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Science News - August 29, 2013

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Posted: August 29, 2013   11:50 AM

Lab employees in Arizona knowingly used faulty blood alcohol testing equipment, a Massachusetts state senator pushes legislation that will provide forensic oversight to state labs, and forensic scientists at a Minnesota lab research blood stain analysis. Here is the round up of news for the week:
After an Arizona judge threw out evidence in several DUI cases as a result of unreliable equipment, defense attorneys say lab employees kept using the equipment despite being aware of the problems. Various email exchanges show employees having concerns over the results yet testifying in court that the equipment was working properly.
A Massachusetts state senator continues to push legislation that will improve oversight and accountability in state forensic labs by creating oversight hearings, requiring timely reporting by labs and instituting accreditation compliance checks.
Forensic scientists at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension revealed the results from an extensive study of blood stain analysis. The research used slow motion video capture – capable of capturing 10,000 frames per second – to explore how blood travels as a result of a specific weapon injury.
The Utah State Crime Lab uses palm prints in a similar method as fingerprints to solve crimes. The state database of 29,000 palm prints can be examined by a computer program but is not error proof.

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