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 […]

Limitations of Forensic Odontology

In the past, we have blogged on the severe limitations on pattern recognition as a forensic science discipline. (Pattern Recognition is it Science or an Art?). In fact, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences pointed to one form a pattern recognition as being most problematic: forensic odontology. Most broadly defined, it is […]

Mass Spectroscopy for Lawyers Part 8: A scientific war, between spectroscopists and chromatographers is co-eution a problem in hyphenated MS work?

In a series of posts, we are going to talk about Mass Spectrometry. Introduction-The different configurations and the Electron Impact process What types of mass analyzers are there? What type of detectors are there? What types of analysis can be done? How do you read the output? How do they come to a qualitative measure […]

Mass Spectroscopy for Lawyers Part 6: How do they come to a qualitative measure using software?

In a series of posts, we are going to talk about Mass Spectrometry. Introduction-The different configurations and the Electron Impact process What types of mass analyzers are there? What type of detectors are there? What types of analysis can be done? How do you read the output? How do they come to a qualitative measure […]

What constitutes a “match” in forensic science?

The concept of a match at first look blush seems rather elemental.  However, if we really were to think of it, the concept is indeed fungible.  In forensic science, there is no universally held definition across all disciplines or even within a disciple as to what constitutes sufficient similarity to evoke that coveted and magic […]

Forensic firearm and toolmark analysis is unscientific

There is an joke in the criminal defense bar…. Q:  What does forensic firearm and toolmark analysis have in common with interpretive dance? A:  They are both totally subjective with no universal or applied method to determine the quality of the results. Why:  You see when it comes to this form of pattern recognition, meaning […]

Pattern Recognition is it Science or an Art?

We looked at the National Academy of Sciences body of work wherein it identified weaknesses in the way that forensic science in the United States is practiced.  One of the major areas that it focused on and ultimately took issue with concerned the body of forensic sciences loosely called pattern recognition. The basic pseudo-scientific principles […]