Daily Archives: July 11, 2014

How a Magazine Ad Helped Convict a Rapist

trialIn May of 1986, a woman in Orange County, Florida, was surprised by a man who entered her apartment and raped her at knifepoint. Despite the fact that she got a glimpse of his face, the chances of identifying and convicting her rapist were slim. Although law enforcement officers did their best to identify the perpetrator, their investigative techniques in the case were limited compared to our current set of forensic tools. That changed when Jeffrey Ashton, an assistant attorney for the state of Florida, saw an advertisement for DNA-based paternity testing in a magazine and began to wonder if DNA testing could also be used to identify the man responsible for the attack.

To reflect on this important advance in forensic science, Michael Baird and Jeff Ashton will be presenting The Birth of DNA Testing: A 25-Year Prospective at the 25th International Symposium on Human Identification. For more information, visit ishinews.

Vermont court: No DNA collection until conviction

helix.jpgMONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Supreme Court says the state can’t collect DNA from suspects in criminal cases unless they’ve been convicted of a felony.

Open Society Announces $5 Million Challenge Grant to Innocence Project

fenceThe Open Society Foundations has announced a $5 million challenge grant to bolster a campaign to establish a $20 million reserve fund for the Innocence Project.
Based in New York City, the criminal justice advocacy organization is dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reform of the criminal justice system. Since 1992, a total of three hundred and seventeen people, including eighteen who served time on death row, have been exonerated by DNA evidence; the Innocence Project was involved in a hundred and seventy-three of those cases.

Forensic lab a step forward

RwandaThe government will launch a Rwf6 billion forensics laboratory fully equipped with all the modern crime lab technology. The country’s forensics experts currently analyse physical evidence from the small Kigali Forensics Laboratory. This lab limits activities to finger prints and documents, among other few, leaving the crucial details of forensics to be done from outside the country.