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Circadian Rhythm Could Help Determine Post-Mortem Interval

January 5, 2016 12:53 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

The research team analyzed the brains of 146 people whose specific time of death was known. They zoomed in on the prefrontal cortex, and found 235 core genes that make up the “molecular clock.”

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Lifting 800-Year-Old Prints from Medieval Wax Seals

January 5, 2016 10:57 am | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

Over 800 years later, the seals are providing scientists with valuable statistical information about fingerprinting techniques, and how fingerprints might change over time.

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Monday's Briefing: 01/04/16

January 4, 2016 1:03 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

What you might have missed, and what you’ll want to know to get you through the work week.

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Petitions to Pardon Netflix’s ‘Making a Murderer’ Inmate Draw Nearly 200K Signatures

January 4, 2016 12:49 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

Now nearly 200,000 people have signed petitions asking for a pardon for Avery, who is currently serving life in prison, and are the latest in “court of public opinion” movements aiming to affect the legal outcome of criminal cases.

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Bill Cosby charged with sexual assault before statute of limitations expires

December 31, 2015 10:47 am | Comments

Bill Cosby has been accused in the court of public opinion for years with drugging and sexually assaulting a number of women over his decades of stardom. But none of those accusations resulted in charges – until now.

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Virginia man fully pardoned of childrens' arson murders after 21 years behind bars

December 30, 2015 11:37 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

A Virginia man who served 21 years behind bars after being convicted of intentionally setting a fire that killed his two children was fully pardoned by the governor last week. Davey Reedy’s attorney and other experts claim flawed arson forensic science put the innocent man in prison for two life sentences – and could have resulted in other wrongful convictions.

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Cleveland cops cleared in shooting of 12-year-old boy, as prosecutors pledge transparency

December 29, 2015 1:53 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

A 12-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun was shot to death by a rookie cop outside a recreation center in Cleveland in November 2014. But a grand jury declined to indict the two officers at the scene of the child’s shooting death. Prosecutors who announced the finding conceded mistakes were made – the latest attempt by authorities in the U.S. to explain what went wrong in a police-involved fatal shooting of an African-American.

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Letter to the Editor: Photograph of Robert Johnson a Hoax

December 24, 2015 12:33 pm | by Bruce Conforth | Comments

A letter by a blues historian refuting the claim that an alleged 80-year-old photograph depicts the famed bluesman Robert Johnson.

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Emerging Challenges in Digital Forensics

December 24, 2015 9:10 am | by Sundar Narayanan | Comments

Enabling investigations through technology and gathering technological evidence has become more critical today than in the past decade. While a number of software tools for conducting investigations and gathering technology-oriented evidence have emerged, challenges still remain.

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Entomological Evidence: Insects at the Crime Scene

December 24, 2015 9:05 am | by Dick Warrington | Comments

Forensic entomology involves the study of insects in connection with a legal case. While this science may be used for a number of purposes, such as in rape and abuse cases and automobile accident analysis, the most common use is in death scene investigations.

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Reconstructing the ‘Jigsaw Murders’

December 23, 2015 3:00 pm | by Dolly Stolze | Comments

Because the killer had so meticulously removed all distinguishing characteristics from the body parts and what was left was so severely decayed, forensic experts had to rely on new forensic techniques to identify the victims, and bring the killer to justice.

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Forensic Radiology and the Medical Examiner

December 23, 2015 2:18 pm | by Judy Melinek | Comments

Forensic Magazine columnist Judy Melinek discusses forensic radiology, and a particularly peculiar case, in her latest column, called "How I learned to stop worrying and love the virtual autopsy."

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Going Beyond CODIS: The Illusion of Rape-Kit Testing as Panacea

December 23, 2015 2:06 pm | by Rockne Harmon | Comments

The FBI has always tracked the apparent success of the national DNA database by its own criterion, but there is little information about whether or not those matches led to anyone actually being held accountable for the crimes committed.

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Oregon Audit: A Detailed Look at a Growing Backlog

December 23, 2015 1:04 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

Released on Tuesday, the audit highlighted some of the obstacles lab directors are facing—namely requests for testing have significantly increased, and will likely continue to do so, while the numbers of laboratory staff have effectively remained the same.

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Ruling on DNA-Mixture Analysis Could Set Precedent in Michigan

December 23, 2015 12:28 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

A Michigan judge has decided a DNA-mixture analysis software program can be used in an armed-robbery trial, a ruling that might set the precedent for such cases in the future. 

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