Innocence Blog

Science Thursdays

Posted: November 8, 2012 5:30 pm

The testimony of a forensic pathologist from Mississippi is under review, the Massachusetts’ Governor seeks funds to handle a crime lab scandal, and a Washington D.C. crime lab director works to reduce the rate of errors in evidence testing.  Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:


Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will seek $30 million from the state legislature in order to cover costs incurred when a Hinton State Crime Lab chemist allegedly ignored protocols and faked drug test results.


The newly appointed head of the Department of Forensic Services in Washington, D.C. will install protocols to avoid possible scandals that plague other crime labs around the country.  Such protocols include blind case reviews, instituting an ombudsman, and automatic retesting of a certain percentage of evidence samples.


Serious questions persist about blood-alcohol content (BAC) testing results from a Colorado state lab. Though the results can vary greatly, the lab does not provide an error range.  Seventeen hundred cases were retested earlier in the year due to a technician’s improper operation of lab equipment.


The Harris County Forensic Genetics Laboratory that serves Texas recently opened a new facility that will remain independent from law enforcement and reduce the backlog of rape kit testing.  The county approved spending $7 million for the facility earlier in the year.


The testimony of a forensic pathologist from Mississippi is being reviewed in order to determine the accuracy of his claims about his lack of certification by the American Board of Pathology.