High-Sensitivity DNA Analysis Questioned in New York

‘High-sensitivity’ DNA analysis, which amplifies extremely faint, sometimes second hand samples and can be made up of as little as 16 human cells, is being called into question in New York courts. The FBI refuses to use high-sensitivity DNA analysis, saying that it hasn’t “demonstrated the necessary reliability for use in forensic casework.” High-sensitivity DNA […]

Justice Department to review different areas of forensic science to see if experts overstate the reliability of results

The Justice Department will begin conducting a review to see if experts are overstating their confidence in different areas of forensic sciences. The concerns stem from previous problems with experts overstating the reliability of microscopic hair comparison analysis. The Justice Department has not identified any specific problems with any other area of forensic science, but […]

Justice Dept. to expand review of FBI forensic techniques in pattern based evidence

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced that the Justice Department will go further than reviewing forensic testimony in only hair analysis cases. The expanded class of cases will cover pattern-based evidence such as tracing the impressions that guns leave on bullets, shoe treads, fibers, soil and other crime-scene evidence. Sally Yates clarified that the review […]

Forensic Expert Claims to be Fired for Questioning DNA Method in New Lawsuit

A forensic expert, Marina Stajic, was laid off from the Forensic Toxicology Laboratory at the Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) last year. Stajic claims in her lawsuit that she was fired because she serves on the state’s Commission on Forensic Science. At a recent meeting, a vote was taken regarding the use of LCN testing. […]

Virginia Beach judge Allows Re-testing of Forensic Evidence

A Virginia Beach judge ruled yesterday to allow forensic testing on evidence collected in conjunction with a 1990 rape. The defendant, Darnell Phillips, was originally convicted in 1991 with the help of microscopic hair comparison analysis. Recently, it was found that the hair evidence excluded Phillips; that evidence has since been destroyed. A judge previously […]

Flawed Forensics & Innocence Symposium at WVU College of Law, March 3-4 2016

West Virginia University College of Law is hosting a symposium on Flawed Forensics & Innocence on March 3-4, 2016.  Scholars, journalists, and practitioners will be discussing the challenges of using forensic evidence in the courtroom; Radley Balko of the Washington Post will be the keynote speaker.  From the symposium webpage: The criminal justice system in the […]

Texas Forensic Science Commission recommends ban on bite-mark evidence

The Texas Forensic Science Commission is recommending a ban on bite-mark analysis in criminal cases due to the subjectivity and lack of reliability of this type of analysis. While the Commission cannot outright ban all bite-mark evidence, it would encourage judges to prohibit the use of bite-mark evidence in criminal trials. Such a move is unprecedented, […]

Massachusetts undertakes a review of problematic hair evidence in past convictions

George Perrot’s recent exoneration has prompted a review of other Massachusetts cases involving hair comparison analysis. George Perrot was recently released from prison after spending 30 years in jail for a crime he did not commit. Officials have not yet worked out the details on how the review will be carried out, but they have identified […]

The Constitutional Regulation of Forensic Evidence

Posted now on ssrn is a new essay, part of a Washington & Lee L. Rev. symposium on the Joseph Giarratano case.  Here is the abstract: The Constitution increasingly regulates the use of forensic evidence in criminal cases. This is a remarkable shift. In decades past, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to provide strong due […]