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Science Thursday - November 22, 2012

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Posted: November 22, 2012   7:30 AM

Possible errors of handwriting analysis are reported in Oregon, the Connecticut state lab has a new director, and attorneys argued over the quality of retested evidence from the St. Paul crime lab in Minnesota courts. Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:
In Minnesota, prosecutors have attempted to introduce retested evidence from the troubled St. Paul crime lab in court. The retesting was conducted because of alleged contamination and protocol problems. Prosecutors argue the confirmed results of retesting are valid, but defense lawyers worry a fear of contamination is enough to disqualify the evidence.
Details regarding possible handwriting analysis error in an Oregon crime lab have been reported. Because laboratory protocol might not have been strictly followed, out-of-state experts are reviewing 35 cases that were analyzed by the handwriting unit.
The Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory announced the appointment of a new director whose experience in “streamlining operations and maximizing productivity” can help address the current backlog of evidence. The director comes from the state forensic lab in Massachusetts which is separate from the Hinton State Lab associated with the current alleged misconduct.
Thousands of guns in Washington State have not been tested and entered into the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) due to staff and funding cuts. Spokane Police prepare to confront the backlog with the help of the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab.

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