An inside look into one of the most expensive, progressive, and controversial crime labs ever built.
It’s a typical summer day in southwest Louisiana. The air is spongy with heat as alligators sun themselves lazily along the lakes and bayous of Lake Charles. But, the city was a frightening place to be a woman from late 2002 through the summer of 2003. Five bodies had been found raped, murdered and dumped in the swamps between Lafayette and Baton Rouge.
Forensic Magazine sat down with ASCLD president Brady Mills to discuss the recent controversies with crime-lab forensic science like the stunning admission that the FBI will review thousands of criminal cases because of flawed microscopic hair evidence, and to look ahead at the future of DNA sequencing technology.
Amounts as small as 10 picograms were detected – a level which is equivalent to the weight of a human cell
Thousands of criminal cases are being reopened, because the original investigations were performed by officers now accused of swapping racist and homophobic text messages. A group of jail guards allegedly forced inmates to fight each other while they gambled on the brawls. And the flawed DNA work at a police lab is also under the microscope.
Police Commissioner William Evans sat down with Forensic Magazine to talk about the state of policing in the wake of the recent riots in Baltimore, and what needs to happen to bridge the gap between inner-city communities and the men and women who protect them.
The Kenya Wildlife Service is scheduled to formally commission a new forensic and genetic laboratory on Friday – a long-planned facility costing millions, which is expected to help turn the tide against the wave of illegal poaching.
A part of the PATRIOT Act used to justify the bulk data collection of phone records by the National Security Agency was deemed illegal by a unanimous federal appeals court. The decision comes as parts of the law allowing the massive, secret program are due to expire – and as the House of Representatives is considering whether to extend them.
Rapid DNA testing reached a new milestone, with the Arizona DPS becoming the first accredited lab to upload DNA profiles using the quicker system to the National DNA Index System, the national database run by the FBI.
Just days before his resignation last week, Dr. Max Houck appeared stalwart and refined welcoming a small group of crime-lab enthusiasts for what would probably be the last tour he ever hosted as director of the Consolidated Forensic Laboratory in Washington D.C.
Unfortunately, many companies have entered the cloud without first checking the weather. Cloud services have skyrocketed primarily because they’re cheaper and more convenient than the alternative. What happens if the cloud gets stormy, you suffer a breach, and you find yourself in the position of having to conduct digital forensics? What now?
But not every case that gets overturned necessarily means the person is innocent, warn some crime-lab experts. A group of them is now publishing “The Innocence Audit” – an investigation of exonerations which may have overturned valid criminal procedures.
Digital forensic investigators can now extract information from a Sony PlayStation 4 console using a method developed by researchers in Australia. That research explored the Web browsing and communication features of game consoles, which could be sources of evidence in criminal cases.
The black-box recorder showed that 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz performed a minute-long, sustained descent on an earlier flight from Dusseldorf to Barcelona, as first reported by the German newspaper Bild.
Footwear and tire track evidence can be essential to your case, but it’s often overlooked. In some cases, officers identify the evidence but figure they can’t do anything with it. This is especially true when you have extreme weather or difficult surfaces. Those situations present more of a challenge, but you can still get the job done.