Just Erroneous Identification

Just Erroneous Identification

Original Release Date: December 17, 2020

In episode seven of the 2020 Case Studies season, Just Science sat down with John Vanderkolk and Marcus Montooth of the Indiana State Police to discuss erroneous identification and the Lana Canen case.

In 2005, Lana Canen was convicted as an accomplice for the robbery and murder of 94-year-old Helen Sailor. After serving eight years, her conviction was overturned, and she was released from prison. John Vanderkolk and Marcus Montooth were working for the Indiana State Police at the time that her conviction was being overturnedListen along as they discuss the need for updated training, the value of technical review, and the wrongful conviction of Lana Canen in this episode of Just Science. 

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

Listen to or download the episode here:

Guest Biography

John R. Vanderkolk received a BA in forensic studies and psychology from Indiana University in 1979. He is currently the laboratory manager at the Indiana State Police Laboratory, Fort Wayne. He became an ISP trooper in 1979, crime scene investigator in 1983, and criminalist in 1984.  He was trained in latent print, shoe and tire print, firearm and tool mark, and fracture examinations.  John, a distinguished member of the International Association for Identification (IAI), has been a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Forensic Identification, the Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study, and Technology (SWGFAST), the Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis, the IAI’s Standardization II Committee, and the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) Physics/Patterns committee. In 2005, John served as a consultant for the US Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, reference the erroneous identification of Brandon Mayfield as the source of a latent print in the Madrid, Spain terrorist bombing case of 2004. Since 2002, John has been collaborating with Dr. Thomas Busey, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, by studying experts and novices in forensic comparative science. John has lectured in China, Singapore, India, Slovakia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, and throughout the USA on topics related to forensic comparative science.

Marcus Montooth obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Evansville in 2001, and has been employed as a Forensic Scientist with the Indiana State Police since 2003.  He is an IAI Certified Latent Print Examiner, an ASCLD/LAB Certified Technical Assessor, an Indiana Law Enforcement Academy Certified Instructor, and an adjunct professor at the University of Evansville teaching Introduction to Forensic Science.  He has presented on various latent print topics for the International Association for Identification (IAI), Indiana Division of the IAI, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). 

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this podcast episode are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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