." And once DNA analysis became available, problems with this approach were obvious. Researchers at the FBI itself found that in 11 percent of the cases where hair examiners declared hair "similar," DNA testing revealed that there wasn't a match.

2015-04-23 | 15 Suspended after NY State Police Probe
After a six-month internal investigation, the New York State Police are seeking to fire 15 employees for “unauthorized information sharing” regarding a DNA proficiency exam. The employees in question have been issued notices of discipline seeking termination, according to a spokesperson statement, and have been suspended until further notice.

2015-04-23 | Forensic science: The soil sleuth
Dawson saw opportunities to develop new techniques, especially for soil's organic matter — the part made up of dead and decomposed plants and organisms. The advantage of studying organic characteristics is that they vary on the scale of centimetres or metres, whereas inorganic components may be broadly the same over kilometres. “The organic takes you to a much finer spatial scale of resolution,” she says. When combined with soil-survey databases that document a variety of soil characteristics, that resolution could help investigators to use soil attached to a suspect's shoe or tyre to locate a burial site, for example.

2015-04-23 | Uncovering the Smoking Gun is a Team Effort
Today’s investigative teams are buried under a mountain of digital data that comes from an increasing number and variety of sources. As the quantity of potential evidence continues to grow, some might yearn for a simpler time before the latest advances in technology; especially since criminals have become quite efficient at using these tools to hide their crimes and evade detection and prosecution. The communication revolution has brought us an onslaught of data. But technology can also add speed, flexibility, scalability, teamwork and actionable intelligence to the forensic process.

2015-04-23 | Preserving Forensic Evidence after Terrorist Attacks
“Preservation of evidence was key in those first few hours following the Boston Marathon bombing because most of the amputations were being processed while the suspects were at large,” said Cathryn J. Byrne-Dugan, chief resident of the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at the hospital, in a piece published in the Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine this week.

2015-04-23 | New Report Recommends Policies for Improved Preservation of Biological Evidence
All states should have laws ensuring that criminal justice systems properly handle, store and retain forensic biological evidence, according to a new report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST's guide, Biological Evidence Preservation: Considerations for Policy Makers, encourages legislators, judges, law enforcement officials, crime laboratory managers and other policy makers to implement or update laws that support best practices in this critical area.

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