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2017-05-01 | Baton Rouge DA, Innocence Project tangle over missing evidence in rape case
Roy Morgan was convicted and sentenced to life in 1983 for rape of a victim identified only as L.H. In an application for post-conviction relief, attorneys with The Innocence Project New Orleans wrote that Morgan has always denied committing the rape and that "the only direct evidence of his guilt was a single eyewitness identification by the victim." In 2010, Morgan asked the court to submit various evidence for DNA testing, which wasn't available when his case was first considered by the court. Specific evidence he wanted tested includes the rapist's sunglasses knocked off in a struggle, blood left at the crime scene from a cut on the assailant's arm, the victim's bed sheets, which could be tested for blood and semen, and the results from a sexual assault kit collected at a hospital. The 19th Judicial District Court denied Morgan's request because the evidence could not be located for testing, his request states.

2017-05-01 | PathWest DNA mix-up: Investigation launched after wrong man convicted
The man was arrested in 2004, aged in his early 20s, after DNA found at the scene of a home invasion According to the Government, the man initially protested his innocence before pleading guilty on the advice of his lawyer, who told him he would not be believed. He received a suspended jail sentence and spent over a decade with a criminal record.ion was incorrectly identified as his. The DNA apparently belonged to someone with the same name as the man and a laboratory worker mixed them up.

2017-04-30 | State opens investigation into Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office
The investigation follows revelations last month through court records of infighting between Spokane police and Spokane County prosecutors about how to proceed with charges in connection with the 2012 death of 20-year-old Kala Williams. Howard determined five years ago that Williams’ cause of death was undetermined despite court records indicating that she had defensive wounds and was cut in half.

2017-04-21 | Sons of man executed for Lake Waco Murders sue Texas
“The State of Texas, by and through its employees, agents, and representatives withheld evidence, destroyed evidence, coerced untruthful confessions, utilized junk science, bribed witnesses, fraudulently concealed the foregoing and knowingly convicted not one, but four individuals," argues the lawsuit, which was filed in Travis County District Court. Brothers Gilbert and Anthony Melendez took plea bargains in the case. But, the lawsuit claims their confessions were coerced, untrue and have since been recanted. Muneer Deeb, who prosecutors painted as the mastermind was found "not guilty" after initially being sentenced to death.

2017-04-18 | Court Ordered Deadline Today for Thousands of Mass. Drug Cases in Dookhan Scandal
Editor's Note: A total of 21,587 drug cases have now been highlighted for dismissal by Massachusetts’ district attorneys, according to the state’s chapter of the ACLU. Today, the 11 district attorneys in Massachusetts face a daunting deadline: they are to weigh in on thousands of drug convictions that were tainted by a “laboratory scandal of unprecedented magnitude.” The state’s Supreme Court ruled in January that all cases on which disgraced forensic scientist Annie Dookhan worked had to be reconsidered by April 18, 2017. The staggering load is 21,587 drug cases which are now poised for dismissal, according to the state's chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union, which spearheaded the challenge of the Dookhan cases.

2017-04-18 | Now who will push ahead on validating forensic science disciplines?
During recent years, though, problems with some aspects of forensic science have come to light. Examples include false convictions based on faulty fire scene and burn pattern analysis and on bite mark analysis, incorrect fingerprint identification and instances of misconduct in forensic labs. Recognizing these shortcoming has led to various efforts to propel forensic science forward, helping us recognize which parts of it are scientifically valid, which parts aren’t and where more research must be done.

2017-04-14 | Sessions orders Justice Dept. to end forensic science commission, suspend review policy
Attorney General Jeff Sessions will end a Justice Department partnership with independent scientists to raise forensic science standards and has suspended an expanded review of FBI testimony across several techniques that have come under question, saying a new strategy will be set by an in-house team of law enforcement advisers. In a statement Monday, Sessions said he would not renew the National Commission on Forensic Science, a roughly 30-member advisory panel of scientists, judges, crime lab leaders, prosecutors and defense lawyers chartered by the Obama administration in 2013.

2017-04-12 | Eyewitness Confidence Can Predict Accuracy of Identifications, Researchers Find
Many individuals have been falsely accused of a crime based, at least in part, on confident eyewitness identifications, a fact that has bred distrust of eyewitness confidence in the U.S. legal system. But a new report challenges the perception that eyewitness memory is inherently fallible, finding that eyewitness confidence can reliably indicate the accuracy of an identification made under certain, "pristine" conditions.

2017-04-12 | Houston Forensic Center Reports 65 Case Errors by HPD Officer
Sixty-five case report errors by a Houston Police Department officer, including in 26 homicide cases and five officer-involved shootings, were reported to the Texas Forensic Science Commission today by the Houston Forensic Science Center, the city’s civilian-run crime lab. A recent audit of 88 cases handled by the officer, spurred by concerns from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office over the officer’s handling of two crime scenes, found a total of 65 case reports with incomplete documentation, 32 with administrative errors and eight instances of misplaced evidence, according to an HFSC press release and the audit report.

2017-04-10 | Fingerprint challenge aims to automate how best prints get taken
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) has launched a challenge that pits security companies and research groups against each other, in a bid to build a device that accurately captures every part of a fingerprint. This “nail-to-nail” scan covers the whole fingertip, from one side of a fingernail to the other. The larger the area captured, the more useful it is. A bigger print gives police officers more chance to match a partial print found at a crime scene, for example. So nail to nail is the gold standard. But capturing prints like this is time-consuming and labour-intensive, says Chris Boehnen at IARPA, who is managing the contest.

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