News 02.14.13

Science Thursday

A crime lab director from Ohio quickly resigns, Washington state is dealing with new marijuana testing protocols, and researchers use a robot to test the so-called misinformation effect.  Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:
An Ohio crime

lab director resigned a week after his appointment

after the mayor questioned the process and the lack of communication behind the appointment.  The position called for someone with a bachelor’s degree in science, yet the director lacked a college degree.  
The St. Paul crime lab in Minnesota recently determined it

will not resume drug testing after the lab was shut down last year

due to an absence of quality control and protocols.  The City Council has given over $1 million to fix the lab and resume fingerprint analysis and crime scene evidence processing.
In North Carolina, law enforcement officials

support new legislation that will establish a new crime lab

and staff in the western part of the state.  An increasing caseload and a decreasing number of analysts  have caused results to take from nine months to three years, depending on the test.
With new laws defining marijuana, the

Washington state crime lab has to adopt new protocols

before it can start testing samples.  Now, the percentage of certain chemicals must be determined, which the lab currently does not have the capacity to test, before identifying a sample as marijuana.
In a

study on the misinformation effect

, scientists from Mississippi State University  found that robots can avoid contaminating a witnesses’ memory.  Even when using identical scripts, the questions posed by humans dropped accuracy nearly 40% when compared to robots.
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