News 01.29.10

Friday Roundup: Forensics Under Review in Texas

The first meeting of the Texas Forensic Science Commission in more than six months focused on procedural issues and Cameron Todd Willingham’s case wasn’t discussed directly. The Innocence Project streamed the meeting live online today, and blogger

Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast blogged it live here

.

The web stream was made possible by our pro bono partners at

Unicorn Media

and the producers at

Rio Bravo Films

.

In other Texas news, Hank Skinner is set to be executed in Texas Feburary 24 despite his pending requests for DNA tests that could prove his innocence. Students at the Medill Innocence Project have been investigating the case and the Texas Tribune ran

a two-part story this week

.

Still more news from Texas: new evidence suggests that prosecutors coached a witness to identify an innocent man in 1995. Richard Miles was freed last year after 14 years in prison based on new evidence of his innocence. The main witness against him at trial now says

he was coached by prosecutors

. The prosecutors denied the allegations.

A Michigan man who has been in prison for 25 years for a murder he says he didn’t commit

could get a parole hearing soon

, state officials said.


Evidence was sent to be testing

in the case of Indiana prisoner Willie T. Donald, who has served nearly two decades for a crime he has always said he didn’t commit.


The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a challenge

to its decision last year in Melendez-Diaz that defendants have the right to cross-examine forensic analysts who conducted tests in their case.



A new rule

in New York allows police to conduct investigations based on partial DNA matches. The rule was enacted despite arguments from the New York Civil Liberties Union that it should have gone before the legislature.

Reversing an earlier decision, a Los Angeles hiring committee this week

approved 27 new forensic analyst positions

in an effort to reduce the city’s backlog of untested rape kits.

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