Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters, and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she made disparaging comments about him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb" comments about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

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The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

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Donald Trump picked a military town — Virginia Beach, Va. — to give a speech Monday on how he would go about overhauling the Department of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Prosecutors Knew Of Forensics Flaws For Years, 'The Post' Reports

Apr 17, 2012
Originally published on April 17, 2012 6:27 pm

For years, the U.S. Department of Justice has known that flawed forensic work by FBI experts may have led to the convictions of innocent people, but prosecutors rarely told defendants or their attorneys, according to an investigative report in The Washington Post.

The newspaper's series is only the latest by journalists to question some of the most well-known tools of forensic science. NPR, working with PBS Frontline and ProPublica, has done related reporting over the past two years.

That includes a story last month that revealed new evidence in the case of Shirley Ree Smith, a California woman charged with killing her 7-week-old grandson by shaking him violently. The story by NPR, Frontline and ProPublica raised questions about the original medical examiner's report, which was key to convicting her.

Earlier this month, California Gov. Jerry Brown commuted Smith's sentence.

Also this year, a Texas court threw out the conviction in another case NPR questioned. Now Ernie Lopez, who was convicted of raping an infant and charged in her death, faces a new trial.

In today's Washington Post, reporter Spencer S. Hsu says Justice Department officials began reviewing cases after defense attorneys pointed out problems with evidence coming out of FBI labs. But the review was limited.

"As a result," writes Hsu, "hundreds of defendants nationwide remain in prison or on parole for crimes that might merit exoneration, a retrial or a retesting of evidence using DNA because FBI hair and fiber experts may have misidentified them as suspects."

In one case, a Texas man — whose death penalty was based on the FBI's questionable analysis — was executed more than a year after the Justice Department began its review.

The Justice Department, in a statement to NPR, noted that it established a task force in 1996 to let prosecutors know about the investigation of practices at the FBI labs.

"The Task Force undertook an exhaustive effort involving thousands of cases to ensure that defendants' rights to a fair trial were not jeopardized by the performance of a criticized lab examiner," according to the statement. The FBI labs are used by federal, state and local prosecutors. The Post article says that "while many prosecutors made swift and full disclosures, many others did so incompletely, years late or not at all."

The Post series notes that of all the forensic techniques to come out of crime labs, only DNA evidence has been scientifically validated and "able to consistently and accurately link a piece of evidence to a person or single source." Still unproven, but often used, are analyses of fingerprints, hair and fibers, marks on bullets and shell casing, handwriting and the use of polygraphs.

In an interview with All Things Considered airing Tuesday, Hsu tells host Audie Cornish that from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, "the FBI lacked written protocols and invoked highly subjective techniques" to conduct hair and fiber analysis.

And Tuesday night, forensic science comes under more scrutiny in a documentary by PBS Frontline, working with ProPublica and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley.

Their reporting looks at how flaws in fingerprint analysis led to the false arrest of an Oregon attorney, who found himself on trial for participating in the 2004 terrorist bombings in Spain that killed 191 people. After a judge dismissed the case against Brandon Mayfield, the FBI offered a rare apology.

The Frontline documentary also looks at other dubious uses of forensic evidence, from the testimony of a "smell" expert in the trial of Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of the first-degree murder of her 2-year-old daughter, to a story NPR reported last year on how flawed bite-mark identification was used to convict two innocent men in Mississippi.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.