Month November 2015

NYTimes: New Technique Can Classify a Fingerprint as Male or Female

The test involves measuring the amount of amino acids found in the fingerprint. Levels of amino acids are twice as high in sweat of women compared to men.

Cold Case murder conviction did not violate the Confrontation Clause by admitting an autopsy report without testimony from the pathologist

In 2013, defendant James L. Mayfield was convicted of the murder of Jenny  Read in a 1976 cold case in San Francisco. Read’s body was found with multiple stab wounds and her pants partially removed. There was the presence of… Continue Reading →

Washington man could be exonerated murder conviction due to DNA testing

Donovan Allen was arrested and charged with murdering his mother Sharon Cox in 2000. After 14 hours of interrogation by the police, he confessed to the crime and later recanted. He was convicted of first degree murder and given a… Continue Reading →

DC considers changing the standard for screening out unreliable science

The DC court currently operates under a Frye standard for expert testimony, which requires that a methodology or theory has “general acceptance” in the particular field. The DC Court of Appeals is considering a new standard, possibly the Daubert standard, which… Continue Reading →

“Transfer DNA” can cause a person’s DNA to show up at a crime scene where they were never present.

“Touch DNA” can often show if a person handled a particular item at a scene of crime. Touch DNA occurs when a person deposits particles of DNA from their skin onto an object that they have touched. However, there can… Continue Reading →

Appellant denied post-conviction DNA testing due to a lack of factual assertions in his petition

In 2009, Pedro Trejo was convicted of sexually assaulting his niece who was 12 years old at the time of the crime. He was accused after his niece got pregnant and subsequently suffered a miscarriage. The tissue form the miscarriage… Continue Reading →

Man convicted of rape uses 1983 suit to try to get DNA testing in his case

William Ray Jacobs was convicted by jury trial of aggravated sexual assault in 1997. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Jacobs failed to get relief from his conviction through appellate and habeas proceedings, and in these proceedings, the state contended… Continue Reading →

The Dookhan Mess

The Boston Globe describes why the Massachusetts drug-lab mess persists.  “Incredibly, more than four years after Dookhan’s crimes were first uncovered… Thousands of those whose lives were affected haven’t been notified of their rights, including the possibility of a new… Continue Reading →

Researchers in Genomics hope to be able to recreate a person’s physical characteristics based on a DNA sample

Currently, DNA profiles only provide certain markers of identity in a graph-like format but tell little about the suspect himself. Researchers in Genomics hope to be able to tell criminal investigators physical characteristics and traits of suspects based on their… Continue Reading →

Houston Lab Introduces Blind Quality Controls for Toxicology

Last year, city officials officially closed the Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory and created in its place an independent forensic lab called the Houston Forensic Science Center.  The new lab caused quite a stir at national meetings in Washington recently… Continue Reading →

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