News 03.15.12

Science Thursday

Virginia fails to notify defendants who are cleared through DNA evidence after a massive DNA review, a Texas man wrongfully convicted of drug trafficking talks about his ordeal, and a study of scavengers provides new clues for establishing time of death. Here’s a roundup of this week’s forensics news:

 

Dahlia Lithwick questions the efforts of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science and the prosecutors’ offices to

notify defendants whose DNA profiles were excluded

by testing of crime scene evidence.

 

A Texas man was sentenced to life in prison for trafficking marijuana that he claimed was hemp. The state crime lab

destroyed all the case evidence

and the case file with all of the original documentation of the lab’s work on the case. He was finally exonerated last year after over a decade later.

 

D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that

handwriting comparison and identification

, as practiced by FBI examiners, passes the Frye test for admissibility.

 

A study of how scavengers like vultures

affect decomposition

has upended traditional conventions in time of death estimates.

 

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation crime lab has implemented

a Japanese business philosophy known as Kaizen

to improve its efficiency.

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