Nika Elise Larsen, a forensic scientist and crime scene investigator for Oregon State Police Crime Lab, faced a federal court on Aug. 15, 2016. Larsen pled guilty to tampering with evidence and theft of Schedule II type drugs through direct access to evidence in lockers while working out of Bend and Pendleton Oregon Crime Labs since 2008. Sentencing will commence on Dec. 12, 2016. The prosecution and the defense are recommending a three-year prison sentence. Due to Larsen’s tampering, around 1,500 cases are being reviewed by John Hummel, District Attorney for Deschutes County, Oregon, and by several Deputy District Attorneys. Reportedly, Larsen’s mishandling and tampering of evidence occurred with her own cases and those which she might have accessed in her eight years of employment at OSP. This case is one of several which have cropped up in the last eleven years through mismanagement and lack of oversight at OSP Crime Labs. Jeff Dovci allegedly overstated evidence in a 2005 criminal trial before he retired from the Central Point Oregon Crime Lab in 2013. He is now a private forensic consultant. OSP did an internal investigation and John Hummel found that Dovci had, “overstated scientific findings and minimized things that could have hurt the state’s case.” After reviewing the two cases that came into question, Hummel found that the convictions in question still stood on solid ground. A previous OSP forensic scientist, Kristopher Kyes, missed drugs and other substances in urine he tested at the Clackamas Oregon Crime Lab, which led to a review of 120 cases, 10 of which had potential discrepancies. This led investigators to reevaluate those 10 cases. The troubling trend of misconduct continues with OSP evidence technician, John D. Parrish, who was indicted on June [...]
Marriages in the United States producing firstborn daughters are more likely to end in divorce than those producing firstborn sons. It's been generally assumed that this is evidence of fathers’ preference for a son. Scientists have recently published a study in the journal Demography that challenges the conventional belief. The study-- co-authored by Duke University economist Amar Hamoudi and University of Wisconsin-Madison sociologist Jenna Nobles-- suggests that female embryos are actually hardier in the womb, and therefore more likely to reach full term if the expectant mother is in a stressful relationship. 'Girls may well be surviving stressful pregnancies that boys can't survive,' Hamoudi said in a press release. 'Thus, girls are more likely to be born into marriages that were already strained.' The researchers based their research on longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of U.S. residents from 1979 to 2010-- the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79).