#Forensics: Cops rushing to force collection of fingerprints for iPhone quashed

Image result for no illegal search and seizure

A federal magistrate judge in Chicago recently denied the government’s attempt to force people in a particular building to depress their fingerprints in an attempt to open any seized Apple devices as part of a child pornography investigation.

Ars technica

Posted in criminal justice, criminal justice reform, CSI, prosecutorial misconduct | Tagged , | Leave a comment

#Forensic News for Today: Fabricated arson evidence, door knobs, familial DNA traits

More info on the arson evidence fabrication:
The receptacle caused the fire.
The state presented the defendant with photos showing the Romex wire intact.
During the trial, the state presented two additional photos showing the wire cut and taped.
The cutting and taping could only have occurred after the plaster and lath wall was opened, i.e., post-fire.
The photo showing the cutting and taping was taken after dark.
There is a photo from the insurance company, who’s adjuster came two or more days after the fire, showing the intact wire in the daylight.
The two photos (mis) represented to have been taken the day of the fire were actually taken when Detective Fallon (the guy who committed perjury) returned to the scene five days later.
Fallon and the ADA both knew that the photos were taken later. That is why they were not originally produced.
The jury was able to figure out the deception.

FORENSICS and LAW in FOCUS @ CSIDDS | News and Trends

Image result for planted evidence

This case is horrendous. Fabricated arson evidence used against a woman later acquitted of arson gets into court after appellate court opines this rule for the lower court to follow in her lawsuit against LEO authorities. “There must be persuasive evidence supporting a conclusion that the proponents of the evidence are aware that evidence is incorrect or that the evidence is offered in bad faith.” Bad faith is a legal euphemism for moral turpitude such as perjury /planting/fabricating evidence. 22 page opinion. third-circuit Thanks to John Lentini at http://www.firescientist.com/ for taking the scientific lead for the defense on this case.

Testing claims that racial tendencies of a set of triplets and fraternal quads have slightly different regional racial mixtures. How reliable are home DNA tests? Comments from a TV guy named Dr. Stork.

A lady criminal defense lawyer now is top dog at the American Academy of Forensic sciences. Congrats…

View original post 183 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

#Forensic News for Today: Fabricated arson evidence, door knobs, familial DNA traits

Image result for planted evidence

This case is horrendous. Fabricated arson evidence used against a woman later acquitted of arson gets into court after appellate court opines this rule for the lower court to follow in her lawsuit against LEO authorities. “There must be persuasive evidence supporting a conclusion that the proponents of the evidence are aware that evidence is incorrect or that the evidence is offered in bad faith.” Bad faith is a legal euphemism for moral turpitude such as perjury /planting/fabricating evidence. 22 page opinion. third-circuit Thanks to John Lentini at http://www.firescientist.com/ for taking the scientific lead for the defense on this case.

Testing claims that racial tendencies of a set of triplets and fraternal quads have slightly different regional racial mixtures. How reliable are home DNA tests? Comments from a TV guy named Dr. Stork.

A lady criminal defense lawyer now is top dog at the American Academy of Forensic sciences. Congrats to Betty. 

Crime expert for child abuse defendant gets bumped from testifying. DA argued “all he looked at were photos and defense documents.” His report was “only” two pages long. The expert, the well known Brent Turvey, excels in critiquing crime scene failures, botched interview techniques and other omissions of police investigators.

When door knobs are submitted for DNA testing, don’t expect the crime lab to do DNA testing. The problem is DNA mixtures: “…..but Cavanaugh said they were not analyzed because doorknobs typically have small traces of DNA coming from a large amount of sources. He said it would be too difficult to know for certain whether a suspect was or was not at a crime scene.” Shoe print matching was attempted as well.

After losing their case, a sheriff and a prosecutor do not know when to shut up on TV. Acquitted of any crime, the former defendant sues them for defamation. “The complaint accuses both officials of making statements that “implied” Supino killed the couple, even after the jury delivered its verdict.”

Texas prosecutor goes “Reefer Madness” on adjacent Texas prosecutor in Houston. Texas.

Posted in AAFS, Crime lab scandal, criminal justice reform, CSI, DNA mixtures, DNA profiling | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Furor over Criminal Justice Reform after police shootings in California

A gang member in custody for the double murder of his cousin and an officer along with the  wounding of another responding officer has brought out emotional statements from police on the subject of sentencing and prison release laws. California recently passed a new law on the subject which has been blamed by some public officials as endangering public safety. Here are the two sides focusing on events from Monday.

Police chief says Whittier officer’s slaying shows danger of criminal justice reform, but details are unclear. Los Angeles Times.

Official: Reforms didn’t cut sentence of suspect in killing. ABC News

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Old men seem to populate the courtroom experts used in the US CJ system

Image result for dim view

I’ve noticed this for decades while I later became a “senior” myself. Old folks populate the highest level of the American Academy of Arts and Science (and probably the American Academy of Forensic Sciences) who go to court as experts. Median age is 71!

This article talks about a survey of AAAS scientists pertaining to the legal system which hires some for proving “facts.” The title is “Many scientists take a dim view of the court system – until they take part in it.”

Posted in AAFS, criminal justice reform, expert testimony | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Today’s Look at #Forensics from Everywhere

Image result for earth cartoon images

Top 6 universities teaching forensic science in the UK. Dundee in Scotland at the top. Then Keele, Strathclyde, Bradford, De Monfort, Kent.

A common British cultural past time. Drinking from calvaria.

The Malaysian government defends  it’s expertise in handling the Kim Jong-nam murder.

Northern Ireland government declares “rogue” forensic crime lab was not a vendor for its DOJ. Here’s the latest on “hundreds of cases manipulated” in the UK by a commercial lab.

Persistence of “touch DNA” on burglary tools – abstract – Institute of Legal Medicine, Germany. 234 samples; “In total, we observed that the outcome depends mainly on the nature of contact, the handle material, and the user-specific characteristics.”

A look at 3rd molars studied for age determination in Saudi Arabian 18 year olds. “Cut-off” morphology. 

Racial disparities and mass incarceration (700 out of 100,000) in the US Criminal Justice System explained. 

 

 

 

Posted in Crime lab scandal, criminal justice reform | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Crime lab scandals reach the UK – Two labbers arrested – 484 cases questioned

Image result for uk police

Police to review 484 cases after criminal probe launched at private forensics laboratory

This affects police work involving toxicology in the UK. The years since demobilization of the government owned Forensic Science Service have not been nice. Standards “have been slipping” ever since.  I’m wondering what the UK Forensic Regulator’s auditors have to say about this.

“Two men have been arrested by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) over allegations that some 484 cases handled by Randox Testing Services (RTS) were affected by what the the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) called “data manipulation”.

It raised the prospect that hundreds of people could have been the victims of miscarriages of justice because of convictions based on incorrect test results in their cases.”

Posted in costs of wrongful convictions, Crime lab scandal | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Is this ‘fixing’ forensic science? Judge says police crime lab ‘blew it’

Image result for blew up

In a manner of speaking a judge said that in Boston….. It was that damned news media using that phrase, not the government agency that messed this up.

Here is a prime example what is wrong about not requiring police crime lab techs to talk about their methods and results in courtrooms. Just dropping off the results is beyond naive. Judges beware.

“Two years worth of alcohol breath test results from a state crime lab are being thrown out by a Massachusetts judge who ruled prosecutors couldn’t prove the facility was properly testing the machines that were used in tens of thousands of drunk-driving arrests.

Judge Robert Brennan ruled this week in Concord District Court that the state’s Office of Alcohol Testing lacked “scientifically reliable” protocols for calibrating the 350 machines from June 2012 to September 2014, and without clear, written standards for how the devices should be set up, their results can’t be used in a courtroom.”

Article from Boston

Posted in AAFS | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Where forensic lab reports are not testimonial – Wisconsin

Image result for mute witness cartoon

Apparently these judges in Wisconsin  believe through a circuitous logic that crime lab results are not available for cross-examination. Sometimes. They approved a pathologist to talk about a tox result at a hearing about cause of death.

As is usually seen in case law ‘changing,’ the 5-2 majority split hairs by distinguishing this tox result from previous federal case law by saying…….

“the majority opinion concluded that those decisions do not control here “because the lab report and its evidentiary use in Mattox’s [local case] case bear no resemblance to the reports or their use in Melendez-Diaz or Bullcoming.” [federal case law]

The majority noted that the forensic lab reports were requested by police for a criminal prosecution and were “affidavit-like or certified – providing the functional equivalent of trial testimony – significantly, about an element of the crime in each case.”

In this case, however, the biological samples were taken to determine the cause of death. They were not sent for testing as part of a criminal investigation against Mattox.”

That effectively does a few things:

  • Cause-of-death findings are not ‘criminal .’ That flies in the face of coroner investigations, inquests and maybe preliminary hearings.
  • Non-criminal forensic testing is not subject to cross-examination.
  • Makes forensic ‘testing’ unavailable for defense counsel.
  • Takes the pressure off crime labbers who have to run over to the court house all the time.

Article from the WI Bar Newsletter

Posted in expert testimony, Forensic Science | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

N Korea accuses Malaysia forensics of collusion over ‘inconclusive’ autopsy

Image result for hand sprayer

Forensic autopsies always get flack over inconclusive results that have political import. Now its Malaysia vs N. Korea regarding the airport/hospital death of Kim Jong-Un’s half brother, Kim Jong Nam. Four have been arrested in Kuala Lampur. Two seem to be females who were TV pranksters spraying people in the termina with water sprayers.

“Malaysia is one of just a handful of countries to have full diplomatic ties with North Korea, with each country having an embassy in the other’s capital. Malaysia has also been a key place for quiet, semi-official “track 2″ diplomatic talks between North Korea and with the United States.”

Full Article (published with an ‘entertainment’ tag).

Pictures and article of Kim Jong-Un collapse in the airport.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment