Category Archives: Forensic Industry News

New DNA odds spur review of old cases

DNA HelixTexas criminal justice organizations have begun reviewing thousands of cases that relied on an outdated method for calculating the odds that a particular person left DNA evidence at a crime scene.
At issue are samples that include more than one person’s DNA, such as evidence swabbed from a countertop after a convenience store heist or taken from bodily fluids in a rape kit. Experts revised national guidelines for calculating odds in these scenarios six years ago, but no one sounded an alarm or asked prosecutors to re-examine cases that used the previous methodology.

Henry Lee, UNH and China university collaborate to advance forensics with robots

Henry LeeWEST HAVEN >> Henry C. Lee, world-renowned criminologist and namesake of the University of New Haven’s Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science, made the point himself Tuesday that he’s 78 now and can no longer run out to every single crime scene.
But a new joint U.S.-Chinese forensic technology research center that UNH and the Bejiing-based China University of Political Science and Law announced Tuesday aims to develop robots that can do what Lee does, among other things, Lee said.

Health Network Labs acquires two forensic labs, broadens DNA testing services

Blue and white helixHealth Network Laboratories, headquartered in Allentown, has acquired two State College-based forensic DNA laboratories that provide testing services for human identification, paternity and criminal investigation.
HNL now owns Fairfax Identity Laboratories and Mitotyping Technologies, which recently merged to also provide comprehensive DNA testing services for immigration, estate settlements, adoption and species lineage.

Sign Up For Updates On The Spectrum CE System: STR Analysis for Forensic and Paternity Labs

Spectrum ImageDesigned for STR analysis, the Spectrum CE System is built to streamline and support forensic and paternity workflow needs. Spectrum combines state-of-the-art STR analysis functionality with increased run flexibility, auto-analysis, user-friendly software, and the service and support you’ve come to trust from Promega.
Spectrum CE System is expected to be available later in 2016.
Sign up to receive regular updates and announcements on Spectrum availability.

New FBI biometric tech facility speeds analysis

The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division began moving employees into its new Biometrics Technology Center in December just before Christmas, said Amy Hess, executive assistant director of the FBI’s Science and Technology branch.
The agency officially opened the center in August at its CJIS site in Clarksburg, W.Va.

WVU teams up with New York City lab chief to offer Lean Six Sigma certification for forensic science professionals

WVUForensic science professionals can obtain a green belt in Lean Six Sigma certification from one of the foremost forensics professionals in the nation beginning in March. The certification will be taught though the West Virginia University Center for Executive Education in the College of Business and Economics.

New bill would eliminate 10 day window to collect DNA evidence

sexual assault kits 5ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The way DNA evidence is handled could soon change, and it may have a major impact on criminal investigations in Florida.
An effort is underway to remove the expiration date on warrants for DNA swabs.

Memphis Opens DNA Storage Facility for Rape Kits

Memphis PDThe Memphis Police Department’s new $1 million property- and evidence-storage facility marks a milestone, according to top city and law enforcement leaders. To them it is an important point in the city’s three-year quest to clear a backlog of more than 12,000 unprocessed sexual assault kits that date back to the late 1970s.

Rapid DNA Data Utilized in Court to Obtain a Conviction for the First Time

PLEASANTON, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–IntegenX announced today that for the first time in the U.S., results from its RapidHIT® System were used in court to obtain a conviction in an attempted murder case in Richland County, South Carolina. This represents a groundbreaking development in the field of Rapid DNA, as the RapidHIT System is the first of its kind to have results presented and accepted in a court of law.

Inside the New Mission to Identify Pearl Harbor’s Fallen, 74 Years Later

73 years after _Pearl_Harbor_Identification_hb_151207_12x5_1600Seventy-four years ago today, Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, taking the lives of more than 2,400 U.S. service members and plunging the United States into World War II.

NIJ Report Outlines DNA and Forensics Investments in 2014

Justice DeptWASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, today released Fiscal Year 2014 Funding for DNA Analysis, Capacity Enhancement and Other Forensic Activities.
In fiscal year 2014, NIJ received $117 million in appropriations to assist state and local crime laboratories with DNA analysis, lab capacity enhancement, and other forensic research, development, training and technical assistance. This report documents how the funding was awarded and describes how the funds further NIJ’s mission to improve the quality and practice of forensic science.

Law Firm Scores $5M for Exoneration Case

Justice and DNACENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CN) – A law firm that defended three men who were imprisoned 18 years for a murder they didn’t commit got a $5 million payday from a federal judge on Monday. U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert granted the payout to the legal team of Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, who represented John Restivo, Dennis Halstead and John Kogut.

ISO 18385: The Creation Of A Forensic Grade Standard

ISO-18385Forensic DNA laboratories rely on reagent and plastics manufacturers to supply high-quality products with minimal interference from contaminating DNA. With the increasing sensitivity of short tandem repeat (STR) amplification systems, levels of DNA that were previously undetected may now generate partial profiles. To address the concern of laboratories worldwide regarding the potential of low-level DNA contamination in consumables, ISO 18385 has been developed to provide requirements for minimizing the risk of human DNA contamination events during the manufacturing process.
Many of you may not have heard of ISO 18385 so I’d like to give you an introduction to how the standard came to be.

Prosecutor Gahn named legal innovator for pioneering use of DNA

N GahnThe State Bar of Wisconsin decided to give out a new award this year, Lifetime Legal Innovator. The first winner seemed an obvious choice.
Norman Gahn pioneered the use of DNA evidence in criminal prosecutions in Wisconsin, a staple of the process now, but a novel, exotic and risky ploy when he began explaining it to Milwaukee County jurors in the late 1980s.

Defense Attorneys Demand Closer Look at Software Used to Detect Crime-Scene DNA

Justice ScalesLaw-enforcement authorities are turning to a computer program to overcome a common hurdle in crime labs—making sense of mixed-up DNA from​ crime scenes. But secrecy​ surrounding the software​ has​ fed into a national debate about how to balance commercial concerns and defendant rights.