DOJ proposed to create and Office of Forensic Science and Forensic Science Board within the Department

“The mission of the Office of Forensic Science is to strengthen and promote the use of forensic science within the judicial system by supporting forensic science service providers, as they continually improve the validity, quality, and practice of forensic science through innovative solutions that focus on research and development, testing and evaluation, technology, information exchange, training and capacity building […]

OSAC will be streaming discussions on forensic sciences online Feb 13-14

There will be free live webcast of the Public Status Reports & Open Discussion meetings of the Organization of Scientific Area Committee for Forensic Science (OSAC). These meetings will take place in New Orleans, LA, beginning at 8am CST on February 13-14, 2017, as part of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) annual meeting. Register […]

Obama neglects to implement PCAST’s recommendations for forensic science reform

In September, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology issued a report recommending that courts stop using pattern matching forensic science until there can be scientific verification of the techniques. Included in pattern matching techniques are ballistics comparison, bite-mark identification and fingerprint identification techniques. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has refused to implement the […]

Federal District Court of Northern Michigan denies habeas relief to defendant alleging mistaken blood-typing testimony

Karl Vinson was convicted in 1986 for breaking and entering as well as raping a nine-year-old child. The victim had positively identified Vinson as her attacker and knew Vinson prior to the attack. No evidence was presented that demonstrated any reason for the victim to lie about her identification. Vinson also produced evidence of an […]

National Institute of Standards and Technology’s conference on technology held in November is now online

Jules Epstein, a professor and the director of advocacy programs at the Temple University Beasley School of Law and a member of the National Commission on Forensic Science, was the keynote speaker for the conference and called on both scientists and legal professionals to change their practices regarding forensic science in order to avoid miscarriages […]

Travis County judges sign letter calling for Austin to open an independent DNA lab that is separate from the police department

Earlier this year, an audit was highly critical of the Austin Police Department DNA lab, alleging that researchers were not following the manufacturer’s instructions while using a certain lab chemical, were using outdated and unreliable techniques, and had contaminated a sample in at least one sexual assault case. The lab has since closed and Travis […]

Single-source DNA is currently the only forensic science that is valid, foundationally as well as applied

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) recently released a report calling attention to serious problems in the area of forensic science currently used in courtrooms. Jessica Cino, a law professor at Georgia State University in the area of forensic science, explained the two types of validity that a forensic science should […]

Professor Garrett suggests potential ground rules to address convictions that result from unreliable forensic evidence

Other than DNA testing, almost all of the currently used forensic sciences have not been rigorously tested and supported by scientific principles. In spite of this, prosecutors and judges continue to allow forensic experts to testify based on sciences that may later prove to be unreliable. When hair comparison analysis was found to be unreliable […]

Defendant whose conviction was thrown out as a result of the Dookhan drug lab scandal will not get refunded for court fees and probation costs

A man whose conviction was thrown out amidst the Dookhan drug lab scandal was not able to recover court costs and probation fees. Because the case was sent for retrial and  dismissed, rather than being overturned on appeal, he cannot get the court costs refunded. The court also determined that because probation fees were paying […]

Supreme Judicial Court questions whether to provide a blanket dismissal to the 24,000 convictions in which Dookhan was involved

The Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts is grappling whether a blanket dismissal its warranted for all of the approximately 24,000 convictions in which former drug chemist Annie Dookhan was involved. Defense attorneys, joined by attorneys from the ACLU of Massachusetts, argued that remedies for potentially affected defendants have been slow and ineffective. Additionally, evaluating each […]