More information on the Cameron Todd Willingham Case

To inspire fierce and vitriolic debate in the legal-forensic community, all one has to do is to mention the name Cameron Todd Willingham. We have blogged on the case and other arson cases before: Fire Whisperers-the Story of Bad Arson Investigation In full disclosure this office and myself personally am litigating a “bad arson science […]

Crime Scenes are Never Contaminated, Right?

I recently had a prosecutor in an arson case state out loud in court, “Your Honor, crime scenes are never ever contaminated by investigators. Not accidentally, and certainly not on purpose.” Where do you start with that sort of statement? Perhaps you start with Fred Zane, Joyce Gilchrist, and others. But most recently is this […]

The Burning Bed- Has an Innocent Man Been Locked up for 35 Years for an Arson that Never Happened?

The Burning Bed- Has an Innocent Man Been Locked up for 35 Years for an Arson that Never Happened? In 1978, a 36-year old businessman who owned his own used car lot, and who had no meaningful prior record, was accused of setting fire to his house on purpose with his teenage son inside of […]

Closer to an 0.05 DUI standard–National Safety Council-Alcohol, Drugs and Impairment Division Report 2014

Closer to an 0.05 DUI standard–National Safety Council-Alcohol, Drugs and Impairment Division Report 2014 Here is an update here from the National Safety Council-Alcohol, Drugs and Impairment Division. As frequent readers of this blog know, the former National Safety Council (NSC) Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs (COAD) was upgraded by the National Safety Council […]

The Charles Smith Blog reports on the handwriting examination section of the Oregon State Police Crime Laboratory closing

I have been a long time fan of The Charles Smith Blog. It is firmly rooted in my Feedly RSS reader. It should be one of your regulars too. It always provides for great summaries of the forensic science stories that are in the news. For example here is his great treatment on the closing […]

Petition for Certiorari in the case of George William Yohe II v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

I wanted to share with you all the Petition for Certiorari in the case of George William Yohe II v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It was just filed with the United States Supreme Court moments ago. As you will recall, this is the case where the NMS labs Henry-Ford-Assembly-line-like forensic science method was argued to be […]

But they’re fixing forensic science, right?

Why can’t ASCLD or other accrediting agencies or the new DOJ/NIST National Forensic Science Commission be trusted to fix forensic science? I posted a harsh but true opinion piece about the newly appointed and announced National Forensic Science Commission (NFSC) here: Let the great whitewash begin: The National Forensic Science Commission This opinion piece provoked […]

Let the great whitewash begin: The National Forensic Science Commission

Here is an update to an earlier post: National Forensic Science Commission The publication for applications was made in the Code of Federal Regulations. The noble idea was to appoint people to a commission to look at the state of affairs in the modern practice of forensic science in the courtroom. It was supposed to […]

“I Googled it” said the crime lab

We have posted here before stories about drug seizures and identifications that are wrong. Basically, the old: “I know it is a drug just by looking at it” police work. It is a modern malicious marvel that creeps into the courtroom. Roadside screening tests such as the NIK Public Safety Reagent Based Tests Can Provide […]

The scariest words in criminal court: “Based upon my training, knowledge and experience”

Seven little words have likely cause more convictions than anything else in all of criminal law combined: “Based upon my training, knowledge and experience.” Every day, in thousands of courtrooms all across the Untied States this phrase is uttered. It has come to be the sine qua non in all criminal prosecutions. Many times it […]

Hands-on DNA Training for Lawyers

Hands-on DNA Training for Lawyers On November 15-17, 2013, the defense bar got a big boost in its quest to promote justice. In over 23 hours of hands on training, twenty attorneys assembled at Boise State University to learn DNA analysis. The course itself was taught by Dr. Greg Hampikian, Laura Wendell and Mike Davis. […]