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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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New Delaware Crime Lab Faces Resistance

June 24, 2014 2:06 pm | by Sean O'Sullivan and Jonathan Starkey, The News Journal | Comments

As the Delaware House gets ready for a fast-track vote on a bill to abolish the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and create a new crime lab, two national groups are expressing strong reservations about the change.         

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A University of Central Florida research team has developed a facial recognition tool that promises to be useful in rapidly matching pictures of children with their biological parents and in potentially identifying photos of missing children as they age.

Facial Recognition Program Matches Children to Parents

June 24, 2014 1:52 pm | by Univ. of Central Florida | Comments

A research team has developed a facial recognition tool that promises to be useful in rapidly matching pictures of children with their biological parents and in potentially identifying photos of missing children as they age.        

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Blood Presumptive Testing & Enhancement Training

June 24, 2014 1:20 pm | by NIJ | Comments

Ensuring that blood is properly handled and packaged at crime scenes is critical for both personal safety and evidence integrity. West Virginia University is offering a Blood Presumptive Testing and Enhancement training course on July 10-11, 2014.

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The Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) has announced an unusual paper in their journal PALAIOS that combines ‘forensic’ paleontology and archeology to identify origins of the millstones commonly used in the 1800’s.

Grinding Away at History Using 'Forensic' Paleontology and Archeology

June 24, 2014 1:14 pm | by American Geosciences Institute | Comments

The Society for Sedimentary Geology has announced an unusual paper in their journal PALAIOS that combines "forensic" paleontology and archeology to identify origins of the millstones commonly used in the 1800’s.        

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The United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has granted approval of the Life Technologies GlobalFiler Kit for forensic laboratories that generate DNA profiles and upload them to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database.

Life Technologies GlobalFiler Kit Receives Approval by the FBI

June 24, 2014 1:01 pm | Thermo Scientific, Life Technologies | Comments

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has granted approval of the Life Technologies GlobalFiler Kit for forensic laboratories that generate DNA profiles and upload them to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database.   

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