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Archive for December 2010

New Years Laws in North Carolina and Beyond

New Years brings with it celebration of a New Year, and with it new laws. In North Carolina, new laws usually go into effect in the beginning of December. This past December, for instance, the state enacted harsher punishments for animal cruelty. The law enhanced the felony punishment from a Class I to a Class…

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Prescription fraud in Wake County

Since about August of 2010 I’ve seen an uptick in the number of people charged with prescription fraud in Raleigh. The reason seems to stem from increased concern among law enforcement. In August, law enforcement was pressing the legislature to grant authority to allow police access to prescription databases so that they could determine whether…

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How forensic DNA is collected, extracted, and profiled

DNA forensic analysis has come a long way since it was first developed in the early 1980s and commercially available in the late 1980s.  Improvements in collection, quantification, and amplification techniques have meant that forensic technicians – the men and women employed by places like the State Bureau of Investigation – are now able to…

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How to explain away forensic DNA at a crime scene

Let’s assume that a lab has come back with a report that a person’s DNA was found at a crime scene, and let’s assume that the technician at the lab hasn’t committed some kind of fraud.  For instance, let’s assume that the technician hasn’t falsified the results.  What could explain a person’s DNA at a…

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Basic overview of DNA and its use in Forensic Analysis

Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA is a substance that contains the genetic instructions in all human beings (and nearly all life, with the exception of certain viruses).  Think of DNA has a ladder that spirals.  The two long spokes of the ladder are called nucleotides.  The rungs of the ladder contain the molecules, called bases, that…

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