Maryland scraps gun “fingerprint” database after 15 failed years

“Since 2000, the state required that gun manufacturers fire every handgun to be sold here and send the spent bullet casing to authorities. The idea was to build a database of “ballistic fingerprints” to help solve future crimes.” The system was plagued by technological difficulties and failed to solve a single case. The system cost […]

Delay in Omaha Rape Case Leads to Internal Investigations

A 16-year-old girl was raped at a party and again at her “rescuer’s” home on February 15, 2014. An investigation quickly followed after the victim arrived at the hospital, clearly drugged and battered. Police were able to obtain an eyewitness who confirmed that two men had raped the victim. Nonetheless, the perpetrators were not arrested until January […]

From NY Times: Private Businesswomen Team Up to Get Rape Kits Tested

Detroit is one of the many jurisdictions with a backlog of untested rape kits. Businesswomen in Detroit, learning about the backlog, quickly rallied around the cause and formed a private organization, Enough SAID (Sexual Assault in Detroit) to fundraise privately, and also seek out grants from the government. Significant progress has been made to reduce […]

Online Symposium on New Books in Forensics: Cops in Lab Coats

Yesterday we featured Valena Beety’s review of Sandra Guerra Thompson’s new book.  Below are some of my reactions to a central narrative in the book. “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”  The actual line was in past tense, says NASA astronaut James Lovell from the hair-raising Apollo 13 mission, in which improvisation and ingenuity dramatically […]

New Books in Forensics: Cops in Lab Coats, Reviewed by Valena Beety

Professor Sandra Guerra Thompson has written a timely book addressing forensic reform in our legal system, Cops in Lab Coats: Curbing Wrongful Convictions Through Independent Forensic Laboratories. The Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law is publishing my book review of Cops in Lab Coats next Spring, and I am delighted to share excerpts from the […]

Forensic Psychologist Evaluates Driver of OSU Homecoming Crash

Adacia Chambers has been charged with four counts of second-degree murder in conjunction with driving into a crowd of people at the Oklahoma State University Homecoming parade. A forensic psychologist evaluated Chambers in prison and found that she exhibited signs of “severe mental illness.”

Oklahoma continues to defend crime lab analyst whose testimony has led to two wrongful convictions

Last week, the city of Tulsa agreed to compensate Sedrick Courtney $8 million for the 15 years he spent in prison after a wrongful conviction for robbery. He was convicted based upon a mistaken eyewitness identification and the testimony of a crime lab technician who claimed a bleached red hair that was found on a […]