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The National Security Agency has begun winding down its collection and storage of American phone records after the Senate failed to agree on a path forward to change or extend the once-secret program ahead of its expiration at the end of the month.

NSA Winds Down Once-Secret Phone-Records Collection Program

May 26, 2015 9:40 am | by Ken Dilanian, Associated Press | News | Comments

The National Security Agency has begun winding down its collection and storage of American phone records after the Senate failed to agree on a path forward to change or extend the once-secret program ahead of its expiration at the end of the month.

Waco Courts Overwhelmed After Biker Brawl

May 22, 2015 12:58 pm | by Molly Hennessy-Fiske | News | Comments

It is perhaps symbolic that the statue of Justice atop the dome crowning the white limestone...

Colorado Theater Shooting Jurors See Graphic Autopsy Photos

May 22, 2015 11:01 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Jurors in the Colorado theater shooting case on Thursday viewed autopsy photos of some of the 12...

Senate Expected to Act on NSA Collection of Phone Records

May 22, 2015 9:36 am | by Ken Dilanian, Associated Press | News | Comments

The fate of the bulk collection of American phone records by the National Security Agency is now...

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The Justice Department warned lawmakers that the National Security Agency will have to wind down its bulk collection of Americans' phone records by the end of the week if Congress fails to reauthorize the Patriot Act.

Justice: NSA May Have to Wind Down Bulk Collection This Week

May 21, 2015 8:31 am | by Donna Cassata, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Justice Department warned lawmakers that the National Security Agency will have to wind down its bulk collection of Americans' phone records by the end of the week if Congress fails to reauthorize the Patriot Act.

Rape Kit Backlog Could Get Mandatory Testing, Congressional Panel Says

May 21, 2015 8:30 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Mandatory testing could be costly. Its estimated that $1 billion has already been spent since the Debbie Smith Act was first passed by Congress in 2004.

40,000 Cases Poised for Review in Massachusetts Drug-Lab Scandal

May 20, 2015 1:16 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter and Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

Some 40,000 cases are now reviewable due to the “egregious” work of former chemist Annie Dookhan, according to the ruling issued Monday by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court.

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Luck ran out Tuesday for the thieves who broke into a safe deposit in London's diamond district and seemed to have pulled off the perfect jewel heist over Easter weekend. more than 200 Scotland Yard officers closed in on them with nine arests being made.

British Police Nab 9 for Easter Weekend Jewel Heist

May 20, 2015 11:55 am | by Gregory Katz, Associated Press | News | Comments

Luck ran out Tuesday for the thieves who broke into a safe deposit in London's diamond district and seemed to have pulled off the perfect jewel heist over Easter weekend. More than 200 Scotland Yard officers closed in on them - nine arrests being made.

Tianjin University Prof. Hao Zhang has been arrested in connection with a 32-count inditement that charges him and five others. The defendants are accused of economic espionage and theft of trade secrets for their roles in a long-running effort to obtain

Chinese Professors Among 6 Indicted for Stealing US Trade Secrets

May 20, 2015 10:32 am | by Ernie Austin, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Tianjin University Prof. Hao Zhang has been arrested in connection with a 32-count indictment that charges him and five others. The defendants are accused of economic espionage and theft of trade secrets for their roles in a long-running effort to obtain U.S. trade secrets for the benefit of universities and companies controlled by the Chinese government.

Boston Police Comm. on the Sentencing: 'There Are No Winners'

May 15, 2015 4:23 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

William Evans sat down with Forensic Magazine to talk about the Boston Marathon Bombing and the sentencing. "I just have very mixed emotions," Evans said. "I’ll say this: If you are for the death penalty, this is an ideal case of someone who deserves it." 

Lisa Koziol-Ellis had at least 55 stab wounds to her body when her husband, Dashiell, found her on the floor of their Elgin home in the early morning hours of March 2, 2013, according to officials, as the trial of the accused killer continued.

Forensic Pathologist Testifies Cut Aorta Killed Woman Stabbed 55 Times

May 15, 2015 1:58 pm | by Janelle Walker, The Chicago Tribune | News | Comments

Lisa Koziol-Ellis had at least 55 stab wounds to her body when her husband, Dashiell, found her on the floor of their Elgin home in the early morning hours of March 2, 2013, according to officials, as the trial of the accused killer continued.

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday which would end the bulk collection of phone records, an ongoing surveillance program on the American public under the PATRIOT Act.

House Approves Bill Ending Bulk Phone Data Collection

May 14, 2015 12:13 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday which would end the bulk collection of phone records, an ongoing surveillance program on the American public under the PATRIOT Act.

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Brady Mills on Flawed Forensic Evidence: ‘We Want to Get It Right’

May 12, 2015 2:00 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

Forensic Magazine sat down with ASCLD president Brady Mills to discuss the recent controversies with crime-lab forensic science like the stunning admission that the FBI will review thousands of criminal cases because of flawed microscopic hair evidence, and to look ahead at the future of DNA sequencing technology.

Under Siege S.F. Law Enforcement: ‘Rooting Out Bias and Racism’

May 8, 2015 2:00 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Thousands of criminal cases are being reopened, because the original investigations were performed by officers now accused of swapping racist and homophobic text messages. A group of jail guards allegedly forced inmates to fight each other while they gambled on the brawls. And the flawed DNA work at a police lab is also under the microscope.

A part of the PATRIOT Act used to justify the bulk data collection of phone records by the National Security Agency was deemed illegal by a unanimous federal appeals court. The decision comes as parts of the law allowing the massive, secret program are du

NSA Phone Surveillance Illegal, Appeals Court Rules

May 8, 2015 8:20 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

A part of the PATRIOT Act used to justify the bulk data collection of phone records by the National Security Agency was deemed illegal by a unanimous federal appeals court. The decision comes as parts of the law allowing the massive, secret program are due to expire – and as the House of Representatives is considering whether to extend them.

Innocence Audit to Investigate Wave of Criminal Exonerations

May 7, 2015 8:16 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

But not every case that gets overturned necessarily means the person is innocent, warn some crime-lab experts. A group of them is now publishing “The Innocence Audit” – an investigation of exonerations which may have overturned valid criminal procedures.

Year in Jail, No Indictment: Crime Lab Snafu Blamed

May 4, 2015 1:42 pm | by Kate Royals, The Clarion-Ledger | News | Comments

Despite six grand juries convening since his arrest, 45-year-old Eban Siler has not yet been served an indictment and can’t pay his $100,000 bond. He has been in Rankin County Jail since May 28 of last year.

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Cops Charged in Freddie Gray 'Homicide'

May 1, 2015 12:34 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

State Attorney Marilyn Mosby said the manner of death was deemed a homicide by the Maryland State medical examiner early Friday morning, and that her office has reason to believe that the fatal injury occurred while Mr. Gray was left unrestrained in the back of a van while in police custody. 

Forensic document examiners (FDEs) are trained to look not only for substantial similarities or differences among writing samples, but also for repeated small characteristics which may be sufficient to establish the source of the writing. However, several

Eye-Tracking Study Validates Handwriting Analysis

May 1, 2015 8:28 am | by Mara Merlino, NIJ | News | Comments

Forensic document examiners (FDEs) are trained to look not only for substantial similarities or differences among writing samples, but also for repeated small characteristics which may be sufficient to establish the source of the writing. However, several court cases have challenged the admissibility of forensic document examination and brought some important issues — including potential confirmation bias among FDEs — into focus.

Cook County Circuit Judge Thomas J. Lipscomb warned jurors that images of 20-year-old Jessica Mejia's body that were about to be projected on a screen were "graphic" and "not the kind generally seen by the public." Minutes later, Mejia's family sat in the

Evidence Technicians Testify Protocol Was Followed in Photographing Dead Woman's Body

April 30, 2015 2:57 pm | by Tara Kadioglu, Chicago Tribune | News | Comments

Cook County Circuit Judge Thomas Lipscomb warned jurors that images of 20-year-old Jessica Mejia's body that were about to be projected on a screen were "graphic" and "not the kind generally seen by the public." Minutes later, Mejia's family sat in the corner of the courtroom, wiping tears from their cheeks as they listened to testimony from Maria Lopez, the evidence technician for the Cook County sheriff's department who took the photos.

Bipartisan legislation to end the National Security Agency's bulk phone records collection program has been introduced in Congress.

Bill Would End NSA Bulk Collection Program

April 29, 2015 9:52 am | by Eric Chabrow, Gov Info Security | News | Comments

Bipartisan legislation to end the National Security Agency's bulk phone records collection program has been introduced in Congress.  

The trial of James Holmes, the Colorado movie theater shooter, began what is expected to be months of testimony this week. Everyone appears to be in agreement: Holmes was the shooter who killed 12 and wounded 70. But for an attack that lasted just minutes

Colorado Theater Shooter Trial Involves 85,000 Pages of Evidence, Despite Apparent Guilt

April 28, 2015 8:30 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

The trial of James Holmes, the Colorado movie theater shooter, began what is expected to be months of testimony this week. Everyone appears to be in agreement: Holmes was the shooter who killed 12 and wounded 70. But for an attack that lasted just minutes, prosecutors have amassed more than 85,000 pages of evidence.

On Monday, the FBI released what was almost certainly a painful admission. The vast majority of the agents that it had sent to court to testify about a specific forensic analysis had submitted erroneous statements to the court. In its preliminary review o

The Science (and lack thereof) Behind the FBI's Retreat on Hair Analysis

April 23, 2015 11:20 am | by John Timmer, Ars Technica | News | Comments

On Monday, the FBI released what was almost certainly a painful admission. The vast majority of the agents that it had sent to court to testify about a specific forensic analysis had submitted erroneous statements to the court. In its preliminary review of relevant cases, at least 90 percent of them were problematic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced a bill to extend through 2020   a controversial surveillance authority under the Patriot Act. The move comes as a   bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers is preparing legislation to scale   ba

Senate Bill Would Extend NSA Surveillance

April 23, 2015 10:20 am | by Ellen Nakashima, The Washington Post | News | Comments

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced a bill to extend through 2020 a controversial surveillance authority under the Patriot Act. The move comes as a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers is preparing legislation to scale back the government’s spying powers under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

The House is expected Wednesday to pass a bill, years in the making, that would push private companies to share access to their computer networks and records with federal cybercrime investigators, The New York Times reports.

House Cybersecurity Vote Gets Around Private Concerns

April 22, 2015 11:22 am | by Ernie Austin, Associate Editor | News | Comments

The House is expected Wednesday to pass a bill, years in the making, that would push private companies to share access to their computer networks and records with federal cybercrime investigators, The New York Times reports.

The FBIs Flawed Hair Evidence under the Microscope

April 21, 2015 12:57 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

According to a July 2000 article by FBI Unit Chief Douglas W. Deedrick—published only months after the FBI stopped using the flawed technique—the agency admitted that the technique was not only flawed, but needed careful handling when used as evidence in criminal cases.

Fix the Flaws in Forensic Science

April 21, 2015 11:16 am | by Eric S. Lander, The New York Times | Articles | Comments

THE F.B.I. stunned the legal community on Monday with its acknowledgment that testimony by its forensic scientists about hair identification was scientifically indefensible in nearly every one of more than 250 cases reviewed. But the conclusion should come as no surprise to scientists.

Standards Needed for Post-conviction Review of Scientific Evidence

April 20, 2015 12:07 pm | by John Collins | News | Comments

According to the Post, "Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far." It is noteworthy that no representatives of the Department of Justice, including the FBI, are quoted in the Post's article. 

FBI Admits Flaws in Hair Analysis Spanning Two Decades

April 20, 2015 11:00 am | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

The Department of Justice along with the FBI have identified 2,500 cases for review after finding that experts on its microscopic hair comparison unit overstated evidence concerning pattern-based forensic techniques in 95 percent of the 268 cases reviewed so far.

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