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Conducting a Retroactive Review of Hair Microscopy Cases as a Matter of Shared Ethical and Professional Duty - Recorded Seminar at the NIJ 2015 Impression, Pattern and Trace Evidence Symposium

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2015
3 pages

This online registration page for the "On-Demand" course entitled "Conducting a Retroactive Review of Hair Microscopy Cases" presents a course description, recommended audience for the course, course accreditation, and background information on the presenter.


The course is sponsored by the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Forensic Technology Center of Excellence. It was originally presented at the 2015 Impression, Pattern and Trace Evidence Symposium (IPTES) under the section on Forensic Sciences, Forensic technology, Impression Pattern Evidence, and Law Enforcement Training. The course lasts approximately 50 minutes, is recommended for forensic practitioners, and presents a certificate to those who complete the course. The content of this course stems from issues and challenges in hair microscopy analysis identified in a U.S. Justice Department's review of procedures and forensic examiner decisions in cases involving hair microscopy analysis. The review found that 26 of 28 hair examiners overstated the extent to which they believed evidence hair matched the hair sample of a known suspect. This led to concerns not only about hair microscopy examinations in the FBI Laboratory, but also in State and local laboratories. In addressing this issue, the course focuses on how the Texas Association of Crime Laboratory Directors marshaled appropriate State resources to identify for review hundreds of cases involving hair samples. For course participants interested in conducting a similar review in their States, the course includes strategies for moving stakeholders from theoretical agreement to the practical implementation of a case review. The course also addresses the importance of proactive notification strategies for affected prosecutors and defendants, as well as access to mtDNA testing for affected cases. The presenter is Lynn Garcia, a member of the Texas Forensic Science Commission.

Date Published: August 1, 2015