Month January 2016

NIJ Journal: Fighting Crime with Science

The National Institute of Justice wrote in its most recent journal about research and developmental projects used to improve forensic science disciplines. These efforts include: studying drugs at electronic music festivals and using this information to understand how people are modifying… Continue Reading →

DNA Collected Upon Arrest Solves Cold Case

Todd M. Richardson of Lebanon, Indiana was arrested in October in connection a suspicion of stalking. His DNA was collected upon arrest and the Indiana State Police Laboratory matched it to a 1990 rape case. He was arrested yesterday in connection… Continue Reading →

Nebraska Debates Collection of DNA Upon Arrest

State Sen. Bob Hilkemann introduced Legislative Bill 1054 that would allow for collection of a suspect’s DNA upon arrest for specific felonies. The bill lists out 17 violent felonies, as well as burglary and robbery. State Sen. Ernie Chambers expressed… Continue Reading →

Decision in Commonwealth v. Perrot

Here is a pdf of the recent decision granting a new trial based on hair microscopy testimony that “exceeded scientific standards” – MTN Decision

Massachusetts judge overturns 24-year-old rape conviction based on hair testimony that would not be admissible today

Defendant George D. Perrot has been in jail for the past 30 years, serving two concurrent life sentences for a rape. Both Perrot and the victim of the crime have repeatedly asserted that Perrot was not the man who committed… Continue Reading →

Williams v. U.S. Opinion

The concurring opinion in Williams v. U.S., 2016— A.3d —-2016 WL 275301 (D.C. Ct. App. Jan. 21, 2016) is now available.  Below are excerpts: EASTERLY, Associate Judge, concurring: In our adversarial system, we do not expect trial courts to “recognize on… Continue Reading →

D.C. Court of Appeals Opinion on “Alarming” Presentation of Ballistics

Despite a 2009 policy barring such “absolute” conclusions about ballistics, in the Marlon Williams trial in 2010, a D.C. police analyst testified: “Those markings are unique to that gun and that gun only,” and that gun “fired these three bullets.”  Spenser… Continue Reading →

D.C. Court of Appeal Judge Faults Overstated Gun-Match Claims

The Washington Post reported on the recent opinion issued by the D.C. Court of Appeals, in which in the concurring opinion Judge Catharine Easterly wrote about the dangers of overstating claims that “forensic experts can match a bullet or shell… Continue Reading →

“Persistent Forensics Lab Problems Undermine Faith in Our Criminal Justice System”

While scientific evidence is often very compelling and can be a prosecutor’s “ace-in-the-hole,” the justice system needs to be on guard for experts who fabricate results, use shoddy testing techniques, or testify outside their areas of expertise. Recent problems with… Continue Reading →

Link of Witness Misidentifications to DNA Exonerations Leads to Eyewitness Identification Reform Act

In Miami,  nine of the past twelve exonerations of a convicted person relied heavily on witness identification. This has led legislators and defense attorneys to agree that most DNA exonerations involve faulty suspect identifications. As a result, Miami legislators have introduced the Eyewitness… Continue Reading →

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