In The News


2014-11-17 | How Courts Miss Bad Forensics
This is in part a failure of the courts, in part a failure of the federal law (and Congress for passing it), and in part a failure of the elected and public officials who have used and defended Hayne over the years. Regardless of who’s to blame, Koon was convicted due to testimony from an expert the court now admits isn’t credible. For the same court to nevertheless uphold his conviction because he missed a deadline is to keep him in prison on a technicality. It’s a cynical outcome that suggests the criminal justice system values process more than justice.

2014-11-17 | Rapid DNA system lets Arizona DPS, law enforcement obtain DNA profiles in 90 minutes
The process of getting DNA profiles is much faster thanks to a device at the Department of Public Safety in Phoenix that pumps out a profile for detectives in just 90 minutes. "You bring the sample in and prepare it. Place it inside of cartridges. Those cartridges go in the top of the instrument," said Scott Rex, crime lab manager for DPS.

2014-11-17 | New DNA technology is helping catch rapists
It's been documented across the country; thousands of untested rape kits sitting on shelves waiting to be tested. Now new technology could make a huge difference in the way DNA is tested. It's called Rapid DNA.

2014-11-12 | Mitigating Artifacts of JPG Compression in Digital Images
Far too often, people use a high compression setting, on digital cameras and flatbed scanners or in software used to make images smaller (in size), to either store more images on memory cards or to download or email images faster. Unfortunately, what many people don’t realize is that JPG (also known as JPEG, short for "Joint Photographic Experts Group") compression discards real pixel values. Depending upon the level of JPG compression used, images can be damaged significantly. Details within the image can be lost. The image itself can become noticeably “blocky," or appear pixilated.

2014-10-30 | 402 Members Named to Forensic Science Standards Organization
The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced the final appointments to the Organization for Scientific Area Committees (OSAC), established to coordinate development of standards and guidelines for the forensic science community. The organization is bringing a uniform structure to what was previously an ad hoc system with the goal of improving the quality and consistency of forensic science in the United States.

2014-10-01 | Nanoparticles for fingermark detection: an insight into the reaction mechanism
This publication presents one of the first uses of silicon oxide nanoparticles to detect fingermarks. The study is not confined to showing successful detection of fingermarks, but is focused on understanding the mechanisms involved in the fingermark detection process. To gain such an understanding, various chemical groups are grafted onto the nanoparticle surface, and parameters such as the pH of the solutions or zeta potential are varied to study their influence on the detection. An electrostatic interaction has been the generally accepted hypothesis of interaction between nanoparticles and fingermarks, but the results of this research challenge that hypothesis, showing that the interaction is chemically driven. Carboxyl groups grafted onto the nanoparticle surfaces react with amine groups of the fingermark secretion. This formation of amide linkage between carboxyl and amine groups has further been favoured by catalyzing the reaction with a compound of diimide type. The research strategy adopted here ought to be applicable to all detection techniques using nanoparticles. For most of them the nature of the interaction remains poorly understood.

2014-09-30 | WVSP crime lab: Rape kit backlog a solvable problem
Evidence from about 250 sexual assault cases dating back to 2011 sits in storage at the West Virginia State Police crime lab in South Charleston, waiting to be tested.The number includes untested rape kits from hospitals, as well as other pieces of evidence that need to be examined, such as pieces of clothing and bed sheets.

2014-09-30 | Cuyahoga County touts expanded forensic capabilities at regional crime lab
The lab, housed at the Medical Examiner's office, has enhanced fingerprinting and ballistics capabilities and more space to store evidence collected from crime scenes in Cleveland and the surrounding suburbs. The lab also handles toxicology and trace evidence testing.

2014-09-24 | FBI Plans Rapid DNA Dragnets
The FBI is preparing to accelerate the collection of DNA profiles for the government's massive new biometric identification database. Developers of portable DNA analysis machines have been invited to a Nov. 13 presentation to learn about the bureau's vision for incorporating their technology into the FBI's new database. So-called rapid DNA systems can draw up a profile in about 90 minutes. The Next Generation Identification system, or NGI, the successor to the FBI's criminal fingerprint database, is designed to quickly ID crooks through facial recognition, iris matching, tattoo cross-checks and vocal recordings, among other unique traits.

2014-09-24 | Douglas County Board OKs shared crime lab deal
The Sheriff’s Office would hire two new chemists, with the city paying the annual $135,000 cost of the new hires. OPD would handle ballistics test for both agencies. A sheriff’s deputy would be assigned to OPD’s electronics unit. And crime-scene technicians from one agency could respond to calls from the other agency. When the agreement was announced this month, it was heralded as a breakthrough after years of turf wars and infighting that stymied previous consolidation efforts.

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