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Forensic Examiners

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Wrongful Convictions: The Latest Scientific Research & Implications for Law Enforcement

March 2013

What does science tell us about case factors that can lead to a wrongful conviction? Dr. Jon Gould of American University will discuss the findings of the first large-scale empirical study that has identified ten statistically significant factors that distinguish a wrongful conviction from a "near miss." (A "near miss" is a case in which an innocent defendant was acquitted or had charges dismissed before trial). Following Dr. Gould's presentation, Mr. John R.

Backlogs and Their Impact on the Criminal Justice System

June 2010

Evidence backlogs have been known to be an issue in crime laboratories. A recent study published by NIJ has shown that backlogs of untested evidence are also an issue in law enforcement evidence storage. This panel will discuss the issues and present preliminary findings from a study of the Los Angeles Police Department's and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's experience with clearing out a large backlog of unanalyzed rape kits.

Are CEDs Safe and Effective?

June 2010

Thousands of law enforcement agencies throughout the United States have adopted conducted energy devices (CEDs) as a safe method to subdue individuals, but are these devices really safe? What policies should agencies adopt to ensure the proper use of this technology? This NIJ Conference Panel discusses the physiological effects of electrical current in the human body caused by CEDs, as well as how this technology can reduce injuries to officers and suspects when appropriate policies and training are followed.

How Research and Technology Are Expanding Sexual Assault Kit Testing

January 2016

NIJ Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences Director Gerald LaPorte and Deputy Director Heather Waltke, along with Heather LaSalle, Forensic Examiner, DNA Casework Unit, and Tina Delgado, Chief, Biometrics Division from the FBI Laboratory discuss how scientific advances can help jurisdictions process a large number of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits.

Impression Evidence: Strengthening the Disciplines of Fingerprints, Firearms, Footwear, and Other Pattern and Impression Sciences Through Research

June 2010

Forensic examinations involving specific forensic science disciplines are typically dependent upon qualitative analyses and expert interpretation of observed patterns based on a scientific foundation, rather than quantitative results. These disciplines include latent fingerprints, questioned documents, footwear, and other forms of impression and pattern evidence.