In The News


2014-03-31 | Senators Introduce Sweeping Forensics Reform Legislation
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced recently sweeping legislation to improve the use of forensic evidence in criminal cases. The Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Reform Act (S. 2177) promotes national accreditation and certification standards and stronger oversight for forensic labs and practitioners, as well as the development of best practices and a national forensic science research strategy. The bill will help law enforcement, courts, and lawyers in their efforts to effectively identify and convict people guilty of crimes and avoid the too-common tragedy of convicting the innocent. Since the first post-conviction DNA exoneration in the United States in 1989, there have been 314 DNA exonerations. The measure aims to avoid wrongful convictions through the use of accurate forensic evidence.

2014-03-31 | Fingerprints give police new clues for solving crime
Back in their laboratory, the team uses an analytical technique called mass spectroscopy to find traces of substances, no matter how small, on or within the ridges of the print. It works by vaporising the sample, and then firing it through an electric and magnetic field. Particles of different mass behave differently under these conditions and this means the team can identify molecules found within the print.

2014-03-04 | Report Finds Multiple Problems in Massachusetts Drug Lab
A chemist who admitted faking test results in criminal cases was the "sole bad actor" in a scandal that forced the shutdown of a state drug lab in Boston, but the facility also was plagued by management failures, inadequate training and a lack of protocols, a report released Tuesday found. "The directors were ill-suited to oversee a forensic drug lab, provided almost no supervision, were habitually unresponsive to chemist's complaints and suspicions, and severely downplayed Dookhan's major breach in chain-of-custody protocol upon discovering it," the report said.

2014-02-25 | First-ever application of rapid DNA technology used to ID suspect
BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – In the first-ever application of rapid DNA technology in a criminal investigation, the Palm Bay Police Department, working closely with the State Attorney’s Office for the 18th Judicial Circuit, is ready to use DNA profiles obtained from the RapidHIT 200 in a criminal prosecution.

2014-02-19 | Wrongly convicted Elkhart woman sues two cops for bad evidence
Canen has maintained her innocence all along. The only evidence entered against her at trial was a fingerprint found on a Tupperware container inside Sailor's apartment, which was believed to have been handled by the killer. Chapman, who presented himself as an expert in fingerprint identification despite having had no training or experience in the field, testified that the fingerprint belonged to Canen, the suit alleges. The print evidence originally had been sent to the Indiana State Crime Lab but was withdrawn "for reasons unknown," and was then given to Chapman for his analysis, the suit alleges.

2014-02-03 | Thousands of Fla. Cases May be Compromised
The fate of thousands of criminal cases across the state -- including ones in Central Florida -- are uncertain after Saturday's stunning revelation that a law-enforcement chemist allegedly stole pain pills for years from an evidence room in the Panhandle.

2014-01-21 | Missing evidence prompted review of county Forensics, Crime labs
The review that led to the impending closure of the Lorain County Forensics Laboratory was prompted when a bag of prescription drugs a county judge had ordered destroyed went missing. General Division Court Administrator Tim Lubbe said the final decision to shutter the Forensics Lab, where probationers are drug tested, was ultimately a financial one and not connected to the missing pills, which were later recovered and destroyed.

2014-01-21 | Medical examiner's unique technique helps ID desert dead
That experience led Hess and medicolegal death investigator Gene Hernandez to collaborate on a presentation detailing how they've refined a process their office performs again and again and again, steadily producing fingerprint that triggered 34 identifications in 2011-2012 alone.

2014-01-20 | The Cleanup of the Connecticut Forensic Science Lab Continues
Sitting behind the desk in his office at state headquarters in Middletown, just a few weeks away from retirement, state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) commissioner Reuben Bradford says he’ll be able to retire a little easier now that one problem he inherited is on its way to being stamped out by this year’s end: The Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory, which once had a case backlog skyrocketing into the thousands, hopes to wipe out that backlog in 2014.

2014-01-15 | Bad Directions Blamed for Denver Police DNA Errors
The scrambling of DNA samples from 11 Denver police burglary cases — which led prosecutors to dismiss charges against four people — was the result of faulty instructions from the manufacturer of a DNA-matching machine, police officials say.

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