In The News


2017-04-10 | 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.

2017-04-07 | Austin to Pay Police Lab Leader to Resign, After 4 Months of Administrative Leave
Austin police officials hired a new chief forensics officer with a six-figure salary last fall to help resurrect the department’s troubled DNA lab, and he lasted less than a month.

2017-04-06 | Replacing Ninhydrin, Laser Scanning for Race: Two Forensic Philosophies at Albany
Two teams of scientists at the University at Albany are developing novel new tests that are intended to assist investigators quicker. Last month the two teams published separate studies in the same journal, Analytical Chemistry, a journal of the American Chemical Society.

2017-04-03 | Partial Palm Print Leads to Arrest in Unsolved 2011 Double Murder
Investigators had a key clue in the 2011 South Carolina killings of a mother and her 3-year-old daughter — a partial palm print in the girl’s blood. But it took six years of advances in crime solving technology to finally match that print to a suspect in the cold-case killings. Columbia police flew across the county to arrest Kenneth Canzater Jr. near his home in Perris, California, and charge him with murder, Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said Thursday.

2017-03-31 | Leading DNA scientist sacked, 27 criminal convictions in doubt, WA Attorney-General says
Mr Quigley said Mr Webb was sacked in August 2016 following an investigations by Path West, but the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) was not informed of the sacking until two days before Christmas. Mr Quigley, who became the state's Attorney-General two weeks ago, said he was only told on Monday this week. He described Mr Webb's sacking as a disaster that would have serious consequences. "This is as serious as it gets in the administration of criminal justice," he said.

2017-03-24 | Forensic errors trigger reviews of D.C. crime lab ballistics unit, prosecutors say
District crime lab officials are reviewing more than 150 firearm examinations for accuracy after the lab discovered errors by three D.C. forensic analysts who incorrectly matched bullets or shell casings recovered at crime scenes to individual weapons. The examinations date to at least August 2015, according to federal prosecutors in Washington and the three former ballistics examiners.

2017-03-23 | Fingerprints Move Over Months—Could They Be Aged?
Latent fingerprints have been the most consistent biometric identifier at crime scenes for a century, pre-dating the “gold standard” of DNA. But fingerprints are not set in stone—and can move miniscule distances weeks after they are left on certain surfaces, according to a new study in Forensic Science International. Although the new dynamic wrinkle to the trace evidence doesn’t appear to limit its identifying power, it could account for some of the matches that are not made in investigations, or through systems such as AFIS. But the potential to “age” fingerprints does exist in the future, contends the team, from Abertay University in Scotland.

2017-03-20 | Charges to be dropped against three after state forensics department loses evidence
Two Anniston men and an Oxford woman will have drug charges against them dropped after a state forensics lab lost evidence needed to prosecute them, officials said Friday. Calhoun County District Attorney Brian McVeigh received a letter by email from the Department of Forensic Sciences Director Michael Sparks on March 10 stating the evidence was missing.

2017-03-17 | Local Police Department Becomes First in U.S. to Use Rapid DNA Testing
This time, a lab isn't needed, dropping the cost of the project to $150,000. The box, called IntegenX RapidHIT ID, allows police to rapidly analyze DNA collected from inside a potential suspect's mouth to see if it matches DNA taken from crime scenes that Bensalem and 38 other police departments in the county are storing at the Bode Cellmark Forensics lab in Lorton, Virginia.

2017-03-16 | Harris County Officially Opens New State Of The Art Institute Of Forensic Sciences
Doctor Dwayne Wolf, deputy chief medical examiner at the HCIFS, explains that “about 11,000 deaths are reported to our office every year, of which we bring in 5,000 bodies for examination, either for autopsy or external examination.”

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