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Florida Inmate Still on Death Row Despite DNA Exoneration

July 17, 2014 1:30 pm | by Letitia Stein, Reuters | Comments

From his cell on Florida's death row, Paul Hildwin has spent 28 years fighting for his life, waiting between cancer treatments for the state to acknowledge decade-old DNA evidence supporting his claims of innocence.         

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Synthetic Marijuana, No Longer Similar to Marijuana

July 17, 2014 1:05 pm | by Ben Wallace, The Advocate | Comments

Synthetic marijuana — different chemical blends first created in the 2000s to mimic the effects of marijuana — is nothing like its namesake anymore. While original versions had effects on users similar to marijuana, these newer forms of synthetic cannabinoids have wildly different, often much more dangerous effects on users.

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NIST Names Members of Forensic Science Resource Committees

July 16, 2014 2:39 pm | by NIST | Comments

An initiative to strengthen and bring uniformity to forensic science standards took another step forward recently as the National Institute of Standards and Technology appointed 35 new members to the Organization for Scientific Area Committees.   

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Texas Woman who Sent Ricin Gets 18 Years in Prison

July 16, 2014 2:29 pm | by Jamie Stengle, Associated Press | Comments

A Texas actress who sent ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and the New York mayor then tried to blame the crime on her soon-to-be ex-husband was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Wednesday.             

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Autopsies Inconclusive in Oklahoma Family's Deaths

July 16, 2014 2:18 pm | by Associated Press | Comments

Autopsy results were inconclusive for a family whose remains were found by hunters in a wooded area four years after they disappeared in rural Oklahoma, the state Medical Examiner's Office said.               

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Investigators Blast Justice Dept's Handling of FBI Crime Lab Problems

July 16, 2014 1:48 pm | by Michael Doyle, McClatchy DC | Comments

Investigators on Wednesday sharply criticized the Justice Department’s handling of old FBI crime lab problems. In a sweeping, 138-page report, the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General cited “serious deficiencies” in the work of the task force assigned in 1996 to follow up on potentially troublesome crime lab cases.

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Bigfoot and Yeti, Still a Mystery

July 15, 2014 2:36 pm | by Rachel Nuwer, The New York Times | Comments

Legends of mysterious part-human creatures have circulated for centuries, and those stories persist today in cultures around the world, from Yeti in the Himalayas to the Almas, or “wild man” in Central Asia to Sasquatch, a.k.a. Bigfoot, in North America. Now a research team has performed the first rigorous genetic analysis of three dozen hair samples that their collectors claimed came from such undiscovered, living humanoids.

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Integrating LIMS and Evidence Management

July 15, 2014 2:24 pm | by Robert Galvin, Officer.com | Comments

Automating the forensic lab is crucial for increasing productivity and saving time for other tasks. Many crime labs are acquiring technology platforms called Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS). Even though many crime labs have a LIMS in place, they are still faced with the disconnect that exists between their LIMS and the law enforcement agency’s evidence management system. 

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Analysis Gives Clues in John Doe Case

July 15, 2014 1:59 pm | by Channel 3000 | Comments

Scientific testing has helped investigators in narrow in on the identity of the teenage boy whose skeletal remains were found in 1995. The boy is believed to have died in 1994. The Smithsonian assisted by conducting what’s called stable isotope analysis on a piece of bone fragment from the remains.

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Using Basic Statistics to Improve Fingerprint Conclusions

July 15, 2014 11:30 am | by NIJ | Comments

NIJ's Forensic Technology Center of Excellence is hosting a free, online course “Understanding Basic Statistical Concepts: Fingerprints." This NIJ-funded training will help fingerprint practitioners understand statistical concepts so they can improve their fingerprint conclusions and research.

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Backlog Persists at NC Crime Lab, Stalls Cases

July 14, 2014 2:20 pm | by Romando Dixson, Citizen-Times | Comments

DNA samples are vital to homicide and sexual assault trials and investigations. District Attorney Ron Moore says sometimes it takes a couple years for DNA results to be returned, which delays dozens and dozens of cases from going to trial.   

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New Maryland State Police Forensics Lab Director Appointed

July 14, 2014 2:06 pm | by Maryland State Police | Comments

Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus L. Brown has announced a veteran forensic scientist with a broad range of expertise including DNA technology has been appointed as the new crime laboratory director.         

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New Mississippi DNA Law Could Help Wrongly Convicted

July 14, 2014 1:57 pm | by Jimmie Gates, The Clarion-Ledger | Comments

DNA collections from suspects arrested in violent crimes could help solve those crimes as well as exonerate those wrongly charged or convicted. On that, the former prosecutor who authored the new Mississippi law requiring such collections and the Innocence Project agree. But the debate over whether the law violates individuals’ rights goes on.

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Familial DNA Leads to Charges in Serial Sex Assaults

July 14, 2014 1:44 pm | by Bruce Vielmetti, the Journal Sentinel | Comments

A Milwaukee man suspected in a series of increasingly violent random sexual assaults over the past decade was charged after the State Crime Laboratory's first use of so-called "familial DNA" analysis, identifying a suspect through his relatives.

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Familial DNA Searching Discussion Continues

July 14, 2014 12:53 pm | by NIJ | Comments

On Thursday, July 17, RTI International will hold the third of a four-part NIJ-funded online discussion about familial DNA searching. Join this panel discussion to learn more about current processes and procedures as well as the legal challenges and implementation ramifications of familial DNA searching.

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