Science Thursday: Crime Labs Making Headlines


This week, NY and NC crime labs continue to make headlines for accreditation woes, WV and NY universities support research in forensic science and the UK sells off its national crime lab service. Here’s a roundup of forensic news:

NY State Commission on Forensic Science is calling for a

special review of a NY lab 

that is the first in NY State to be put on probation and the second in the nation to be

put on probation twice

. The county medical examiner was

put in charge of the lab

to “re-establish a quality system.”

Despite a widely accepted audit of the NC State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) finding errors in its reporting policy,

SBI analysts continue to reject the report’s conclusion

, stonewall inquiries for evidence and testify that the state is the SBI’s “customer” in court.

A NC judge

threw out the murder, sex assault and child abuse charges

against a man whose conviction was based on faulty SBI blood test results.  In addition, the state withheld polygraph test results of a key witness, witness statements and the child’s complete medical records. 

The WV Board of Governors approved the addition of

forensic sciences as a priority

area for research at West Virginia University.

University of Buffalo researchers have developed a way to calculate the

rarity of a partial fingerprint

using a database of fingerprints.

Prosecutors comb through Wikileaks leader

Julian Assange’s emails

using sophisticated computer forensics to develop their case against him.

Forensic testing

may have identified the embalmed head of France’s King Henry IV, which was shuffled between private collections ever since it disappeared during the French Revolution in 1793.

As a

cost savings measure

, the UK Ministry of Justice is closing more than 140 courts and selling off its national crime lab.

Fish DNA typing

is now used to combat illegal fishing and fraudulent labeling of fish in supermarkets.

An AZ medical examiner is

exhuming deceased individuals

from paupers’ graves andidentifying them using dental and DNA samples in order to reunite the remains with family members.

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