|A New York Trial Court precludes LCN and FST evidence after extensive Frye Hearing litigated by the Legal Aid Society’s DNA Unit (New York Law Journal)Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Mark Dwyer issued a written decision precluding the use of the Forensic Statistical Tool and low-copy number DNA in two cases litigated by the Legal Aid Society’s DNA Unit.New director appointed to DFS following suspension of DNA testing (D.C. Mayor Press Release)
On Friday, July 17th D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed Jenifer Smith as director of the Department of Forensic Science (DFS) following the politicized resignation of former director,Max M. Houck. Smith is a retired FBI special agent who “oversaw DNA analysis at the FBI laboratory, where she implemented numerous methods and testified in hundreds of cases.”
Related: Washington Post, MyFoxDC.com
Texas Court of Appeals puts death row inmate’s execution on hold, citing FBI population statistical errors (Washington Post)
Clifton Lamar Williams has been granted an indefinite reprieve from the Texas Court of Appeals after attorneys were notified that the FBI population statistics used to develop his DNA profile in court contained errors. In May, the FBI notified crime laboratories that the population database created and used to derive the likelihood of a DNA match were inaccurate due to clerical errors.
An Ohio Medical Examiner’s office has changed its reporting standards after a forensic chemist made “dozens of errors over a four-month span” (Cleveland.com)
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office in Cleveland, OH has implemented stricter reporting standards after an analyst was fired for failing to follow testing protocols in at least 27 cases. Forensic chemist Gagandeep Sran misreported results, ignored contamination protocols, and “cut corners by only testing one evidence sample from an entire case.” After Sran’s firing, lab analysts must photograph every sample and write detailed reports on the substances tested.
Australian researchers claim method of Low Template DNA testing on hair samples has lower error rates (ABC Australia)
Researchers at the University of Adelaide have modified low template methodologies on hair samples with qualified success. Their abstract is published in Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology.
Pennsylvania bill that would allow DNA collection after arrest passes state Senate, awaits House vote (Witf.org)
Pennsylvania Senate Bill No. 683 introduced by Senator Dominic Pileggi (R-DE), has passed the state Senate and will now go to the House of Representatives. The bill would allow law enforcement to take DNA samples from arrested persons, while current law requires a conviction before DNA can be obtained. State Representative Stephen Bloom remarked, “Technology is pushing the boundaries of our understanding of what is a reasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment…This is one of the bills in that nebulous place.”
Related: The Times Herald
New study says fingerprints can change over time (Discover Magazine)
U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, ruled in U.S. v Watson that statutory limit on Innocence Protection Act does not apply where new technological advances in DNA can be considered “newly discovered DNA evidence” (ABC News)
Related: KBZK 7, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Retrial sought because Louisiana Police made fake DNA report to illicit defendant’s confession; question over whether fake report was only generated or used in interrogations (KTBS)
Widow files lawsuit against San Diego after her husband was implicated in a murder investigation with DNA that may have been contaminated (NBC News)
Related: CBS News