Science Thursday: A Michigan Prosecutors Claims Testimony Trumps Science


Marijuana test errors may have resulted in wrongful convictions in Indiana, a Michigan prosecutor values circumstantial evidence over scientific results, and researchers find a new way to process fingerprints using nanofibers. Here’s a roundup of forensics news:


The Texas Forensic Science Commission concluded, after its review of the Cameron Todd Willingham case, that

Texas fire officials should re-examine investigations based on antiquated and unscientific arson investigation methods


Audits of laboratory results found the Indiana State Department of Toxicology

revealed a 10% error rate

in the laboratory’s marijuana testing.

Space limitations at the Hamilton County crime lab may contribute to the contamination of evidence and may leave the laboratory

unable to complete testing for evidence needed at trial


A Michigan prosecutor dismisses the fact that flawed serology evidence may have imprisoned an innocent man

in Michigan by saying, “Science does not trump the testimony of individuals.”

Chinese researchers have developed a technique to

process fingerprints to make them visible

using a nanofiber mat incorporated with a fluorescent dye that is treated with heat.

A clinical forensic physician trains other physicians to

correctly diagnose non-fatal gunshot wounds


The Next Generation Identification System (NGI), developed by IBM and Lockheed Martin, will

incrementally replace the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS)

.  It claims to enhance latent print matching accuracy and will introduce palm print matching.

A forensic psychologist has been banned by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists from

performing the unscientific test he used to inflate IQ scores of defendants to qualify them for the death penalty


Closing the UK’s Forensic Science Service will reduce the number of forensic analyses taken on investigations because

private providers do not find them profitable


The Michigan State Police plan to use the bulk of the money appropriated to

reopen a full service crime lab in Detroit

to support other sites.

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