News 12.15.11

Science Thursdays

A Florida death row prisoner appeals his sentence based on possible DNA contamination, a North Carolina blood spatter analyst’s work continues to be scrutinized, and Florida courts hear cases of problematic DNA analyses. Here’s a roundup of this week’s forensics news:

A Newsday editorial urges the

New York State Commission on Forensic Science

to enforce stronger forensic oversight, especially over the recently beleaguered Nassau County Police Crime Lab.

Michael Peterson, a North Carolina author, will receive a new trial.  Peterson has

maintained his innocence in the murder of his wife

. Judge Orlando Hudson found that former State Bureau of Investigation agent Duane Deaver mislead the court about the validity of his blood spatter experiments and gave perjured testimony.

A Florida man is

appealing his death sentence

based on what his lawyers called a “major DNA contamination problem” that affected his case.

About 500 blood samples used in court cases by the

discredited Indiana University Department of Toxicology

have been retested, and prosecutors have been notified of the results. However, the toxicology department is not yet releasing what the retesting revealed; for example, whether the new tests identified errors.

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