Forensics : Learn a bit about DNA and Criminal Justice : Its not what you may think. [cliche’]


Gerald Richardson talks about his six months of freedom after a bitemark aided conviction.  DNA exonerated him.

How DNA Profiling Works – The Naked Scientist – [don’t worry its PG rated]

PCR-DNA testing: Animated for educational ease.

This next one is from the  NewScientist and is titled “Forensic Failure.” It shows revealing survey results from anonymized forensic science workers on the topic of the challenges they face [someone in the US should copy this idea.]

Questions and answers are specifically about the UK where the Queen’s government canned its nationalized Forensic Science Services a couple years ago. The new strategy adopted outsourcing forensic services to centralized labs and private vendors and put alot of people out of work. Here are the fss_survey_results. There is still alot of flack about this economizing in the UK media. Some patter in the US suggests the US system becoming nationalized. Won’t happen.



I call this “we don’t next no stinkin’ Rules of Evidence.

Here’s a real time example of what’s going on in US courts on what’s “standard” DNA report writing. As usual, the opposing attorneys take diametrically opposed positions on some very important DNA evidence. We all know lawyers were poli-sci majors in college.

A multiple murder case with varying degrees of pros vs defense battling about “who matches what” regarding multiple “hits. There’s a bit about Brady violation occurring about whether an “uninterpretable” [“unable to explain”] Florida crime lab result was hidden. The labber says “not” in court her court testimony. Something said about “science” rather than the rules of the legal system being controlling regarding discovery compliance. Very weird statement. Ive never heard that explanation used before.

Here’s a short quote.

“FDLE’s Tallahassee-based Chief of Forensic Services Karen Martin testified today. She denied hiding the DNA results and testified they were ruled “uninterpretable” [ not able to be explained ] because they did not meet FDLE’s minimum standards for comparison.

Martin said the decision not to turn over the FBI’s findings to TPD and the state was a decision based on science, not investigative aspects.

“The state contends the convicted drug trafficker named as a potential match by the FBI wasn’t even in the country at the time of the murders. The defense disputes that too.”




It’s not only pattern analysis that can be fallible – how about DNA? Its mostly about DNA mixtures, stat protocols and inconsistency of multiple analysts. via @ForensicOdont

Read more.

A commercial lab’s technical paper has more on this. “Mixture interpretation. Why is it sometimes so hard?

And the politicians use it to promote their own agendas. The latest on the Washington DC now-police managed crime lab. Head DC prosecutor signs long-term contract with girl-friend’s DNA company. 


About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
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