Legal News

DNA’s Gold Standard Begins to Tarnish

By Alexei Garick   The forensic gold standard that is DNA has begun to show signs of tarnishing.  Once believed to be infallible, the shortcomings and potential errors inherent in testing ever smaller quantities of DNA have begun to show up in criminal cases throughout Washington and the country. In 2009, the National Academy of...
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Cursory Police Work Leads to Acquittal

by Aimée Sutton Any defense attorney will tell you that the phrase “Not guilty” contains the two sweetest words in the English language. My colleague Alexei Garick and I recently savored such a verdict when our client was acquitted of Child Molestation in the First Degree. When this case first landed on my desk, I...
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Six-Year Study Highlights Flaws in How Universities Handle Sexual Assault Claims

A recent report released by the non-profit organization Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) has attacked the predominant method for handling campus-based adjudications of sexual assault accusations. The SAVE report, titled “Six-Year Experiment in Campus Jurisprudence Fails to Make the Grade,” labels these proceedings as chronically inefficient, unfair, and occasionally harmful. The 2011 Dear Colleague...
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Child-Shaking Captured on Video Results in No Injury

In the decades-long debate over whether infant brain injuries result from violent shaking by an adult, it has not been possible to run the simplest kind of experiment. One cannot ethically shake babies and see whether they suffer brain injuries. But recently an indisputable shaking of a baby—indisputable because recorded on video—was found to produce...
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To Be Blind or Not to Be Blind? Forensic Interviews in Child Sexual Abuse Cases

An important question for forensic interviewers of children in alleged abuse cases is whether to gather information about the case before interviewing the child. The Supreme Court suggested in the 1989 case Idaho v. Wright that allegation-blind forensic interviewing may guard against leading children to make false allegations. In “Planning the Forensic Interview,” researchers Monica...
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