Federal Court in the Eastern District of Virginia Denies Defendant Relief Based on Hair Comparison Testimony

Defendant Gary D’Angelo McDuffie was convicted of charges including bank and post office robbery in a 1999 trial. McDuffie argued that an expert’s testimony regarding hair comparison analysis violates the standards set by the FBI and the Innocence Project in 2012. He was denied relief because he failed to demonstrate that “the evidence would probably result in […]

Crime Lab in Houston to Revise Its Policies Following Multiple Incidents of Evidence Contamination

The Houston Forensic Science Center will review its policies after three separate incidents where evidence samples were contaminated. The actual results of the tests in the three incidents were not affected because there were other uncontaminated samples that were testable. However, these incidents prompted officials to review the lab’s quality control.  “In addition to suggesting policy […]

Three Books that Examine Flawed Forensics

Professor Brandon Garrett of UVA Law recently wrote a book review of three new books that explore the extent to which flawed forensics have affected the criminal justice system. These books range from discussing the crisis in Harris County, Texas (Cops in Lab Coats: Curbing Wrongful Convictions through Independent Forensic Laboratories, Sandra Guerra Thompson), the systematic […]

Washington Post examines three junk forensic science cases

The first case involves 81-year-old Han Tak Lee, who had spent 24 years in prison wrongfully convicted of murder and arson based on faulty forensic theories about arson. After his release, he remains bitter and suspicious of others. He struggles to get by because there are no laws in Pennsylvania regarding compensating wrongful conviction exonerees. […]

Jurors reject claims to hold officials accountable for the Dookhan scandal

Annie Dookhan, a former drug chemist for a Massachusetts crime lab, is potentially connected to thousands of cases that may have been mishandled. In 2013, pled guilty to tampering with evidence and was sentenced to three to five years in prison, but Massachusetts is still handling the fallout from her crime. More than 500 defendants have been […]

Washington lawmakers aim to introduce electronic tracking on rape kit testing

Lawmakers in Washington have introduced a bill that would have a bar code for each rape kit and allow victims to electronically track the progress of the rape kit testing. Approximately 6000 rape kits had gone untested in Washington state, and this bill aims to unsure that such a backlog does not occur again. Many […]

Virginia man cleared by DNA in 1982 rape and murder case that had been based on bite mark evidence

Keith Hayward, age 59, has spent 33 years in prison due to a wrongful conviction of raping a woman then murdering her husband. The surviving victim stated that the attacker held a diaper over her head as he raped her and that he bit at her legs as her husband laid next to her dying. […]

Science on CSafe

Today, Science discusses CSafe’s efforts to undo “a legacy of junk science in the courtroom,” including to “collaborate with NIST statisticians to develop statistical methods that describe … how many fingerprints other than the suspect’s might have left a similar pattern on a murder weapon.”  The piece also discusses efforts to improve the communication of forensic […]

New Jersey Crime Lab Tech Suspended For Falsifying Test Results

A New Jersey crime lab technician, Kamalkant Shah, was suspended this last week after discovering that he had written results of a test, before the test was completed. PINAC reports, “Shah was found to be taking inordinate amount of time testing a substance to determine if it was marijuana, then prematurely completing test results prior to the […]