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MD Autopsy Technicians Seek Better Pay

September 5, 2014 8:02 am | Comments

A dozen autopsy technicians who work at the Office of Chief State Medical Examiner have hired a private lawyer to advocate for better pay and fairer treatment. “The people who pick up our trash make more money than we do,” Amanda McGinnis, a five-year contract employee, says. “And we bag it up for them.”

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Forensic Research and Development Solves Crimes

September 5, 2014 7:49 am | Comments

Research and development is criminal justice’s silent but powerful partner. Strengthening the scientific foundation of forensics helps law enforcement identify suspects more quickly, prosecutors bring charges more accurately, and defense lawyers exonerate the innocent. NIJ’s investment in forensic R&D is our most enduring contribution to criminal justice.  

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New York Police Officers Test Body Cameras

September 5, 2014 7:42 am | Comments

The New York Police Department will begin equipping a small number of its officers with wearable video cameras, a pilot program geared toward eventually outfitting the nation’s largest police force with technology that promises greater accountability.  

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Forensic Sculptor Amanda Danning at LSC-Montgomery

September 4, 2014 10:34 am | Comments

For the past few years, nationally-recognized forensic artist Amanda Danning has been entertaining visitors at the Sam Houston Museum in Huntsville with her amazing facial reconstruction. Lone Star College-Montgomery’s Academy for Lifelong Learning, in collaboration with The Sons of the Republic of Texas, is offering a history lecture featuring the forensic sculptor from 1-3 p.m. Sept. 16. 

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Omaha Police, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Share Lab Services

September 4, 2014 10:25 am | Comments

More Omahans who are burglarized would see a crime lab technician under a proposal to share services between Douglas County’s two largest law enforcement agencies. The plan would consolidate some functions of the Omaha and Douglas County crime labs, but not merge the labs themselves. Mayor Jean Stothert said the deal would give taxpayers better service for their money.

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Why Smaller Bullets Are Deadlier

September 4, 2014 9:56 am | Comments

The long range rifle has been around since the 19th century, a short 100 years after Daniel Bernoulli published his book, Hydrodynamica, on the relationship between pressure and potential energy (or speed) of a fluid. The jist of his principle relates an increase in speed of a fluid to a decrease in pressure. 

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DNA Evidence Clears Two Men in 1983 Murder

September 3, 2014 10:50 am | Comments

The case of two North Carolina men cleared of 30-year-old murder charges provides one of the most dramatic examples yet of the potential harm from false, coerced confessions and of the power of DNA tests to exonerate the innocent.      

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Arias Gains Crime Scene Access

September 3, 2014 10:31 am | Comments

It’s been more than six years since Jodi Arias brutally murdered her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, inside his Mesa, Arizona, home. The crime scene - especially the master bathroom featured so heavily in graphic evidence photos - has been changed drastically since then. So what could Arias possibly gain by getting permission from a judge to send her investigator back to "observe" the home?

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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.

Improve Your Court Testimony on Latent Prints

September 3, 2014 10:11 am | Comments

Due to popular demand, another session has been added for the online course, “The Emperor’s New Clothes: A Guide to Latent Print Testimony,” on Tuesday, September 9, at 11 a.m. The course is taught by The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence at RTI International and funded through an award by the National Institute of Justice. Registration is free and open to all. 

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To say that developments in “Rapid DNA” have been progressing quickly is an understatement. From a front page USA Today article headline reading “Rapid DNA Test Could Transform Crime Fight”, to its first use in a criminal prosecution and, most importantly

DNA Could Exonerate Two in NC Death Row Case

September 2, 2014 10:14 am | Comments

Two North Carolina men who have been behind bars for 30 years, one of them on death row, will go before a judge on Tuesday morning to present new DNA evidence of their innocence of the murder and rape for which they were convicted as teenagers in 1984.  

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Backlog Led to Delay in Police Misconduct Case

September 2, 2014 9:58 am | Comments

Chicago Police Commander Glenn Evans allegedly shoved the barrel of his gun down the throat of Rickey J. Williams in Jan 2013, an act corroborated via DNA testing. So why did it take until Wednesday to charge Evans with aggravated battery and misconduct? According to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, it was because of a backlog of cases awaiting DNA testing at the Illinois State Police crime lab.

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FOReSt Improves Understanding of Human Decomposition

September 2, 2014 9:36 am | Comments

When people die, Cheryl Johnston’s work begins. A forensic anthropologist at Western Carolina University, Johnston oversees the Forensic Osteological Research Station – or FOReSt – one of our nation’s six human decomposition facilities. Over a year’s time, bodies here are exposed to light, rain, humidity, heat, cold, wind, and wildlife.

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Schuylkill County Decreases Compensation for Deputy Coroners

August 28, 2014 12:02 pm | Comments

Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, has changed its policy regarding compensation rates for its deputy coroners in an effort to cut costs. Proposed by County Coroner Dr. David J. Moylan, the new per diem compensation rate will be $50 for all job responsibilities starting Friday. That rate includes mileage, photographs and documentation associated with a case.

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FBI Readies for NGI

August 28, 2014 11:53 am | Comments

The FBI says it is modernizing the way it stores fingerprint cards, criminal history folders and civil identity files by digitally converting more than 30 million records – and as many as 83 million fingerprint cards. The organization says it is fully activating its Next Generation Identification (NGI) system, a digital platform for biometric and other types of identity information.

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Death Microbiomes Could Catch Killers

August 28, 2014 11:50 am | Comments

Researchers have made the first study of the thanatomicrobiome – the army of gut microbes that take over your internal organs once you are dead. The results could have applications in forensic science and medicine. Understanding how microbes inside a dead body colonise it can help pathologists work out the time of death, where the body has been lying, and how its decomposition could affect the soil and ecology.   

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