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Archive for February, 2009

The NAS Study: What’s Right with Forensic Technology Today

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

A report published February 18 by the National Academy of Sciences found that although there are “scores of talented and dedicated people serving the forensic community, […] they are often constrained by the lack of adequate resources, sound policies, and national support.” Due to these constraints, the study noted that some forensic techniques used in the U.S. crime laboratory system have evolved largely outside of scientific review and standardization, with the notable exception of DNA analysis.

The 2-year congressionally mandated study revealed problems including the lack of national standards for laboratory performance and training, as well as the absence of vigorous validation studies on commonly accepted forensic methods such as fingerprint and toolmark analysis. (more…)

DNA Evidence: Just One Tool in Criminal Investigations

Friday, February 6th, 2009

DNA evidence presented in a Toledo, Ohio, murder trial proved to be insufficient proof for a conviction, and jury members deliberated only 4 hours to acquit Darin Armstrong in the murder case of Marc LaShawn Draper. An expert review by DDC’s forensic DNA scientist, Dr. Julie Heinig, provided insights that led to the acquittal.

Mr. Armstrong’s defense attorney, Mark Geudtner, retained the services of Dr. Heinig to review the DNA testing completed by the state’s laboratory. He stated, “[Dr. Heinig’s] analysis and insights regarding the DNA test results in this case were extremely helpful to me and enabled me to successfully cross-examine the State’s DNA expert and to teach the jury the true significance (and limits) of the DNA evidence.” (more…)

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