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!
A project to collect swabs of DNA from more than 500 Cuyahoga County probationers whose profiles were missing from state databases has so far netted 21 hits to crimes that gave police leads in unsolved cases or confirmed previous convictions.
The rise of big data, whether it’s publicly searchable DNA databases or records from cellphone towers, has inverted traditional investigative tactics. Previously, law enforcement relied on evidence to build a case around an individual, then sought a warrant from a judge to confirm those suspicions. Modern tactics, enabled by technology, allow law enforcement to trawl a wider — and more indiscriminate — pool before narrowing in on a specific individual.
The proposed changes — which the Marsy’s Law campaign supports — would require victims to opt in to many of their rights and specifically allow authorities to share information with the public to help solve crimes.
On May 25, the state Senate Appropriations Committee will decide whether to advance two bills that would demand the speedy testing of California’s large backlog of rape kits and the timely testing of all newly collected rape kits.
Delaware now is reviewing 640 kits, which long languished in Delaware police evidence rooms, and have now been tested and are being compared to DNA records on file in the state and the national CODIS data base.
An international team of academics have pushed out a new webtool for predicting eye color, hair color and skin tone that they say is pushing new boundaries for the science—especially since it is free of charge and available to all law enforcement agencies who want to use it.
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