Science Thursdays: Lab vs. Courtroom – How Much Proof Is Enough?


Tensions between legal and scientific methodologies complicate the acceptance of forensic science, domestic forensic science issues are linked to wrongful convictions and international forensic institutions are shuttering or sputtering.  Here’s a roundup of forensic news:

NPR discusses the tension between

integrating a technology in court

and ensuring it is first properly validated.

Norah Rudin and Keith Inman discuss the

principles of science in forensics

and comment on proposed legislation to reform forensic science.

A forensic expert testified in a New Zealand trial that

gunshot residue can linger

in the air after a gunshot is fired, so the presence of residue is not proof that a person fired a gun. 

An Arizona woman exonerated of capital murder charges based on

faulty medical evidence

is seeking compensation from Maricopa County.

Drug test results

 for a Long Island teen who struck and killed an elderly woman while allegedly intoxicated may be in admissible because of the closure of the Nassau County Police Crime Lab drug unit.


North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation

agent, whose work lead to the wrongful conviction of Gregory Taylor, says he did nothing wrong. 

In the UK, private labs testify that the

closure of the national Forensic Science Service

will not have a negative impact on the field.

All three of Calgary’s medical examiners are departing, leaving the city with

no forensic pathologists

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