In this super-sized episode, the guys interview several experts from a recent Expert Working Group on Human Factors in DNA analysis. The episode kicks off with Glenn posing a “Where in the World” question to Eric, followed by a discussion of their recent travels. Glenn also explains the decision to pivot from the previous episode on the Peacemaker case to focus on a new DNA topic.

In May 2024, the NIJ/NIST released a report on Human Factors and Forensic DNA Interpretation. Dr. Niki Osborne, the project lead and contractor for NIST, describes the origins of the project and the selection process for the Expert Working Group (EWG). Two EWG members, Jarrah Kennedy, Assistant DNA Supervisor at the Kansas City Police Crime Laboratory, and Michelle Madrid, DNA Technical Leader at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, discuss the report’s various recommendations. The conversation delves into topics such as bias, new software and computational approaches, activity level assessments, implementation, and enforcement within the DNA discipline. The episode concludes with Niki and Glenn discussing other forensic disciplines and future reports.

Report: Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Forensic DNA Interpretation (May 2024). Forensic DNA Interpretation and Human Factors: Improving Practice Through a Systems Approach. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, NIST IR 8503.

Jarrah Kennedy, Assistant DNA Supervisor, Kansas City Police Crime Laboratory
Nikola Osborne, Ph.D., NIST Contractor, and Project Lead for the Expert Working Group.
Michelle Madrid, DNA Technical Leader, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department