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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.

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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Data Encryption: A Growing Concern in Mobile Forensics

December 22, 2015 4:51 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

With the emergence of the smartphone and its role in everyday life, recent legal challenges have emerged in digital forensics, particularly with data encryption, and specifically with Apple technology.

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Considering Copernicus

December 22, 2015 4:32 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

Highly degraded DNA samples uncover the truth about the famed Polish astronomer.

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Crime and Conservation: A Conversation With Meredith Gore

December 22, 2015 3:09 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

Veterinary forensics has been growing in popularity in recent years especially in areas where the black-market trade of animal products may be funding illegal organizations. Some law enforcement officials fear the lucrative animal trade—like the ivory trade—may even be helping terror groups fund dangerous operations all over the world.

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Wildlife DNA: Veterinary Forensic Lab Examines Crimes Against Animals

December 22, 2015 2:31 pm | by Ginger Clark and Jason H. Byrd | Comments

DNA can point definitively to the perpetrator of a crime or release a prisoner falsely accused. But, what is not so well known is that these same techniques can be used to solve crimes against or involving animals, both domestic and in the wild.

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Initial Eyewitness Confidence in IDs Could Be Crucial in Determining Accuracy

December 22, 2015 11:51 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

Eyewitness identifications have become better scrutinized as reliable evidence – but the initial confidence factor needs to be considered as a better way to point an investigation.

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No Indictments in the Death of Sandra Bland

December 22, 2015 11:32 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

A grand jury has now decided against indicting anyone at the jail or in the Waller County Sheriff’s Office in connection with Bland’s death – though Bland’s family and others still maintain it was law enforcement involvement that resulted in her death.

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New ‘X-Ray Vision’ Device Tracks People Through Walls

December 22, 2015 11:14 am | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Comments

Imagine an app on a device similar to a cell phone that police could use to track the exact location of hostage-takers inside a building, during a stand-off situation, while standing safely outside. With new radio-wave technology created by researchers at MIT, this “x-ray vision” compatibility might soon become a reality.

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