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Posts tagged "evidence"

When emails are stored abroad, can a US warrant reach them?

The U.S. Supreme Court has just heard arguments in a case involving emails Microsoft stores on servers in Ireland. In a 2013 drug trafficking case, Drug Enforcement Administration investigators sought the emails using a warrant authorized by the 1986 Stored Communications Act.

Faulty forensic science contributes to improper convictions

Launched by CBS in 2000, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" has been called the most successful television series of all time. Between the original series, which ran for five seasons, and spinoffs that include "CSI: Miami," "CSI: NY" and "CSI: Cyber," the TV brand has generated 800 episodes, spawned a number of comic books, video games and novels, and served as the inspiration for a traveling museum exhibit.

Should DNA probabilistic genotyping be used against defendants?

When a crime scene sample has evidence of more than one individual crime labs attempt to assign the results to particular individuals.  When there are DNA alleles from only two people the process is usually straightforward -- there is a "major contributor" and "minor contributor" identified.  The problem becomes more complicated if there is evidence of DNA from three or more persons in the mixture.  Until recently, many labs reported results as "inconclusive" because separating the mixture of DNA was too subjective.  Then several software companies developed algorithms that could assign the DNA profiles to particular individuals by using statistical probabilities.  This method of "probablistic genotyping" has been controversial among scientists in the field and forced courts to confront much new evidence.

Wisconsin has no plans for independent review of bad evidence

After learning that its own hair and fiber analysis methods were faulty, the FBI has tried to identify all criminal convictions that relied on such evidence. The agency has initiated a nationwide review of all cases involving such evidence before 2000, when the FBI switched to the use of mitochondrial DNA analysis instead of the older techniques.

Bipartisan group pushes for restrictions in FISA reauthorization

A group of House lawmakers from both sides of the aisle has agreed to support extending the FISA Amendments Act, the law authorizing warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency, through 2023. It is currently set to expire at the end of this year. In exchange for their support, the group will push for changes and restrictions on the law that would bring it more in line with general search procedures. The restrictions are opposed by the Trump administration.

Open records of crime lab backlogs at odds with Schimel's claims

On July 27, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin sent an open records request to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. It was seeking reports on the operations of the state crime lab and whether there continue to be backlogs in processing evidence. Hours after the request was filed, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced that he would authorize overtime and create 11 part-time positions to help law enforcement collect DNA samples and other evidence.

Imprisoned for 45 years, Michigan man may soon be exonerated

For decades, Richard Phillips has insisted upon his innocence in a 1971 murder in Detroit. Now 71, Phillips may finally be released from prison after his co-defendant admitted Phillips played no role in the crime. A judge recently dismissed his conviction, although he also granted prosecutors a new trial. Prosecutors in Wayne County, Michigan, have vowed to appeal the reversal.

Federal prosecutor seeks 'therapeutic polygraphy' for sex offender

In 2004, the American Psychological Association said that there's "little evidence that polygraph tests can accurately detect lies." There simply isn't sufficient proof that the physiological responses measured by the so-called "lie detector" machine are actually caused by lying.

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