News 01.05.12

Science Thursday

Houston sets its sights on an independent crime lab, veterans question the U.S. Army’s notification of crime lab errors in their cases, and the Alabama criminal justice system falters under massive budget cuts to its Department of Forensic Sciences.  Here’s a roundup of this week’s forensics news:

For the first time in Illinois state history, an

Illinois appeals court has grated post-conviction ballistics testing

  as possible new evidence of innocence. As the technology that lead to past convictions evolves, some cases merit review.

Houston mayor, Annise Parker, vows to

create an independent crime laboratory

by the end of 2012. The Houston Police Department Crime Lab has been plagued with problems that contributed to a number of wrongful convictions.

Due to

accreditation issues at the Connecticut State Crime Lab

, local police departments are being asked to limit the evidence they submit for testing.

The Pentagon is investigating

allegations that the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory

has concealed evidence of lab errors that may have led to wrongful convictions.

The budget of the

Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences has been cut

from $14M to $9.5M.   The shortfall has eliminated jobs, which leads to delays in grand jury proceedings and delays in indictments brought against suspects.

The Washington Post

profiles a forensic chemist

with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


Forensic DNA testing

, conducted by staff and students from the Michigan State University, has helped identify the presence of a bacterial disease in 1,000-year-old skeletons.

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