City of Tulsa Will Not Audit Cases of Former Lab Analyst Accused of Lying

Following a civil settlement awarding $8 million to Sedrick Courtney, a man convicted of robbery but later exonerated by DNA evidence, the city of Tulsa announced that it will not audit all of the cases worked on by Carol Cox, a lab analyst accused of lying in Courtney’s case to obtain a conviction.

New Jersey Superior Court refuses to overturn conviction that involved bitemark testimony

In State v. Fortin, the court ruled that the testimony of expert Dr. Adam Freeman was permissible, denying the defendant’s argument that his testimony was based on an unreliable database of information. The database was information Dr. Freeman had collected through survey responses from a number of experts in bitemark evidence. “The survey requested information on […]

DNA and Strong Hunch Connect Serial Rapist to 1986 Abduction

A retired detective, Sgt. John Laurie, worked on an abduction case of a first-grade boy in Los Angeles in 1986. Recently, he recognized a suspect from the case on the news. He then called the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s cold case unit. The unit was able to test DNA evidence collected in 1986 with the suspect’s sample, revealing […]

New Study on Lay Understanding of Forensic Statistics

Bill Thompson and Eryn Newman (both from UC Irvine’s Department of Criminology, Law and Society) have posted an interesting new study to SSRN. Here is the study’s abstract: Forensic scientists have come under increasing pressure to quantify the strength of their evidence, but it is not clear which of several possible formats for presenting quantitative […]

Federal habeas proceeding in Holland v. Lackner determines that the failure of DNA analysts to testify in a rape case was harmless error under the Confrontation Clause

In 2007, petitioner Holland voluntarily provided a DNA sample to law enforcement officials to help them investigate a crime in which petitioner’s brother was a suspect. Holland was thereby connected to a 2001 sexual assault cold case. The victim was an elderly woman who had since passed away. She had reported the forced oral sex […]

23andMe Releases Transparency Report, Discloses Police Requests for DNA

23andMe released a Transparency Report disclosing requests by police departments for DNA data from 23andMe customers. The Report breaks down the data by geographical region and reports whether the DNA data was provided by 23andMe. At this point, only four requests have been made for five customers and 23andMe has not turned over any DNA information. This Transparency Report […]

New ways of interpreting DNA tests could lead to the re-investigation of hundreds of cases.

After the FBI revised protocols and statistics for DNA testing, there could be hundreds of cases that will be called into question in Williamson and Travis counties. Law enforcement officials are particularly concerned about samples where there is potentially “mixed” DNA from two or more individuals.