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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 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...

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...

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...

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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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A member of the identity theft and credit card fraud ring known as “Carder.su” was sentenced recently to 150 months in federal prison for selling stolen and counterfeit credit cards over the Internet.  He was further ordered to pay $50.8 million in restit

Member of Credit Card Cybercrime Ring Sentenced to 150 Months in Prison

April 13, 2015 11:49 am | by DoJ | News | Comments

A member of the identity theft and credit card fraud ring known as “Carder.su” was sentenced recently to 150 months in federal prison for selling stolen and counterfeit credit cards over the Internet. He was further ordered to pay $50.8 million in restitution.

Lawyers hired by the family of a black man who was found hanging in Mississippi said Wednesday that they are hiring independent experts, including a high-profile forensic pathologist, to conduct an investigation separate from the one pursued by state and

Family of Man Found Hanging in Mississippi Hiring Forensic Experts

April 9, 2015 1:59 pm | by Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press | News | Comments

Lawyers hired by the family of a black man who was found hanging in Mississippi said Wednesday that they are hiring independent experts, including a high-profile forensic pathologist, to conduct an investigation separate from the one pursued by state and federal authorities.

The Truth behind False Confessions: An Interview with Saul Kassin

April 9, 2015 10:48 am | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

Confession expert Dr. Saul Kassin tells the story, and how the investigators’ “quick, clinical judgment” about Michael Crowe’s guilt led to one of the most notorious cases of false confession in recent memory.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombing by a federal jury that now must decide whether the 21-year-old former college student should be executed. His conviction was practically a foregone conclusion, given his lawyer's sta

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Convicted in Boston Marathon Bombing

April 8, 2015 2:44 pm | by Denise LaVoie, Associated Press | News | Comments

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombing by a federal jury that now must decide whether the 21-year-old former college student should be executed. His conviction was practically a foregone conclusion, given his lawyer's startling admission during opening statements that Tsarnaev carried out the attack with his now-dead older brother, Tamerlan.

Recently, Anthony Hinton became the 152nd death-row prisoner to be exonerated since 1973. Like most people who’ve been exonerated to date, Hinton didn’t rely on new DNA evidence to prove him innocent.

Better Forensics Aren't Enough to Prevent Wrongful Death Sentences

April 7, 2015 2:26 pm | by Leah Libresco, FiveThirtyEight | News | Comments

Recently, Anthony Hinton became the 152nd death-row prisoner to be exonerated since 1973. Like most people who’ve been exonerated to date, Hinton didn’t rely on new DNA evidence to prove him innocent.

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Defense Attorney Admits Hernandez Witnessed the Murder

April 7, 2015 2:20 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

Hernandez has since been implicated in a handful of other criminal cases, including a charge in a 2012 double-murder case that was scheduled to begin on May 28, but has since been delayed while the current case is pending.

The tech community has long called for reforming the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for its overly broad language. But now many worry a White House plan to toughen the law will have a chilling effect on work to expose software weaknesses.

Why Cyber Pros Don't Like Proposal for Antihacking Law

April 7, 2015 12:25 pm | by Fahmida Rashid, Passcode | News | Comments

The tech community has long called for reforming the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for its overly broad language. But now many worry a White House plan to toughen the law will have a chilling effect on work to expose software weaknesses.

A Massachusetts medical examiner has taken the stand in the murder trial of former New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Medical Examiner Takes Stand in Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial

April 2, 2015 1:53 pm | by Michelle R. Smith, Associated Press | News | Comments

A Massachusetts medical examiner has taken the stand in the murder trial of former New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Scientific evidence and expert witness testimony are integral to criminal trials worldwide. Yet while we live in a scientific age of increasingly specialized expert knowledge, a growing reliance on forensic evidence is a double-edged sword.

Forensic Evidence Offers Only Probabilities, Not Guarantees That Justice Will be Served

April 2, 2015 10:20 am | by Paul Roberts, The Conversation | News | Comments

Scientific evidence and expert witness testimony are integral to criminal trials worldwide. Yet while we live in a scientific age of increasingly specialized expert knowledge, a growing reliance on forensic evidence is a double-edged sword.

Prosecutors typically downplay their elation when they win murder trials. Their usual responses, at least publicly, are lines like: "There are no winners here, but justice was served" etc. But on March 20, when a Schenectady County jury found 48-year-old

DNA Study is Winner in Cold Case Murder Conviction

April 2, 2015 8:03 am | by Robert Gavion, Times Union | News | Comments

Prosecutors typically downplay their elation when they win murder trials. Their usual responses, at least publicly, are lines like: "There are no winners here, but justice was served" etc. But on March 20, when a Schenectady County jury found 48-year-old John Wakefield guilty of first-degree murder in the April 11, 2010, strangling of Brett Wentworth, there was a winner.

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President Barack Obama on Wednesday created the first-ever sanctions program to penalize overseas hackers who engage in cyber spying and companies that knowingly benefit from the fruits of that espionage, potentially including state-owned corporations in

Obama Signs Order Creating New Cyber Sanctions Program

April 2, 2015 8:01 am | by Ken Dilanian and Julie Pace, Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama on Wednesday created the first-ever sanctions program to penalize overseas hackers who engage in cyber spying and companies that knowingly benefit from the fruits of that espionage, potentially including state-owned corporations in Russia and China.

Lawyers for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev rested their case in his federal death penalty trial Tuesday, a day after they began presenting testimony designed to show his late older brother was the mastermind of the 2013 terror attack.

Bomber Defense Rests After Short List of Forensic Experts Have Spoken

April 1, 2015 10:47 am | by Denise LaVoie, Associated Press | News | Comments

Lawyers for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev rested their case in his federal death penalty trial Tuesday, a day after they began presenting testimony designed to show his late older brother was the mastermind of the 2013 terror attack.

The Montana House has overwhelmingly passed a bill providing funding for an eastern Montana crime lab.

House Bill Passed to Create Eastern Montana Crime Lab

April 1, 2015 8:17 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Montana House has overwhelmingly passed a bill providing funding for an eastern Montana crime lab.

Ex-AAFS Pres Barry Fisher on Admissable Evidence

March 30, 2015 11:55 am | by Barry Fisher | News | Comments

Fingerprint examinations, firearms testing, shoe print and tire impression evidence are suspect. Bite mark evidence is especially singled out as unsound. Handwriting comparison has come under scrutiny. Can absolute assertions about such evidence be made?

Forging Forensic Science: Dr. Saul Kassin on Amanda Knox and the Truth behind False Confessions

March 27, 2015 11:42 am | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

Dr. Saul Kassin relates false confessions to “Hollywood productions” and thinks the infamous Amanda Knox case was just another “script that had to get followed.” As a psychology professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, he’s seen it all – the uncanny confessions that describe minutiae from the motive to the grisly murder details to the denials that eventually follow.

Security Measures Questioned after Co-pilot 'Intentionally' Downed Germanwings Jetliner

March 26, 2015 1:22 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

Strict aviation regulations, created after the events of 9/11, focused on securing the cockpit by requiring fortified cockpit doors that can withstand the blast from a hand grenade, and escape exits that can only be accessed from the inside, CNN reports. But, this latest tragedy has some asking: what's the use of an armored cockpit, if the pilot can be locked out of it?

Italy's high court took up the appeal of Amanda Knox's murder conviction Wednesday, considering the fate of the "very worried" American and her Italian former boyfriend in the brutal 2007 murder of Knox's British roommate. A decision had been expected as

Italy High Court Deciding Fate of 'Very Worried' Amanda Knox

March 25, 2015 10:59 am | by Colleen Barry and Frances D'Emilio, Associated Press | News | Comments

Italy's high court took up the appeal of Amanda Knox's murder conviction Wednesday, considering the fate of the "very worried" American and her Italian former boyfriend in the brutal 2007 murder of Knox's British roommate. A decision had been expected as early as Wednesday, but with a full caseload Wednesday and other court matters Thursday, the presiding judge said a ruling may not come down until Friday.

House intelligence committee leaders unveiled a bipartisan cybersecurity bill Tuesday amid signs of broad agreement on long-sought legislation that would allow private companies to share with the government details of how they are hacked, without fear of

House Unveils Cyber Bill and Signals Bipartisan Compromise

March 25, 2015 10:39 am | by Ken Dilanian, Associated Press | News | Comments

House intelligence committee leaders unveiled a bipartisan cybersecurity bill amid signs of broad agreement on long-sought legislation that would allow private companies to share with the government details of how they are hacked, without fear of being sued.

The roles of cultural anthropologists as expert witnesses gets a national hearing of its own, as researchers examine how cultural anthropology is applied in the courtroom.

Challenges for Anthropologists When They’re the Expert Witness

March 25, 2015 9:48 am | by Dawn Fuller, University of Cincinnati | News | Comments

The roles of cultural anthropologists as expert witnesses gets a national hearing of its own, as researchers examine how cultural anthropology is applied in the courtroom. 

The Boston Marathon bombers fired 56 bullets at police during a violent confrontation days after the 2013 attack, a ballistics expert testified during the federal death penalty trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Gun Expert Says Marathon Bombers Fired 56 Bullets at Police

March 25, 2015 8:20 am | by Denise LaVoie, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Boston Marathon bombers fired 56 bullets at police during a violent confrontation days after the 2013 attack, a ballistics expert testified during the federal death penalty trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

New DNA Software Helps Convict Two-Time Felon

March 23, 2015 12:43 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

John Wakefield, 48, now faces life in prison without parole, after his DNA was found and identified on the victim’s shirt collar and on the murder weapon, according to a press release.

Prosecutor Punished Over Mishandled Rape Case

March 23, 2015 10:52 am | by John Hamlin | News | Comments

After a disciplinary hearing March 3, the bar found that Paul Jackson mishandled a 2011 rape case, and because of that, the defendant remained in jail for an additional four and a half months.

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