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Court Cases & Legislation

Court Case Abstracts

State of Connecticut v. Alfred Swinton
The defendant was convicted of first degree murder but appealed on the grounds that some of the evidence introduced against him should not have been admitted. At issue was the reliability of photographic images, on which the defendant based his appeal. Read the full abstract here.

Gregory Flynt Taylor v. Peter Duane Deaver, Joseph S. Taub, Mark Nelson, Ralph Keaton, Harold Elliott
A North Carolina man declared innocent of a murder for which he spent almost 17 years behind bars sued five former agents and supervisors of the State Bureau of Investigation, saying they either intentionally misrepresented blood test results or countenanced the practice. Read the full abstract here.

State of North Carolina v. Kirk Turner
The defendant Dr. Kirk Alan Turner was acquitted of first degree murder of his wife Jennifer Turner on the grounds of self-defense, based on bloodstain patterns. Read the full abstract here.

Legislation and Reform

S.132 - Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Reform Act of 2011
A bill to establish an Office of Forensic Science and a Forensic Science Board, to strengthen and promote confidence in the criminal justice system by ensuring consistency and scientific validity in forensic testing, and for other purposes.Read more about the bill here.

Track the bill's progress here.

National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Report 2009: Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward

Supreme Court Decisions

Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts
Issue: Whether a state forensic analyst's laboratory report prepared for use in a criminal prosecution is "testimonial" evidence subject to the demands of the Confrontation Clause as set forth in Crawford v. Washington (2004).Read more here.

Bullcoming v. New Mexico
The Confrontation Clause does not permit the prosecution to introduce a forensic lab report containing a testimonial certification through the in-court testimony of an analyst who did not sign the document or personally observe the test. If an out-of-court statement is testimonial, it may not be introduced against the accused at trial unless the witness who made the statement is unavailable and the accused has had a prior opportunity to confront that witness.Read more here.

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