Science News – April 25, 2013


Researchers discuss cognitive bias in forensic examiners, officials question blood-alcohol testing in Arizona, and the New York State Inspector General has recently launched an investigation into the use of an unaccredited lab. Here is the round up of news for the week:


Researchers from the United States and England collaborated on a new study that examines how

cognitive biases can lead to false convictions

. Specifically, forensic examiners may be influenced by information that decreases their objectivity and impacts their conclusions.


The acquittal of an Arizona defendant on DUI charges has lead to

increased demand for a review of other cases that might have been affected by faulty blood-alcohol equipment

. While the crime lab released a statement claiming their accreditation requires proper maintenance and calibration of all equipment, defense lawyers have found a software glitch in the equipment that has affected the results of multiple cases.


The New York State Inspector General has launched an investigation into

a Syracuse police officer’s use of an unaccredited lab

. The investigation was sparked when the Onondaga County District Attorney notified the state Commission on Forensic Science.


In an unrelated investigation, the New York State Inspector General found that

the Onondaga County Center for Forensic Sciences was not negligent, nor showed bias in how it handled cases as the Syracuse police deputy chief had claimed

. Rather, the Inspector General found that the police department had problems with its communication and recommended training.

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