Articles on Forensic science

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Home DNA testing has made it easy and affordable for millions of people to learn about their ancestry. Now, police are using this genetic information to identify suspects in unsolved crimes. Shutterstock

Privacy concerns don’t stop people from putting their DNA on the internet to help solve crimes

Despite privacy concerns over police use of DNA uploaded to ancestry websites, many people are just excited that their genetic material could get a killer off the streets.
Annie Dookhan, center, pictured with her family in a Boston courtroom Nov. 22, 2013, after she pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence. Dookhan was a state chemist. David L. Ryan/AP/The Boston Globe

How corruption in forensic science is harming the criminal justice system

Forensic science is only as good as the equipment and the people who calibrate it, some high-profile cases indicate. Thousands of innocent people have been harmed. Here's how.
The remains of an Ixil man emerge from the ground, one of the countless victims of the civil war in Guatemala. Tristan Brand/FAFG Fundacion de Antropologia Forense de Guatemala

‘It is the job of the living to save the dead from drowning’

The Ixil people of Guatemala dream of the places where their dead, massacred during the country's armed conflict might be located.
Does your body give away if you’re lying or not? AP Photo/Edward Kitch

Is a polygraph a reliable lie detector?

It would be great to know for sure when someone is lying and when someone is telling the truth. But no technology that purports to do so is foolproof.
False beliefs about language and speech underlie legal precedents that allow jurors to be “assisted” by unreliable transcripts of forensic audio. The Everett Collection/Shutterstock

Legal precedent based on false beliefs proves hard to overturn

Not all false beliefs arise from malicious misinformation. Some legal precedents rest on the status of everyday 'common knowledge', since shown to be false, but embedded in our law nonetheless.

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