Science News – August 8, 2013


An Ohio inmate challenges his conviction based on the misconduct of a lab technician, the US government reports it cannot measure how many DNA cases are removed from backlog, and researchers across the nation have developed a program that could detect forged photographs. Here is the round up of news for the week:


After an investigation revealed

a crime lab technician allegedly falsified reports

, an Ohio inmate will fight his conviction by challenging the testimony given by the technician. The defense attorney called for a new trial due to newly discovered evidence from the investigation.


The Government Accountability Office reports there is

no way of knowing how many DNA cases have cleared backlog

even though state and local crime labs have received almost $700 million in federal grants over five years to complete that task. A 2011 study by the National Institute of Justice estimates that there are nearly 100,000 backlogged cases around the nation.


Researchers across the United States have developed a software program that can detect fake or doctored photographs

by using an algorithm that identifies inconsistent shadows hidden to a human observer



Although the majority of the United Kingdom is plagued by problems with forensic services after the closing of the Forensic Science Service,

Scotland has thrived in its crime scene investigation due to a state of the art laboratory

. By investing heavily to modernize the lab, the centralized crime lab quickly processes cases and meets national needs.


After the passing of Texas’ biennial budget, there will be

$11 million earmarked for the Department of Public Safety crime labs to begin analyzing backlogged rape kits

. The Department of Public Safety estimates that 20,000 cases are backlogged in labs across the state.

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