Friday, October 12, 2012

Oregon State Police; Flawed handwriting analysis suspected; Dozens of cases under review; Prosecutors nix grand jury; The Oregonian;

STORY: "Experts examining criminal cases possibly tainted by Oregon State police handwriting analysts,"  by reporter Bryan Denson, published in the Oregonian, on October 7, 2012.

GIST: "Oregon State Police, confronted by suspected quality lapses by its handwriting analysts, have commissioned external examiners to review dozens of criminal cases to make sure they weren't tainted by mistakes. The two analysts were suspended with pay last spring and the head of the state police Forensic Services Division was reassigned after state police officials identified problems with handwriting analysis in a Umatilla County case. The number of cases under review has grown to more than 30 and may rise, said Lt. Gregg Hastings, a department spokesman. "In addition to those reviews (that) haven't been completed, other cases are also being considered for independent review," according to a state police statement on the investigation. A state police lieutenant and an investigator in the Clackamas County District Attorney's Office conducted a criminal investigation of the handwriting analysis problems last spring that concluded on June 15. A prosecutor reviewed the evidence and decided not to take the case before a grand jury, state police said.........Dingeman said state police want to make sure none of the suspected lapses in handwriting analysis tainted evidence or trial testimony. He pointed out that it is the rare criminal case that hinges solely on handwriting analysis. Fingerprint and DNA analyses are typically far more critical, he said."

The entire story can be found at:


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