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Revelations that nuns had buried nearly 800 infants and young children in unmarked graves at an Irish orphanage during the last century caused stark headlines and stirred strong emotions and calls for investigation. Since then, however, a more sober pictu

Media Exaggerated Horror Tale at Irish Orphanage

June 30, 2014 2:06 pm | by Shawn Pogatchnik, Associated Press | Comments

Revelations that nuns had buried nearly 800 infants and young children in unmarked graves at an Irish orphanage during the last century caused stark headlines and stirred strong emotions and calls for investigation. Since then, however, a more sober picture has emerged that exposes how many of those headlines were wrong.

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This data collection sought to obtain data for evaluating prototypes of non-contact fingerprint acquisition systems developed by FlashScan3D by comparing the data to that captured using conventional livescan fingerprint systems, inked rolled prints, and a

Non-contact Multi-sensor Fingerprint Collection

June 30, 2014 11:33 am | by Bojan Cukic, Jeremy Dawson and Simona Crihalmeanu, NIJ | Comments

This data collection sought to obtain data for evaluating prototypes of non-contact fingerprint acquisition systems developed by FlashScan3D by comparing the data to that captured using conventional livescan fingerprint systems, inked rolled prints, and a commercial non-contact fingerprint device. 

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Crime scene investigators can tell what a criminal ate and drank before they committed a crime, thanks to pioneering fingerprint technology.

Fingerprints Reveal Last Meal and More

June 27, 2014 3:13 pm | by Sarah Griffiths, Daily Mail | Comments

Crime scene investigators can tell what a criminal ate and drank before they committed a crime, thanks to pioneering fingerprint technology. They could also use it to tell the police how long a fingerprint has been at the crime scene.     

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With new DNA evidence in hand, a divided Florida Supreme Court overturned the death sentence and conviction of a man found guilty nearly three decades ago of strangling a woman in Hernando County, Fla.

Florida Court Overturns Death Sentence for 1985 Killing

June 27, 2014 2:52 pm | by Lizette Alvarez, The New York Times | Comments

With new DNA evidence in hand, a divided Florida Supreme Court overturned the death sentence and conviction of a man found guilty nearly three decades ago of strangling a woman in Hernando County, Fla.             

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Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday signed into law timelines and processes for testing rape-evidence kits, a move backers said will ensure Michigan avoids encountering a backlog of the magnitude discovered after it took over Detroit's crime lab five years ago.

Gov OKs Rules for Testing Rape-evidence Kits

June 27, 2014 2:23 pm | by David Eggert, Associated Press | Comments

Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday signed into law timelines and processes for testing rape-evidence kits, a move backers said will ensure Michigan avoids encountering a backlog of the magnitude discovered after it took over Detroit's crime lab five years ago.

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The financial resources and manpower at the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory are dreadfully behind its ever-growing case load. The backlog affects the accused – both guilty and innocent – who might sit in jail for years before their cases go to trial

Underfunded State Crime Lab Could Mean Crisis for NC Court System

June 27, 2014 2:16 pm | by WRAL | Comments

The financial resources and manpower at the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory are dreadfully behind its ever-growing case load. The backlog affects the accused – both guilty and innocent – who might sit in jail for years before their cases go to trial.

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This report from the NIJ-sponsored Sensor, Surveillance, and Biometric Technologies Center of Excellence provides a summary of scenarios for the use of through-the-wall sensors by law enforcement and emergency response practitioners.

Through-the-wall Sensors for Law Enforcement

June 27, 2014 12:11 pm | by NIJ | Comments

This report from the NIJ-sponsored Sensor, Surveillance, and Biometric Technologies Center of Excellence provides a summary of scenarios for the use of through-the-wall sensors by law enforcement and emergency response practitioners.     

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New research into the chemical odors released by decomposing bodies is   providing forensic scientists with a powerful tool to determine how long a   person has been dead, a term known as post-mortem interval (PMI).

Cadaver Odor Reveals Forensic Secrets

June 26, 2014 1:50 pm | by Ruth Knowles, Chemistry World | Comments

Not many of us like to consider the complex chemical processes that begin after we die. But new research into the chemical odors released by decomposing bodies is providing forensic scientists with a powerful tool to determine how long a person has been dead. Understanding this "smell of death" also helps scientists understand how sniffer dogs discover buried disaster victims and locate clandestine graves.

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NIST and the DOJ have made the first appointments to a new organization dedicated to identifying and fostering development and adoption of standards and guidelines for the nation's forensic science community.

NIST Names Members to First Forensic Science Standards Board

June 26, 2014 1:24 pm | by NIST | Comments

As part of its efforts to improve the scientific basis of forensic evidence used in courts of law, the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have made the first appointments to a new organization dedicated to identifying and fostering development and adoption of standards and guidelines for the nation's forensic science community.

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A former Houston crime laboratory technician blamed for leaving behind dozens of questionable test results admitted to colleagues that he knew he wasn't following proper procedures after results from one of his tests were found faulty, according to a Hous

Houston Crime Lab Tech Admitted to Bad Lab Procedures

June 26, 2014 1:10 pm | by Associated Press | Comments

A former Houston crime laboratory technician blamed for leaving behind dozens of questionable test results admitted to colleagues that he knew he wasn't following proper procedures after results from one of his tests were found faulty, according to a Houston Police Department internal investigation report.

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Predicting the postmortem interval of a decedent is a major task of law enforcement. Most death investigators rely on qualitative information (i.e., rigor mortis, livor mortis).

Development and Validation of SOP for Measuring Microbial Populations for Estimating a Postmortem Interval

June 26, 2014 9:02 am | by Jeffrey Tomberlin, Tawni Crippen, M. Eric Benbow and Aaron Tarone, NIJ | Comments

Predicting the postmortem interval of a decedent is a major task of law enforcement. Most death investigators rely on qualitative information (i.e., rigor mortis, livor mortis). However, no data are available on using microbes, which represent 99 percent of somatic cells in and on a human body, to estimate the time since death of a decedent.

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As part of a portable cocaine test that takes just minutes, this microfluidic device extracts drugs of abuse from dried urine samples.

Fast, Portable 'On-the-go' Cocaine Testing

June 25, 2014 1:41 pm | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Testing for cocaine and other drugs usually involves two steps: a quick on-site prescreen, and then a more accurate confirmatory test at a distant laboratory. Now, researchers report development of a backpack-sized device that can perform highly accurate and sensitive tests anywhere within 15 minutes. 

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Satao, a noble elephant that met an ignoble end - as do too many of his fellows.

Elephant CSI Uses DNA Forensics to Track Poachers

June 25, 2014 1:20 pm | by Adrian Linacre, The Conversation | Comments

Increasingly authorities are using forensic methods to track and trace the origins of seized ivory, providing the means to tackle enforcement problems in the country where the animal was killed, rather than just the point where the attempt was made to smuggle it out of the continent of Africa.

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In a strong defense of digital age privacy, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police may not generally search the cellphones of people they arrest without first getting search warrants.

Supreme Court Says 'Get a warrant' to Search Cellphones

June 25, 2014 12:54 pm | by Mark Sherman, Associated Press | Comments

In a strong defense of digital age privacy, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police may not generally search the cellphones of people they arrest without first getting search warrants. Chief Justice Roberts acknowledged that barring searches would affect law enforcement, but said: "Privacy comes at a cost."

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Automotive vehicles can be identified from paint fragments left at the crime scene by comparing the color, layer sequence, and chemical composition of each individual layer of the paint.

Lead Information and Evidential Significance Assessment for Automotive Paint

June 25, 2014 12:35 pm | by Barry Lavine, Ayuba Fasasi, Nikhil Mirjankar and Mark Sandercock, NIJ | Comments

Automotive vehicles can be identified from paint fragments left at the crime scene by comparing the color, layer sequence, and chemical composition of each individual layer of the paint. Comparisons are possible using the Paint Data Query (PDQ) database.

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