Innocence Blog

Science News

Posted: July 25, 2013 2:00 pm

Selected prisoners convicted in Massachusetts drug cases that may have been affected by a rogue chemist may now be released on bail, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City deals with still more allegations of misconduct, and a crime lab technician from California avoids prison time.  Here is the round up of news for the week:


A Massachusetts Superior Court ruling has set a pathway for convicts in drug cases to be released on bail if those prisoners’ cases could have been affected by a rogue chemist at Hinton State crime lab. The chemist is said to have tested more than 60,000 drug samples involving 34,000 defendants.


According to the New York Post, current high ranking staffers at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) in New York City have taken wreckage from the 9/11 debris and the Staten Island Ferry crash home as souvenirs.  This follows a report from May of this year questioning the management and scientific protocols established by  leadership at OCME..


A crime lab technician from San Francisco who pled guilty to a misdemeanor in March has avoided jail time and received only a year of home confinement due to her taking cocaine from drug evidence.  This mishandling of drug evidence, which occurred in 2009 in the crime lab, led to a dismissal of 700 cases.


Researchers from the University of California, San Diego have developed a sensor system capable of detecting explosive compounds that can be worn on the fingertips of gloves.  An investigator can determine if explosive compounds are on objects at the scene by touching an object with their index finger and then pressing any transferred residue against a sensor that would be worn on a thumb.


A new crime laboratory will be built on the campus of Bowling Green State University in Ohio that will facilitate a partnership between the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the University. Long term research projects at the lab, an increased variety of forensic classes and degrees provided by the school, and student internships are expected from the partnership.