Science News – May 23, 2013


An independent review of the New York City medical examiner’s office suggests a management change, legislation in Minnesota attempts to require accreditation for crime labs, and Ohio law enforcement addresses a backlog of DNA cases. Here is the round up of news for the week:


An independent review found that recent problems at the New York City medical examiner’s office

should lead to a wide-ranging management change

. After missing and mixing biological evidence in numerous cases, and the resignation of various staff, the review showed systemic problems dating back several years.


In Minnesota, the problems with a lack of protocols at the St. Paul crime lab spurred a bill that would

require accreditation for crime labs throughout the state

. The author, Senator Ron Latz, believes the bill will “prevent wrongful convictions and increase public confidence in the criminal justice system.”


Due to numerous problems with management, evidence processing, and a DNA backlog, local law enforcement agencies in Ohio are

no longer sending biological samples to the Canton-Stark County Crime Lab

. Law enforcement officials still support the crime lab but feel the Ohio Bureau of Investigation crime lab can do a more effective job conducting DNA testing.


A New Zealand researcher is determining how the psychology of juries is impacted by expert forensic evidence and

how that interaction affects the integrity of the justice system

. The research will examine how juries deliberate conflicting interpretations of evidence given by prosecutor and defense experts.

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