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Science News - March 15, 2013

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Posted: March 15, 2013   4:35 PM

At a Massachusetts crime lab, retesting samples impacts current drug cases, a new crime lab on an Ohio university campus could spur collaboration, and Sweden has finally joined an international DNA database. Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:
The seven chemists in Massachusetts responsible for retesting the samples once handled by Annie Dookhan, who was recently indicted for misconduct, have seen their backlog increase from 400 to 14,000 cases in 7 months. With an increased backlog, local prosecutors might have a limited ability to charge individuals for drug crimes.
Construction of a new crime laboratory at Bowling Green State University in Ohio should begin this summer. The university hopes to collaborate with the lab and enhance the criminal justice and science programs.
The Kansas House Appropriations Committee recently turned down a request for $3.5 million that would start the construction of a new crime lab on a local university campus. While there is consensus that a new lab is needed, some argue that building the lab through the private sector would be more cost effective.
Rob Maher, a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Montana State University, discusses his research on gunshot acoustics and how he assists lawyers and investigators with examining audio evidence. Maher stresses the need for peer-reviewed science to help separate what can be valid evidence in a trial from pseudoscience.
Sweden has finally joined a DNA data sharing system with the rest of the European Union. However, critics warned that international DNA exchanges could lead to privacy infringements.

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