Virginia Governor Grants Pardon Citing Flawed Forensics

Governor Terry McAuliffe pardoned Davey Reedy last week. Reedy was convicted for the 1987 arson of his home that resulted in the death of his two children. Reedy was released from prison in 2009. Since his conviction, defense attorneys were able to show that there was no evidence that there was gasoline on Reedy’s shirt, as asserted […]

10-year anniversary of Virginia’s Post-Conviction DNA Testing Program

Since the program began on December 14, 2005, the program has led to the exoneration of five wrongfully convicted defendants, as well as identifying suspects in many of those cases. Approximately 534,000 cases have been searched to determine if there was testable material, with 900 naming a suspect for which DNA testing could be performed. […]

Defense attorneys question the impartiality of Michigan crime labs in marijuana cases

Michigan defense attorneys are asking the National Institute of Justice and the institute’s Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences to investigate whether the Michigan State Police (MSP) has compromised testing in marijuana cases. The defense attorneys allege that the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan (PAAM) influences the crime labs such that the testing is no longer […]

Digital Forensics Market Set to Rise 12.5% Annually in Coming Years

A new report released by Transparency Market Research projects that the digital forensic market will continue to rise by 12.5% annually for the next six years. This rise would make the digital forensic market a $4.97 billion industry by 2021. The market was estimated to be valued $2.03 billion in 2014. The report anticipates this growth […]

Forensic Medicine Used to Convict for Moral Crimes In Tunisia

Zied Mhirsi, in an opinion article published in Tunisia Live, writes on the use of forensic medicine to convict individuals for moral crimes. These crimes include sodomy, sexual activity outside of marriage, and cannabis use. Specifically, vaginal exams and DNA testing are used to “prove” consensual sexual activity of adults outside of marriage; Mhirsi doubts that […]

DNA from Straw and Fingerprint from Cup lead to Robber’s Arrest

Prosecutors say that Edward Bowen committed three robberies last year. In the second robbery, prosecutors say that Bowen drank a beverage from a straw and cup near the crime scene, and DNA from that straw and fingerprints on that cup linked Bowen to the crime. Bowen’s DNA was in the database from an assault conviction […]

Opinion: Is Forensic Reform Getting it Right?

This past Wednesday, Radley Balko questioned whether forensic science reform is heading in the right direction. Among his concerns lies the lingering problems of a judge in a criminal proceeding being the gatekeeper of expert testimony and cognitive bias that is a product of crime labs reporting to police departments and prosecutors. Read the entire article, here.

Texas Scrutiny of Bite Mark Evidence

The New York Times reports today on the Texas Forensic Science Commission’s inquiry into the use of bite mark evidence in criminal cases – including review of old cases – and development of “guidelines on whether bite-mark comparisons should have any role in the courtroom.”  The Commission’s recommendations are expected in February 2016.  Steven Mark […]

A Constitutional Debate on Collecting DNA At Arrest in Georgia

Prosecutors in Georgia are pushing lawmakers to pass an initiative that would allow for the collection of DNA at individuals’ arrests, as opposed to after convictions. The prosecutors believe that this practice would be in line with Supreme Court decisions that allow for collection of DNA within the Fourth Amendment, specifically the holding in Maryland […]