Tag Archives: science

Evolving forensic science prompts new look at old convictions | tbo …

On the morning of Oct. 8, 1988, Lloyd Martzs ex-wife found him slumped in the corner of his bedroom. The 49-year-old car leasing agent had been stabbed and beaten with a fire poker.

During his autopsy, a medical examiner noticed bite marks on his shoulders. Inside his Mercedes convertible, investigators found strands of brown hair.

Forensic experts concluded that the hairs and the bite marks belonged to Michael Annen, a 24-year-old Publix clerk. Martz had picked him up the night before his murder, when Annen was hitchhiking.

Prosecutors made Annen a deal: Plead guilty and avoid the death penalty. In September 1990, Annen accepted the offer and was sentenced to life in prison. After his hearing, he confessed to the murder, police records state.

But next February, Annen, now 51, will be back in court alongside Pinellas-Pasco Public

Read more at: http://www.tbo.com/news/courts/criminal/Evolving-forensic-science-prompts-new-look-at-old-convictions_163265786

Evolving forensic science prompts new look at old convictions

On the morning of Oct. 8, 1988, Lloyd Martzs ex-wife found him slumped in the corner of his bedroom. The 49-year-old car leasing agent had been stabbed and beaten with a fire poker.

During his autopsy, a medical examiner noticed bite marks on his shoulders. Inside his Mercedes convertible, investigators found strands of brown hair.

Forensic experts concluded that the hairs and the bite marks belonged to Michael Annen, a 24-year-old Publix clerk. Martz had picked him up the night before his murder, when Annen was hitchhiking.

Prosecutors made Annen a deal: Plead guilty and avoid the death penalty. In September 1990, Annen accepted the offer and was sentenced to life in prison. After his hearing, he confessed to the murder, police records state.

But next February, Annen, now 51, will be back in court alongside Pinellas-Pasco Public

Read more at: http://www.tbo.com/news/courts/criminal/Evolving-forensic-science-prompts-new-look-at-old-convictions_163265786

What better forensic science can reveal about the JFK assassination

Clifford Spiegelman, Texas AM University

(THE CONVERSATION) Popular television shows such as the “Law Order,” “CSI” and “NCIS” franchises glorify forensic science as a magical, near-flawless tool for identifying criminals. Not surprisingly, Hollywood’s depiction of forensic science needs a reality makeover.

The “CSI effect” is well-documented. As long ago as 2009, scientists with the National Research Council noted that no forensic method (except for nuclear DNA analysis) can reliably and consistently connect evidence to a specific individual or source. More recently, President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology reported that pattern-matching forensic procedures are unreliable. The Innocence Project has exonerated many hundreds of wrongfully convicted people, and bad forensic science was found to be a contributing factor in about half of the original cases.

These problems are not new. Six years before the National Research Council’s 2009 report, I was on a panel of the

Read more at: http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/What-better-forensic-science-can-reveal-about-the-12412422.php

What better forensic science can reveal about the JFK assassination …

Clifford Spiegelman, Texas AM University

(THE CONVERSATION) Popular television shows such as the “Law Order,” “CSI” and “NCIS” franchises glorify forensic science as a magical, near-flawless tool for identifying criminals. Not surprisingly, Hollywood’s depiction of forensic science needs a reality makeover.

The “CSI effect” is well-documented. As long ago as 2009, scientists with the National Research Council noted that no forensic method (except for nuclear DNA analysis) can reliably and consistently connect evidence to a specific individual or source. More recently, President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology reported that pattern-matching forensic procedures are unreliable. The Innocence Project has exonerated many hundreds of wrongfully convicted people, and bad forensic science was found to be a contributing factor in about half of the original cases.

These problems are not new. Six years before the National Research Council’s 2009 report, I was on a panel of the

Read more at: http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/What-better-forensic-science-can-reveal-about-the-12412422.php

CSE student interns at Center for Forensic Science Research and Education

​Illegal narcotics, laboratories, court proceedings and sensitive information all sound like the makings of an incredible new crime drama. However, it was a real-life experience for CSE senior Paul Nguyen, chemistry, ’18, while he interned at the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education in Willow Grove, Pa.

“We identified different types of drugs, learned from the bomb squad and even got to attend a Vidocq Society meeting,” said Nguyen, who hails from Collingswood, N.J. The Vidocq Society is a group of law enforcement officers, chemists, former CIA agents and other specialists that meet once a month to try and solve cold cases.

A fan of crime television shows, Nguyen initially hoped to emulate the forensic chemists he would watch on TV. However, he quickly realized his field required a lot more attention to detail and couldn’t simply be wrapped up in just 45 minutes. Luckily, he enjoys the meticulous nature of

Read more at: https://morristowngreen.com/2017/11/08/cse-student-interns-at-center-for-forensic-science-research-and-education/

Scaring up a little science

From blood splatter and fingerprints to bullet holes and toxicology reports, the San Mateo County Forensic Laboratory and Coroner’s Office is inviting the public to come get spooky.



Danny Tolero reviews a mock crime scene set up at the forensic laboratory open this Friday to the public.

Read more at: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/news/local/scaring-up-a-little-science/article_2e1743f4-bacf-11e7-9629-6795ad1b3da8.html

Watch John Oliver Call Out ‘Bullshit’ Forensic Science

Forensic evidence may appear foolproof on flashy TV crime dramas, but as John Oliver detailed on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, these techniques often breed “bullshit” results in real life. “Prosecutors often complain about a so-called ‘CSI effect,’ where jurors expect to see forensic evidence in every case,” the comedian said. “The problem is: Not all forensic science is as reliable as we’ve become accustomed to believe.”

Numerous studies have called into question the validity of some forensic evidence. A 2016 Presidential Science

Read more at: http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/news/watch-john-oliver-call-out-bullshit-forensic-science-w506524

Flawed science leads to wrongful convictions

BOSTON — Two hairs that looked like the victim’s; some dirt on a truck like that taken from the crime scene; a pattern on the bumper that resembled a design on the victim’s popular brand of jeans. The case against Steven Barnes in the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl seemed circumstantial, at best.

So the guilty verdict shocked him.

“I was saying, ‘This can’t be happening. You can’t convict somebody on similarities, perhaps or maybes,’” Barnes said.

He spent the next 20 years in prison before DNA testing exonerated him, becoming one of hundreds of people convicted in whole or in part on forensic science that has come under fire during the past decade.

Some of that science — analysis of bite marks, latent fingerprints, firearms identification, burn patterns in arson investigations, footwear patterns and tire treads — was once considered sound, but is now being denounced by some lawyers and scientists

Read more at: http://www.columbian.com/news/2017/aug/21/flawed-science-leads-to-wrongful-convictions/

Fallen forensics: Judges routinely allow disavowed science

BOSTON (AP) — Two hairs that looked like the victim’s; some dirt on a truck like that taken from the crime scene; a pattern on the bumper that resembled a design on the victim’s popular brand of jeans. The case against Steven Barnes in the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl seemed circumstantial, at best.

So the guilty verdict shocked him.

“I was saying, ‘This can’t be happening. You can’t convict somebody on similarities, perhaps or maybes,’” Barnes said.

He spent the next 20 years in prison before DNA testing exonerated him, becoming one of hundreds of people convicted in whole or in part on forensic science that has come under fire during the past decade.

Some of that science — analysis of bite marks, latent fingerprints, firearms identification, burn patterns in arson investigations, footwear patterns and tire treads

Read more at: http://wtop.com/science/2017/08/fallen-forensics-judges-routinely-allow-disavowed-science-2/