Science Thursday – January 3, 2013


Massachusetts completes its review of all state crime labs after the alleged misconduct at Hinton State lab, Washington creates a committee to prevent marijuana testing from causing a backlog in drug labs, and federal funds for forensic research is in jeopardy despite the agreement reached on the fiscal cliff. Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:


After a chemist allegedly faked drug tests at the Hinton State Crime lab, the Association of Public Health Laboratories conducted

a review of all 17 other state crime labs in Massachusetts

. The report showed all crime labs met industry standards but suggested that the management system did not have a “consistent delegation of responsibility.”


Washington State crime laboratories and law enforcement officials are determining how to address an increased backlog

due to the state’s new marijuana laws

. Now, a determination of the quantity of certain chemicals, rather than just the presence, causes the lab analyses to take more time.


After the closing of a satellite crime lab, numerous cases in Houston County, Alabama, sit on district court waiting lists

due to delays in drug testing

. More than 300 felony drug cases in the county have backlogged evidence at the state Department of Forensic Sciences.


Though a deal to resolve the immediate fiscal cliff was reached, US lawmakers

delayed mandatory spending cuts that could threaten science funding

. If an agreement is not reached on this topic, the automatic sequester would cut federal support for research and development by $57 billion and potentially greatly affect research of forensic disciplines.

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