News 09.22.11

Science Thursdays

Questionable Texas arson cases will undergo review, a Minnesota man wrongfully convicted based on false medical examiner testimony is freed and Australian graduate students develop a new way to process crime scene fingerprints.   Here’s a roundup of this week’s forensics news:

 

While the Texas Forensic Science Commission has been limited in its work on the Willingham case by the Attorney General,

their draft report has encouraged the state

Fire Marshal’s office to agree to its recommendation for a retroactive review of cases in which advances in forensic science cast doubt on earlier findings.


Prosecutors have dropped charges

against a Minnesota man who served six years in prison for the murder of his infant daughter after the court determined that the Ramsey County Medical Examiner gave “false or incorrect testimony” at trial.

The governor of Connecticut reallocated the state’s budget to

hire more staff for the State Crime Lab

.  In addition to hiring an assistant director, a temporary retired forensic science examiner, four forensic science examiners, and six trainees will be trained to replace state troopers currently working at the lab. In August, the lab’s accreditation body refused to renew its certification after audits raised concerns about supervision, evidence control and quality assurance.  The governor hopes that the state’s efforts will help the lab regain its accreditation

after an inspection this week

.

A forensic scientist who testified at an Illinois murder trial

admitted to being exposed to biasing information

.  During the course of analyzing a fingerprint from a crime scene in the defendant’s case, the fingerprint examiner was told about the defendant’s penchant for that type of bottled beer.

Forensic science honors students at Sydney’s University of Technology

developed a way to recover fingerprints

from porous materials that reduces the use of chemicals and speeds processing of fingerprints.

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