Please join the Public Defender’s Office for the Ninth Circuit on Friday, August 28th from 2:30-5 PM for an Arson CLE. John Lentini and Candice Bridge will be discussing the cases of Gavitt and Awe. In both cases, the testimony of fire investigators played a central role. Attendees will learn about fire investigation and laboratory analysis in the context of a criminal arson case. If you would like to attend, please email Angie Schmitt at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no cost for this CLE.
Genealogy databases have become popular tools for law enforcement. GED Match is one of those databases. It allows users to upload DNA profiles from various testing services, such as 23andMe. On July 19, hackers accessed this database and allowed police to search profiles that were not previously accessible.
As washing machines go, the one that contributed to Roy Verret’s capital murder charge was pretty average. White, Whirlpool, reliable. When detectives investigating a murder in Jeanerette, Louisiana, swabbed a dark spot on the lid in January 2017, he thought they were wasting their time.
I wasn’t stressing,” Verret said in an interview. “I knew it wasn’t anything to do with Howard.
Sexual violence involving a child is a particularly grievous issue, impacting the health and well-being of the victim. Having a compassionate, multidisciplinary, child-centered response to sexual assault can be a critical first step to promote the safety and healing for the child. The medical forensic examination is an integral piece of that coordinated response and this webinar will describe the new National Protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Examinations: Pediatric. These Pediatric SAFE Protocols, released in April 2016 by the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, address the healthcare needs of the child, promote their healing, and cover gathering forensic evidence for potential use in the criminal justice system.
The Winter Park Police Department, one of just a few agencies in Central Florida that didn’t use body-worn cameras, quietly ordered six officers to begin wearing them last week, just 12 days after the death of George Floyd intensified national scrutiny on police practices.
Chief Michael Deal said the death of the Minneapolis man in police custody caught on a bystander’s video prompted him to accelerate putting the body cameras out in the field.
IBM is getting out of the facial recognition business, saying it’s concerned about how the technology can be used for mass surveillance and racial profiling.
Ongoing protests responding to the death of George Floyd have sparked a broader reckoning over racial injustice and a closer look at the use of police technology to track demonstrators and monitor American neighborhoods.
Zachary Miller was napping in the car as he rode west through the Florida Panhandle, back to Texas and his cannabis business.
He was coming from a wellness expo in Miami where he had shown off waxes, oils and cigars made from hemp, a relative of marijuana. He awoke when his associate, driving the car, told him they were being pulled over.
Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputies started to search the car but Miller didn’t think he had anything to worry about. His products, he said, contained mostly CBD — the compound found in hemp and marijuana that doesn’t get you high and was declared legal under a federal hemp bill passed late last year.
The Trump administration has revived the debate over “end-to-end encryption” — systems so secure that the tech companies themselves aren’t able to read the messages, even when police present them with a warrant.
“It is hard to overstate how perilous this is,” U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a speech last fall. “By enabling dangerous criminals to cloak their communications and activities behind an essentially impenetrable digital shield, the deployment of warrant-proof encryption is already imposing huge costs on society.”
Attorneys with the Orlando-based law firm Morgan & Morgan joined Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala and Public Defender Robert Wesley Thursday to launch a nonprofit fund that would give bail money to low-income people who can’t afford to bond out of jail.
Outside the Orange County Courthouse Thursday, Matt Morgan said his family will match every dollar donated to the Community Bail Fund up to $250,000. The organization will also fight for criminal justice reform, he said.
Thirty years after the high-profile murders of four teenage girls at a North Austin yogurt shop, the case’s long-awaited closure could hinge on a single strand of DNA. That DNA, and samples like it, have fueled a growing national debate pitting scientific advancement against personal privacy concerns.
That’s all we’ve ever done is ask for help,” said Bob Ayers, whose daughter, 13-year-old Amy, was among those killed in 1991 in one of the city’s most infamous cases. “And now that we’ve found something, we can’t get it.”
Forensic judgments and their peer review are often the result of human assessment and are thus subjective and prone to bias. This study examined whether bias affects forensic peer review.
We hypothesized that the probability of disagreement between two forensic examiners about the proposed conclusion would be higher with “blind” peer review (reviewer saw only the first examiner’s comparison photos) than with “non-blind” peer review (reviewer also saw the first examiner’s interpretation and proposed conclusion). We also hypothesized that examiners with a higher perceived professional status would have a larger effect on the reported conclusion than examiner with a lower status.
We acquired data during a non-blind and a blind peer review procedure in a naturalistic, covert study with eight examiners (3-26 years of experience). We acquired 97 conclusions of bullet and cartridge case comparisons in the blind and 471 in the non-blind peer review procedure.
The odds of disagreement between examiners about the evidential strength of a comparison were approximately five times larger (95%-CI [3.06, 8.50]) in the blind than in the non-blind procedure, with disagreement about 12.5% and 42.3% of the proposed conclusions, respectively. Also, the odds that their proposed conclusion was reported as the final conclusion were approximately 2.5 higher for the higher-status examiners than for lower-status examiners.
Our results support both the hypothesis that bias occurs during non-blind forensic peer review and the hypothesis that higher-status examiners determine the outcome of a discussion more than lower-status examiners. We conclude that blind peer review may reduce the probability of bias and that status effects have an impact on the peer reviewing process.
Dr. John Cox knew as soon as he heard the baby’s cry that he had hurt his 1-month-old adopted daughter. He’d accidentally fallen asleep while cuddling the girl in bed early one morning last May, he said, and must have turned on top of her.
Cox, 39, a pediatric emergency room doctor at Children’s Wisconsin hospital, sat up, panicked. His hands shook as he assessed the baby, he said, fearing that he’d smothered her. She wasn’t in distress, but he said he could tell from the way she was moving her left arm that he might have broken her collarbone, a common injury in infants that typically heals on its own without medical treatment.
After a high-speed chase north of Orlando, Fla., sheriff’s deputies punctured the tires of a stolen Dodge Magnum and brought it to a stop. They arrested the driver, but couldn’t determine who he was. The man had no identification card. He passed out after stuffing something into his mouth. And his fingerprints, the deputies reported, appeared to have been chewed off.
So investigators turned to one of the oldest and largest facial recognition systems in the country: a statewide program based in Pinellas County, Fla., that began almost 20 years ago, when law enforcement agencies were just starting to use the technology. Officers ran a photo of the man through a huge database, found a likely match and marked the 2017 case as one of the system’s more than 400 successful “outcomes” since 2014.
Historical Cell Site Information cannot tell you where a client was at the time a crime was committed. Historical Cell Site Information is maintained by Cell Phone Companies for use in determining whether they have adequate cell phone “towers” to handle the potential usage by subscribers in a particular area. It was never designed to track or pinpoint a location from which a particular call was made. However, prosecutors are using Historical Cell Site information to create maps with the purpose of claiming a Defendant was located within a relatively close area to the crime scene or to refute an alibi. A Cell phone’s particular location can be tracked and pinpointed, but not through the use of Historical Cell Site data. We will discuss strategies for challenging the admissibility, the scope, and the weight of the prosecution’s proffered testimony regarding Historical cell site data. Attendees will learn the importance of challenging the proffered testimony under either Frye or Daubert. We will also discuss how cell phones “connect” to towers, which will be helpful in limit the weight given the Prosecution’s expert when she tries to claim the Defendant was in a general area at the time of the alleged crime.
Hundreds of state prisoners have successfully used DNA evidence to win exonerations in the past three decades — except in 13 states.
The states are Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont. Exonerations have occurred in the 13 states, but none in which DNA evidence was central to proving innocence, according to the Innocence Project and the National Registry of Exonerations.
The creator of Scientific Content Analysis, or SCAN, says the tool can identify deception. Law enforcement has used his method for decades, even though there’s no reliable science behind it. Even the CIA and FBI have bought in.
Just two years ago, GEDmatch was still an obscure genealogy website, known only to a million or so hobbyist DNA sleuths looking to fill in their family trees. The site was free, public, and run by two guys with a knack for writing algorithms that helped relatives find each other. All in all, it was a pretty controversy-free place.
That all changed in April of 2018, when news broke that police had used GEDmatch to identify a suspect in the 40-year-old Golden State Killer case. As the site emerged as a crime-fighting tool, some users and privacy experts began to worry about how people’s genetic data might ensnare them in criminal investigations, when all they wanted was to learn about their family history. The transition has been rocky for GEDmatch. One drama after another has engulfed the website: Police searches have grown increasingly invasive; the site’s owners tried to react with changes to its terms of service that ended up backfiring; and white-hat hackers pointed out glaring security flaws. But starting Monday, that’s all someone else’s problem.
BRENDAN MAX AND two of his colleagues in the Cook County, Illinois, public defender’s office got some good news and some bad news in the spring of 2018. Actually, it was the same news: The three lawyers had nearly aced a proficiency test designed for fingerprint examiners.
None of them had any training or real expertise in latent fingerprint analysis — the practice of trying to match a fingerprint collected from a crime scene to the known print of a suspect — aside from what they’d learned during their years working criminal defense.