Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another Ear Print Conviction Reversed!

by blogger bcs

Mark Dallagher was convicted of murdering an elderly woman based on an ear print mark left on the window. Cornelis Van der Lugt, a Dutch ear expert, testified that there was "a unique match" between Dallagher's ear and the impression left on the victim's window. Eight years later Dallagher's conviction was overturned, not because the prosecution all of a sudden doubted the validity of the ear impression testimony, but ultimately because DNA taken from the ear impression did not match Mr. Dallagher. Thanks to the erroneous testimony of Mr. Van der Lugt an innocent man was locked up for crime he did not committ.This article shows yet another example of an over zealous scientist testifying in court about ear mark evidence, when its validity has not been researched or peer reviewed.

"The validity of ear identification is unknown. The research that is necessary to say anything on the validity of ear identification has not been conducted."

It's a bird, it's a plane...

by blogger hcn

The museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. is home to the Feather Identification Lab which collects lefover bird remains from plane crashes. A feather found in the engine of recently crashed US Airways flight 1549 in the Hudson River was sent to the lab to attempt to identify the bird that is believed to have caused the plane to go down. The feather will be compared to thousands in their library and DNA analysis done to attempt to determine the species. They hope to identify the species of bird and possibly how many birds were involved.

One key to reducing bird strikes is to move the species causing the problem, she said. That might mean mowing a certain area, or filling in a pond frequented by a species of duck...

...And for high-profile crashes, identification both by feather structure and by DNA will be performed. A bird strike over the Bronx reported by the pilot minutes after Flight 1549 took off from La Guardia Airport may have caused both engines to fail, forcing the emergency splash into the Hudson.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You are what you eat...

by blogger mdb

Another reason to eat healthy...research is currently underway in Northamptonnshire on the salts deposited in fingerprints by crimals who eat a lot of processed food. According to Dr. John Bond processed foods being higher in salt causes the body to need to displace more salt, leaving high traces in the sweat depoisted with their fingerprints. Therefore criminals whoh eat a lot of "junk food" leave better fingerprints. This will help most in ballistics cases since the higher the salt content the more the metal of a shell casing may be corroded.

Dr John Bond, a researcher at the University of Leicester and scientific support officer at Northamptonshire Police, said processed food fans are more likely to leave tell-tale signs at a crime scene.

Also added by Dr. Bond, obesity ups your chances of being caught for comitting a crime. "Other research has drawn links between processed foods and obesity and we know that consumers of processed foods will leave better fingerprints,” So if anyone is planning a crime start shopping at Whole Foods and get rid of all that salt in your diet!