True Allele DNA Used for First Time in Exoneration

True Allele DNA, which focuses on DNA mixtures, was used to exonerate an Indiana man who was released from prison yesterday. This is the first time True Allele testing has resulted in an exoneration. The exoneree, Darryl Pinkins, had been convicted in a 1989 rape. The True Allele test revealed that Pinkins’ DNA was not found […]

Criminal Investigation Underway for Lab Technician Who Faked Results

Kamal Shah was removed from his position as a lab technician last December after he was observed faking results in a drug case. In February, the state Attorney General notified county prosecutors to alert defense attorneys in drug cases in which Shah’s work was used. This past Wednesday, Cynthia McSweeney, the highest ranking official at the […]

Harward Exonerated by DNA Evidence

Keith Allan Harward was released Friday, April 8th after being exonerated by DNA evidence. The Virginia Supreme Court declared Harward to be innocent the day prior. Harward was convicted in 1982, largely due to testimony by forensic odontologists who testified “to medical certainty” that Harward’s teeth imprints matched the bite marks on a rape victim. Harward’s […]

Blood-typing error alleged in wrongful conviction

The case of Keith Allan Harward (discussed earlier this week in this post) has presented a concern about the misuse of serology evidence. The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports: “a former forensic serologist identified a blood type in semen left at the crime scene that supported the innocence of Harward but was not reported in the serologist’s testimony […]

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 […]

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 […]

D.C. Crime Lab Reopens; Starts DNA Testing on Limited Basis

The D.C. crime lab was suspended from completing DNA analyses last April amid concerns of integrity and independence of the lab. A national accreditation group found the analysts at the lab were, “not competent and were using inadequate procedures.” The lab was originally opened 4 years ago and was touted as a lab independent from prosectors […]

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 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 […]