No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!
On Friday in Salem, the Oregon Court of Appeals is set to hear Cannon’s appeal. The case could change the way fingerprint evidence is presented in Oregon’s courts, or whether it should be allowed at all.
Scientists have sequenced the genomes of five new Neanderthal tribes. This gives scientists an idea about how Neanderthals lived. This also tells scientists when humans and Neanderthals began to interbreed.
The legal system is increasingly being asked to interpret what the symbols mean, particularly when an alleged crime has been committed and a text message (with an emoji) might end up being used as evidence.
For years one of the most common pieces of evidence left at the scene of a major crime shell casings have not been tested for DNA because of the extreme heat created by the ballistic explosion. But DNA analysis has become more sensitive, so SD Crime Lab technicians tested 1000 shell casings recovered from crime scenes and got useable DNA profiles from 25% of them.
Nevest Coleman was happy to be working again for the Chicago White Sox, and his old pals with the team were thrilled to have him back. In the 24 years between his stints as a grounds crew member, the 49-year-old was convicted of horrific crimes he didn’t commit, and he spent well over two decades behind bars before being exonerated by DNA evidence.
On 15 March, a 950-ton partially assembled pedestrian bridge at Florida International University in Miami suddenly collapsed onto the busy highway below, killing six people and seriously injuring nine. Forensic engineers are taking centre stage in the ongoing investigation to find out what happened and why – and, crucially, to learn how to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday signed a bill into law that intends to reduce the processing time of DNA lab tests, especially in cases of sexual assault.
The bill will allow the West Virginia State Police to contract with the Marshall University Forensic Science Center to process lab work related to the testing of offender samples for the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and DNA testing in criminal paternity cases, criminal casework and identification of human remains. It also sets out parameters by which law enforcement and correctional officers can use reasonable force to obtain DNA samples and allows for the collection of non-blood sampling of DNA (mouth swabs).