In The News


2015-02-20 | New DNA tool OK in trial
Wakefield's attorney, Frederick Rench, had called the new science "voodoo" and hoped to have it blocked from the trial. He argued the new DNA abandoned the human element in analysis and fell below the thresholds that are standard in DNA labs. This will be the first time the technology is to be used in a New York court. "Here, there is a plethora of evidence in favor of Cybergenetics True Allele Casework, and there is no significant evidence to the contrary," Coccoma wrote, calling it "relevant, reliable and accurate." The judge wrote that principles used by Cybergenetics True Allele Casework are "superior to current methods."

2015-02-20 | Attack of the bite mark matchers
There were red flags that bite mark analysis was flawed even as the first cases in the 1970s secured its use in the courtroom. For example, a 1975 study asked bite mark analysts to match bite marks made in pig skins under optimal laboratory conditions to the teeth that were used to make the marks. The error rate was 24 percent. When the analysts were asked to make their matches from photos of the marks taken 24 hours later — as is often done in criminal cases — they were wrong nine out of 10 times.

2015-02-19 | The Tyranny of the Police Org Chart
The occupant of the lower box may feel it is out-of-place to offer an idea or suggestion up the chain-of-command. The upper echelon box holders may also feel it is out-of-place for the lower level to do this as well, and quiet sets in. Throw in an insecure upper-level member who is intimidated by the new kids on the block and chances of innovation and improvement drop dramatically. Positional authority, legitimate power, is abused.

2015-02-19 | Family faced with digging up body after GBI mix-up
The GBI Crime Lab mixed up the bodies and sent a local funeral home the body of a Clayton County man by mistake. "It is the GBI's mistake. And, I wish they would hurry up and have these remains of this other person moved where I could get my brother buried here," said Lowe. Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen is rarely speechless, but the mix up has him searching for words. Unfortunately, he says the mix up seems to be a symptom of a more widespread problem with overload at the state crime lab. The Augusta GBI Crime Lab has been without a medical examiner since 2013, so every autopsy has to be done in Atlanta.

2015-02-11 | How to Stop Retracted Papers and Bad Data
In 2011, Bayer Healthcare revealed that, in trying to validate its published research, it was only able to reproduce 25 percent of the data—that is, 75 percent of its data was irreproducible. Just a few months later, Amgen suffered a similar problem, only able to validate 11 percent of its published landmark preclinical studies. Non-related studies have continually demonstrated that an estimated 50 percent or more of published data is actually irreproducible.

2015-02-10 | Starting April 1st, big changes to how the state collects DNA from those arrested, convicted
“Gary Ridgeway was the Green River killer. One of the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history. If the rules in place now were in place in the early 80s, literally 60 to 70 women would be alive. Because the only thing he had was a misdemeanor conviction for prostitution,” O’Keefe said.

2015-02-06 | For Police Body Cameras, Big Costs Loom in Storing Footage
"Everybody is screaming, 'We need body cameras.' But nobody is saying, where is the money coming from? What are you going to do with all the data? Who is going to manage it?" said Sgt. Jason Halifax of the Des Moines Police Department, which is struggling to identify a funding source for $300,000 to start a program. "Are we going to cut personnel? Are we going to increase taxes?"

2015-02-03 | APD forensics lab has backlog of more than 3,000 cases
Currently, there are 1,567 cases that need to be analyzed for initial APFIS testing and 1,693 cases that are latent assignments. The majority of the cases are property crimes. Manley said the lab prioritizes violent crimes and aims to test property crime prints before the statute of limitations expires on the case.

2015-02-02 | Math Predicts Patterns in Fingerprints, Raisins
The researchers say the theory, reported this week in the journal Nature Materials, may help to generally explain how fingerprints and wrinkles form.

2015-02-02 | Fingerprint Examiners Found to Have Very Low Error Rates
WASHINGTON - A large-scale study of the accuracy and reliability of decisions made by latent fingerprint examiners found that examiners make extremely few errors. Even when examiners did not get an independent second opinion about the decisions, they were remarkably accurate. But when decisions were verified by an independent reviewer, examiners had a 0% false positive, or incorrect identification, rate and a 3% false negative, or missed identification, rate. The study was released today and funded by the Office of Justice Programs’ National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

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