Science Thursday – May 17, 2012


Rape charges were dropped against Bennie Starks, whose wrongful conviction was based in part on bite mark evidence; a North Carolina man will receive a new trial based on the misconduct of State Bureau of Investigation agents; and a UK scientist finds that insect bites can mimic injuries on a corpse. Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:


Illinois prosecutors have

dropped rape charges against Bennie Starks

, who spent 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Bite mark evidence was used in the original trial to tie Starks to the victim.


Judge Orlando Hudson is

granting a North Carolina man a new trial

after finding that the State Bureau of Investigation agent “deliberately and intentionally misled the jury at Mr. Peterson’s trial about the scientific basis and acceptability of his opinions, methods and experiments.”


In response to learning that

three of six trace evidence examiners at the Philadelphia Crime Lab failed their proficiency tests

, city officials made a public announcement of the failures, vowing to retrain the technicians and review all past casework.


Michigan’s State Police Crime Labs are

in danger of losing their national accreditation

as they race to meet new standards and reduce the backlog.


A UK scientist’s research shows that

insects and other creatures can deposit marks on a corpse

which mimic other injuries.

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