Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY COURSE MATERIAL



የህግ ሳይንስ፤ህግ፤እና መድሃኒት፤
1.የህግ ሳይንስና የህግ ትርጉምና ምና
የህግ ሳይንስና የህግ ምና ወንጀልን ማጣራት ነው፡፡ህግ መስፈርት ነው፡፡የህግ ሳይንስ ህግ መጣሱን የምናጣራበት ሂዴት ነው፡፡
2.ስነ -ልቦናና መድሃኒት
ስነ - ልቦና ስነ -ልቦናን ያጠናል፡፡መድሃኒት ደግሞ ይፈውሳል፡፡
Chapter – five
Forensic psychology law and psychiatry
1.meaning and role of forensic psychology and law
How Forensic Psychology is Framing Our Legal System
The field of forensics is often associated with objective truths: fingerprints left on a murder weapon, DNA evidence taken from a toothbrush, crime scene investigators in lab coats collecting hairs and clothing fibers for further investigation. Another equally important component of forensics, however, lies in deciphering the motives of the accused. After all, the legal system—the police, lawyers, and judges that prosecute and defend people charged with crimes—know that DNA and fingerprints are not the only things that define us as unique individuals. Increasingly, forensic psychologists have been called upon to bridge the gap between psychology, defined as the study of human behavior and the law.
There are many points at which the field of psychology and the legal system intersect. A person convicted of a crime and found to be mentally ill, for example, will inevitably cross paths with several members of the psychological profession during the legislative process. The generally accepted definition of forensic psychology, though, limits the definition exclusively branch of psychology directly associated with legal decisions. Today, forensic psychology plays a critical role in our judicial system, from the initial apprehension of criminals to the appeals process that might eventually set them free.
Forensic psychology aims to help law professionals remove human error when handling trials. Lawyers, judges, jurors, and witnesses that populate the judicial system are often subject to personal biases. The dangers behind such biases stem from the fact that they are often subconscious manifestations of historical experiences. The role of forensic psychology, of course, is to gain insight into the human mind and utilize the insight to shape legal proceedings in an objective manner.
Forensic Psychology and Jury Selection
In the United States, both the prosecution and defense help select trial juries, and both sides often employ the use of jury consultants to aid in the selection process. Many of these consultants are from the field of psychology. These experts guide the law teams to ask potential jurors specific questions to determine the likelihood that they will favor one side or the other, a process known by the Latin phrase “voir dire.” Jury questionnaires ask questions about the jurors’ personalities, personal experiences, attitudes, education, and, perhaps most importantly in high-profile cases, prior knowledge of the case. Meanwhile, consultants pay close attention to nonverbal cues during the questioning, watching for facial expressions, head nods, and other signs that a juror has a bias toward one particular side. For example, a forensic psychologist could ask the jury questions probing at past experiences with confidentiality of trade agreements during a voir dire examination for a patent-infringement case.
Typically, defense teams are more likely than their opponents to hire jury consultants, but prosecution teams are increasingly using professionals to help them win cases. During the Scott Peterson murder trial, the prosecution hired jury consultant Howard Varinsky, who also worked with the prosecution on the Martha Stewart case. His work may have helped level the playing field against the defense’s expert Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, who some say had an instrumental role in the outcome of the O.J. Simpson trial. Scott Peterson was eventually convicted of murder.
The voir dire process remains as much of an art as a science; there is no guarantee that such indicators are reliable, but legal teams continue to rely on forensic psychologists and other experts in human behavior to help “stack the jury” in favor of their side.
Forensic Psychologists as Expert Witnesses
Forensic psychologists are often called to testify about the mental capacity of a defendant. Some high-profile trials involve the defense team seeking a verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity.” While these cases are actually very rare, they tend to garner a lot of attention in the media. More commonly, psychologists are called upon to prove “diminished capacity,” which doesn’t necessarily change the verdict, but might result in a lesser sentence.
One of the most notable cases of the insanity defense was the 1982 trial of John Hinckley Jr., whose defense team successfully convinced a jury that he was insane when he attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. Public outcry in the years following the trial led many states to restrict the use of the insanity defense or, in some cases, allow juries to find a defendant mentally ill but still guilty of committing a crime.[i] In all cases involving an insanity or diminished mental capacity defense, testimony of forensic mental health professionals is key to the outcome of the trial.
Forensic Psychologist as Reformer
An increasingly important role in forensic psychology in the courts is to question the veracity of traditional testimony, from confessions to eyewitness accounts to suspect identification. It has been known for decades that eyewitness testimony, despite the important role it plays in convincing members of the jury of a suspect’s guilt or innocence, is highly unreliable. Many psychologists, most notably Professor Gary Wells of the University of Iowa, have done exhaustive research in the field, proving that memory is not like a tape recorder, but is instead highly suggestible and prone to bias. Some of these findings have helped prompt reforms in evidence-gathering procedures such as police lineups, where reliability can be greatly improved with a few changes. Backed with mounds of evidence, the American Psychological Association (APA) has encouraged the courts to allow defendants to more easily challenge the reliability of witnesses. However, psychologists aren’t typically allowed to testify on the reliability of witnesses during trials, leaving such a judgment up to jury, and a recentSupreme Court decision upheld the fairness of this practice.
From the initial jury selection to the admittance of expert opinion, forensic psychologists hold prominent roles in virtually all steps of the legislative process. This trend has been driven by the increasingly scientific acumen that the field of psychology has adopted in recent years. In today’s high-stakes legal system, lawyers use every weapon in their arsenal to win their case. Forensic psychology has been a proven method at understanding the how the human brain affects criminal behavior. Below are two more contemporary cases that further exemplify how forensic psychology is shaping the field of law today.
Andrea Yates was accused in 2002 of drowning her five children in a bathtub. Initially found guilty, the Yates case was overturned as a result of psychiatrist Park Dietz’s materially false testimony during the trial. After the appeal, Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity, allowing her to serve her sentence in a low-security mental health institution instead of prison.
Jared Loughner was accused of attempted assassination of Congresswoman Giffords of Arizona along with 49 other counts.  The latest ruling found Loughner unable to comprehend the proceedings against him, giving doctors four months to rehabilitate Loughner’s mental state. Christina Pietz, Loughner’s primary psychologist, recently reported that Loughner had gone through extensive changes since being accepted to the mental ward. Until he is found medically capable of understanding the charges against him, however, Loughner’s fate remains in the hands of expert psychologists such as Pietz.

Forensic psychology is the intersection between psychology and the criminal justice system. It involves understanding criminal law in the relevant jurisdictionsin order to be able to interact appropriately with judges, attorneys and otherlegal professionals. An important aspect of forensic psychology is the ability totestify in court, reformulating psychological findings into the legal language of the courtroom, providing information to legal personnel in a way that can be understood.[1] Further, in order to be a credible witness, for example in the United States, the forensic psychologist must understand the philosophy, rules and standards of the American judicial system. Primary is an understanding of the adversarial system. There are also rules about hearsay evidence and most importantly, the exclusionary rule. Lack of a firm grasp of these procedures will result in the forensic psychologist losing credibility in the courtroom.[2] A forensic psychologist can be trained in clinical, social, organizational or any other branch of psychology.[3] In the United States, the salient issue is the designation by the court as an expert witness by training, experience or both by the judge. Generally, a forensic psychologist is designated as an expert in a particular jurisdiction. The number of jurisdictions in which a forensic psychologist qualifies as an expert increases with experience and reputation. Forensic neuropsychologists are generally asked to appear as expert witnesses in court to discuss cases that involves issues with the brain or brain damage. They also deal with issues of whether a person is legally competent enough to stand trial.
According to R.J. Gregory in Psychological Testing: History, Principles, and Application, the main roles of a psychologist in the court system are eight-fold:
Evaluation of possible malingering
Assessment of mental state for insanity plea
Competency to stand trial
Prediction of violence and assessment of risk
Evaluation of child custody in divorce
Assessment of personal injury
Interpretation of polygraph data
Specialized forensic personality assessment
Questions asked by the court of a forensic psychologist are generally not questions regarding psychology but are legal questions and the response must be in language the court understands. For example, a forensic psychologist is frequently appointed by the court to assess a defendant's competency to stand trial. The court also frequently appoints a forensic psychologist to assess the state of mind of the defendant at the time of the offense. This is referred to as an evaluation of the defendant's sanity or insanity (which relates to criminal responsibility) at the time of the offense.[4] These are not primarily psychological questions but rather legal ones. Thus, a forensic psychologist must be able to translate psychological information into a legal framework.[5]
Forensic psychologists provide sentencing recommendations, treatment recommendations, and any other information the judge requests, such as information regarding mitigating factors, assessment of future risk, and evaluation of witness credibility. Forensic psychology also involves training and evaluating police or other law enforcement personnel, providing law enforcement with criminal profiles and in other ways working with police departments. Forensic psychologists work both with the Public Defender, the States Attorney, and private attorneys. Forensic psychologists may also help with jury selection.[6]
Contents
1 Distinction between forensic and therapeutic evaluation
2 Forensic psychology practice
o 2.1 Malingering
o 2.2 Competency evaluations
o 2.3 Sanity evaluations
o 2.4 Sentence mitigation
o 2.5 Other evaluations
o 2.6 Ethical implications
3 See also
4 Footnotes
5 Further reading
6 External links

Distinction between forensic and therapeutic evaluation
A forensic psychologist's interactions with and ethical responsibilities to the client differ widely from those of a psychologist dealing with a client in a clinical setting.[7]
Scope. Rather than the broad set of issues a psychologist addresses in a clinical setting, a forensic psychologist addresses a narrowly defined set of events or interactions of a nonclinical nature.
Importance of client's perspective. A clinician places primary importance on understanding the client's unique point of view, while the forensic psychologist is interested in accuracy, and the client's viewpoint is secondary.
Voluntariness. Usually in a clinical setting a psychologist is dealing with a voluntary client. A forensic psychologist evaluates clients by order of a judge or at the behest of an attorney.
Autonomy. Voluntary clients have more latitude and autonomy regarding the assessment's objectives. Any assessment usually takes their concerns into account. The objectives of a forensic examination are confined by the applicable statutes or common law elements that pertain to the legal issue in question.
Threats to validity. While the client and therapist are working toward a common goal, although unconscious distortion may occur, in the forensic context there is a substantially greater likelihood of intentional and conscious distortion.
Relationship and dynamics. Therapeutic interactions work toward developing a trusting, empathic therapeutic alliance, a forensic psychologist may not ethically nurture the client or act in a "helping" role, as the forensic evaluator has divided loyalties and there are substantial limits on confidentiality he can guarantee the client. A forensic evaluator must always be aware of manipulation in the adversary context of a legal setting. These concerns mandate an emotional distance that is unlike a therapeutic interaction.
Pace and setting. Unlike therapeutic interactions which may be guided by many factors, the forensic setting with its court schedules, limited resources, and other external factors, place great time constraints on the evaluation without opportunities for reevaluation. The forensic examiner focuses on the importance of accuracy and the finality of legal dispositions.
Forensic psychology practice
The forensic psychologist views the client or defendant from a different point of view than does a traditional clinical psychologist. Seeing the situation from the client's point of view or "empathizing" is not the forensic psychologist's task. Traditional psychological tests and interview procedure are not sufficient when applied to the forensic situation. In forensic evaluations, it is important to assess the consistency of factual information across multiple sources. Forensic evaluators must be able to provide the source on which any information is based. While psychologists infrequently have to be concerned about malingering or feigning illness in a non-criminal clinical setting, a forensic psychologist must be able to recognize exaggerated or faked symptoms. Malingering exists on a continuum so the forensic psychologist must be skilled in recognizing varying degrees of feigned symptoms.[8]
Forensic psychologists perform a wide range of tasks within the criminal justice system. By far the largest is that of preparing for and providing testimony in the court room. This task has become increasingly difficult as attorneys have become sophisticated at undermining psychological testimony.[9] Evaluating the client, preparing for testimony, and the testimony itself require the forensic psychologist to have a firm grasp of the law and the legal situation at issue in the courtroom, using the Crime Classification Manual and other sources.[10][11] This knowledge must be integrated with the psychological information obtained from testing, psychological and mental status exams, and appropriate assessment of background materials, such as police reports, prior psychiatric or psychological evaluations, medical records and other available pertinent information.[5]
Malingering
An overriding issue in any type of forensic assessment is the issue of malingering and deception. A defendant may be intentionally faking a mental illness or may be exaggerating the degree of symptomatology. The forensic psychologist must always keep this possibility in mind. It is important if malingering is suspected to observe the defendant in other settings as it is difficult to maintain false symptoms consistently over time.[12] In some cases, the court views malingering or feigning illness as obstruction of justice and sentences the defendant accordingly. InUnited States v. Binion, malingering or feigning illness during a competency evaluation was held to be obstruction of justice and led to an enhanced sentence.[13] As such, fabricating mental illness in a competency-to-stand-trial assessment now can be raised to enhance the sentencing level following a guilty plea.[13]
Competency evaluations
If there is a question of the accused's competency to stand trial, a forensic psychologist is appointed by the court to examine and assess the individual. The individual may be in custody or may have been released on bail. Based on the forensic assessment, a recommendation is made to the court whether or not the defendant is competent to proceed to trial. If the defendant is considered incompetent to proceed, the report or testimony will include recommendations for the interim period during which an attempt at restoring the individual's competency to understand the court and legal proceedings, as well as participate appropriately in their defense will be made.[14]Often, this is an issue of committed, on the advice of a forensic psychologist, to a psychiatric treatment facility until such time as the individual is deemed competent.[4]
As a result of Ford v. Wainwright, a case by a Florida inmate on death row that was brought before the Supreme Court of the United States, forensic psychologists are appointed to assess the competency of an inmate to be executed in death penalty cases.[15][16][17]
Sanity evaluations
The forensic psychologist may also be appointed by the court to evaluate the defendant's state of mind at the time of the offense. These are defendants who the judge, prosecutor or public defender believe, through personal interaction with the defendant or through reading the police report, may have been significantly impaired at the time of the offense. In other situations, the defense attorney may decide to have the defendant plead not guilty by reason of insanity. In this case, usually the court appoints forensic evaluators and the defense may hire their own forensic expert. In actual practice, this is rarely a plea in a trial. A plea for insanity is actually used in only 1 in 1000 cases. Assessments that would be used can include the Mental State at time of Offense (MSO), an assessment that judges the individual's mental state when the offense was committed, helping to decide whether they should be held liable for the crime. The individual can also plea 'Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity' (NGRI) or 'Guilty but Mentally Ill' (GBMI), cases where the individual will start their sentence in a mental health facility and then complete it in correctional facility. Usually any judgments about the defendant's state of mind at the time of the offense are made by the court before the trial process begins.[18]
Sentence mitigation
Even in situations where the defendant's mental disorder does not meet the criteria for a not guilty by reason of insanity defense, the defendant's state of mind at the time, as well as relevant past history of mental disorder and psychological abuse can be used to attempt a mitigation of sentence. The forensic psychologist's evaluation and report is an important element in presenting evidence for sentence mitigation. In Hamblin v. Mitchell, 335 F.3d 482 (6th Cir. 2003), the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision of a lower court because counsel did not thoroughly investigate the defendant's mental history in preparation for the sentencing phase of the trial. Specifically, the court stated that such investigation should include members of the defendant's immediate and extended family, medical history, and family and social history (including physical and mental abuse, domestic violence, exposure to traumatic events and criminal violence).[19] This issue was further addressed in Wiggins v. Smith and Bigby v. Dretke.
Other evaluations
Forensic psychologists are frequently asked to make an assessment of an individual's dangerousness or risk of re-offending. They may provide information and recommendations necessary for sentencing purposes, grants of probation, and the formulation of conditions of parole, which often involves an assessment of the offender's ability to be rehabilitated. They are also asked questions of witness credibility and malingering.[12] Occasionally, they may also provide criminal profiles to law enforcement.[20][21][22]
Due to the Supreme Court decision upholding involuntary commitment laws for predatory sex offenders in Kansas v. Hendricks, it is likely that forensic psychologists will become involved in making recommendations in individual cases of end-of-sentence civil commitment decisions.
Ethical implications
A forensic psychologist generally practices within the confines of the courtroom, incarceration facilities, and other legal setting. It is important to remember that the forensic psychologist is equally likely to be testifying for the prosecution as for the defense attorney. A forensic psychologist does not take a side, as do the psychologists described below.[23] The ethical standards for a forensic psychologist differ from those of a clinical psychologist or other practicing psychologist because the forensic psychologist is not an advocate for the client and nothing the client says is guaranteed to be kept confidential. This makes evaluation of the client difficult, as the forensic psychologist needs and wants to obtain all information while it is often not in the client's best interest to provide it. The client has no control over how that information is used.[24] Despite the signing of a waiver of confidentiality, most clients do not realize the nature of the evaluative situation.[7] Furthermore, the interview techniques differ from those typical of a clinical psychologist and require an understanding of the criminal mind and criminal and violent behavior.[25] For example, even indicating to a defendant being interviewed that an effort will be made to get the defendant professional help may be grounds for excluding the expert's testimony.[26]
In addition, the forensic psychologist deals with a range of clients unlike those of the average practicing psychologist. Because the client base is by and large criminal, the forensic psychologist is immersed in an abnormal world.[27] As such, the population evaluated by the forensic psychologist is heavily weighted with specific personality disorders.[28][29][30]
The typical grounds for malpractice suits also apply to the forensic psychologist, such as wrongful commitment, inadequate informed consent, duty and breach of duty, and standards of care issues. Some situations are more clear cut for the forensic psychologist. The duty to warn, which is mandated by many states, is generally not a problem because the client or defendant has already signed a release of information, unless the victim is not clearly identified and the issue of the identifiability of the victim arises. However, in general the forensic psychologist is less likely to encounter malpractice suits than a clinical psychologist. The forensic psychologist does have some additional professional liability issues. As mentioned above, confidentiality in a forensic setting is more complicated that in a clinical setting as the client or defendant is apt to misinterpret the limits of confidentiality despite being warned and signing a release.[14]
See also
Applied psychology
Ultimate issue
Forensic psychiatry
Settled insanity
Dusky v. United States
Archuleta v. Hedrick
United States v. Binion
Competency evaluation (law)
Chris Hatcher, Ph.D. - Criminal profiler
Theodore H. Blau - police and forensic psychologist
Elements of a crime
Twinkie defense
United States Supreme Court cases involving Mental Health
Footnotes
1. ^ Nietzel, Michael (1986). Psychological Consultation in the Courtroom. New York: Pergamon Press.ISBN 0-08-030955-0.
2. ^ Blau, Theodore H. (1984). The Psychologist as Expert Witness. New York: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 19–25. ISBN 0-471-87129-X.
3. ^ "Speciality Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists". Retrieved 2007-09-14.
4. ^ a b Grisso, Thomas (1988). Competency to Stand Trial Evaluations: A Manual for Practice (1988 ed.). Sarasota FL: Professional Resource Exchange.ISBN 0-943158-51-6.
5. ^ a b Shapiro, David L. (1984). Psychological Evaluation and Expert Testimony. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. ISBN 0-442-28183-8.
6. ^ Smith, Steven R. (1988). Law, Behavior, and Mental Health: Policy and Practice. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-7857-7.
7. ^ a b Gary, Melton (1997). Psychological Evaluations for the Courts: A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals and Lawyers (2nd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press. pp. 41–45. ISBN 1-57230-236-4.
8. ^ "Addressing The Issue of Malingering Within Forensic Assessment:". Retrieved 2007-10-12.
9. ^ Jay, Ziskin (1981). Coping with Psychiatric and Psychological Testimony (3rd ed.). Venice, CA: Law and Psychology Press. p. 372. ISBN 0-9603630-4-1.
10. ^ Douglas, John E. (1992). Crime Classification Manual. New York: Lexington Books. ISBN 0-02-874065-3.
11. ^ Bonnie, Richard J. (1997). Criminal Law. Westbury, NY: The Foundation Press. ISBN 1-56662-448-7.
12. ^ a b Rogers, Richard (1997). Clinical Assessment of Malingering and Deception. Guilford Press. ISBN 1-57230-173-2.
13. ^ a b "Behavior of the Defendant in a Competency-to-Stand-Trial Evaluation Becomes an Issue in Sentencing". Journal of the American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
14. ^ a b Shapiro, David L. (1991). Forensic Psychological Assessment: An Integrative Approach. Needham Heights, MA: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-205-12521-2.
15. ^ Executing the Mentally Ill: The Criminal Justice System and the Case of Alvin Ford. Sage Books. Retrieved 2007-10-03.
16. ^ "Executing the Mentally Ill". Sage. Retrieved 2007-10-03.
17. ^ "Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399". American Psychological Association. January 1986. Retrieved 2007-10-03.
18. ^ Rogers, Richard (1986). Conducting Insanity Evaluations. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.ISBN 0-442-27945-0.
19. ^ "Defining Counsel’s Role in Discovery and Disclosure of Mental Illness - Defense Counsel’s Failure to Investigate and Present Defendant’s Mental Health History in a Death Penalty Trial". Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
20. ^ Holmes, Ronald (1990). Profiling Violent Crimes: An Investigative Tool. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.ISBN [[Special:BookSources/0-8039-3628-6|0-8039-3628-6]].
21. ^ Meloy, J. Reid (1998). The Psychology of Stalking. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-490560-9.
22. ^ Ressler, Robert K. (1988). Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books. ISBN 0-669-16559-X.
23. ^ Brodsky, Stanley L. (1991). Testifying in Court: Guidelines and Maxims for the Expert Witness. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN 1-55798-128-0.
24. ^ Datz, Albert J. (1989). ABA Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards. Washington DC: American Bar Association. ISBN 0-89707-450-5.
25. ^ Toch, Hans (1992). Violent Men: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Violence. Washington, DC: The American Psychological Association. ISBN 1-55798-172-8.
26. ^ Blau, Theodore. The Psychologist as Expert Witness. Wiley and Sons. p. 26. ISBN 0-471-11366-2. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
27. ^ Toch, Hans (1989). The Disturbed Violent Offender. New York: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-04533-6.
28. ^ Cleckley, Hervey (1982). The Mask of Sanity. New York: Plume Publishing. ISBN 0-452-25341-1.
29. ^ Millon, Theodore (1996). Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV and Beyond. New York: John Wiley & Sons.ISBN 0-471-01186-X.
30. ^ Meloy, J. Reid (1996). The Psychopathic Mind: Origins, Dynamics, and Treatment. Delano, MN: Brittany Steer. ISBN 0-87668-311-1.
Further reading
Adler, J. R. (Ed.). (2004). Forensic Psychology: Concepts, debates and practice. Cullompton: Willan.
Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (1999). History of Forensic Psychology. In A. K. Hess & Irving B. Weiner (Eds.), Handbook of Forensic Psychology (2nd ed., ). London: John Wiley and Sons.
Blackburn, R. (1996). What is forensic psychology? Legal and Criminological Psychology. 1996 Feb; Vol 1(Part 1) 3-16 .
Dalby, J. T. (1997) Applications of Psychology in the Law Practice: A guide to relevant issues, practices and theories. Chicago: American Bar Association. ISBN 0-8493-0811-9
Davis, J. A. (2001). Stalking crimes and victim protection. CRC Press. 538 pages. ISBN 0-8493-0811-9. (hbk.)
Duntley, J. D., & Shackelford, T. K. (2006). Toward an evolutionary forensic psychology. Social Biology, 51, 161-165.Full text
Gudjonsson, G. (1991). Forensic psychology - the first century. Journal of forensic psychiatry, 2(2), 129.
G.H. Gudjonsson and Lionel Haward: Forensic Psychology. A guide to practice. (1998) ISBN 0-415-13291-6 (pbk.),ISBN 0-415-13290-8 (hbk.)
Ogloff, J. R. P., & Finkelman, D. (1999). Psychology and Law: An Overview. In R. Roesch, S. D. Hart, & J. R. P. Ogloff (Eds.), Psychology and Law the State of the Discipline . New York: Springer. ISBN 0-306-45950-7
Ribner, N.G.(2002). California School of Professional Psychology Handbook of Juvenile Forensic Psychology. Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0-7879-5948-0
External links
American Academy of Forensic Psychology Board-certified forensic experts, continuing education.
American Board of Forensic Psychology Board certification and other information.
All About Forensic Psychology Comprehensive Guide To Forensic Psychology.
American Psychology - Law Society
UK Forensic Psychology Advice about Forensic Psychology from the British Psychological Society .
Landmark Cases in Forensic Law
List of Forensic Landmark Cases Chronologically
Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology
Quality of Practice in Forensic Psychology
Clinical Forensic Psychology career information, by Dr. Patricia Zapf
Forensic Psychology Salary Salary, Jobs, Degree and career information.
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Forensic Psychology Law & Legal Definition
Forensic Psychology is the application of the science and profession of psychology to legal questions and issues. Especially knowledgeable scientists play a role in forensic psychology. It includes psychological evaluation and expert testimony regarding criminal forensic issues. For instance, trial competency, criminal responsibility, death penalty mitigation, battered woman syndrome, domestic violence, drug dependence, and sexual disorders.


Related Terms
Terms with 'Forensic' or 'Psychology'
American Academy of Forensic Sciences [AAFS]
American Board of Forensic Anthropology
American Board of Forensic Odontology
American Board of Forensic Psychology
American Board of Forensic Toxicology [ABFT]
American Board of Professional Psychology [ABPP]
American College of Forensic Examiners International [ACFEI]
American Forensic Association
American Society of Forensic Odontology [ASFO]
Association of Forensic DNA Analysts and Administrators [AFDAA]
Definition List
Forensic Psychologist
Forensic Pathologist
Forensic Nurse
Forensic Microanalysis
Forensic Medical Investigator
» Forensic Psychology
Forensic Science
Forensic Science Assessment Test
Forensic Serology
Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board [FASB]
Forensic Therapy





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Forensic Information Center
Created for Students of All Kinds by Rachael Shrontz


What is Forensic Psychology?

Many definitions of forensic psychology exist, as does controversy over what qualifies as forensic psychology. In general, forensic psychology refers to the application of psychology  in law arenas.  More specifically, the American Board of Forensic Psychology defines the field as: Forensic Psychology is the application of the science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system.  The word “forensic” comes from the Latin word “forensic,” meaning “of the forum,” where the law courts of ancient Rome were held. Today “forensic” refers to the application of scientific principles and practices to the adversary process where specially  knowledgeable scientists play a role.
Knowing what defines forensic psychology is important, but perhaps knowing what forensic psychology is not is more critical.  While the field continually grows, it remains relatively unknown among career choices, for with the unknown, false assumptions are always present.  Many misleading statements can confuse students, patients, and those involved in criminal or civil cases.  The following pages describe a few of the misconceived notions that forensic psychologists encounter when working within investigations, courts, and corrections arenas.  Each of these fields provide a multitude of career opportunities for the forensic psychologist ranging from a consultant for police departments to evaluations of the correctional population.
Information about Job Openings for Students
Information regarding Letters of Recommendation for Students

FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY COURSE

Clarifications & Misconceptions in Forensics

Investigations:
Criminal Profiling
Forensic Psychologists can be involved in many different aspects of an investigation.  One of the most overrated concepts of their work is criminal profiling.  TV shows such as CSI, Criminal Minds, Profiler, and many others have made profiling the key component of forensics in general.  Many college-bound students become caught in this misconception, choosing “profiling in the FBI” as a career path.  They soon realize profiling constitutes only a minute fraction of the duties a forensic psychologists performs.
Many terms refer to “criminal profiling,” such as behavioral profiling, criminal investigative analysis, crime scene profiling, criminal personality profiling, offender profiling, and psychological profiling. Turvey defines criminal profiling as a “process of inferring the personality characteristics of individuals responsible for committing criminal acts” (p 1).
While profiling can be useful in pattern identifications, it cannot give a us the name of an offender.  It can even narrow our focus to one type of offender when a broader spectrum better suits the situation.  Another limitation of profiling is the lack of serious offenders. TV portrays an abundance of serial killers, when in reality serial killers only make up about 1% of the population.  So while it exists as an interesting area of forensic psychology, criminal profiling simply is too limited an area for any specialist to base their career on.
Sources:
Turvey, B. (2002). Criminal Profiling. (2nd Ed.) San Diego, CA:  Academic Press.
Wrightsman, L.S.  (2001). Forensic Psychology.  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Consulting to Police Departments
Aside from criminal profiling psychologists are involved in an array of investigative processes.  As a consultant they are asked to educate police departments on such issues as handling mentally ill persons, human relations, criminal psychology, and relationships with authority figures, among other topics (Wrightsman, 2001, 62).  Psychologists in law enforcement are often seen as teachers in reference to training.  On the other hand, psychologists offer more than just educational tools.
A psychologist can also offer counseling to police officers for traumatic events.  Fitness-for-duty evaluations are conducted by psychologists in response to brutality allegations, police who have dealt with hostage situations, abuse cases, death of partner or other situations that challenge the emotional stability of officers.   Fitness-for-duty assessments “should include at least one interview with the officer, a battery of psychological test, interview with supervisors, family members, and coworkers, and a review of any pat psychological and medical evaluations” (Wrightsman, 2001, 68).  They should also be performed by a psychologist who does not regularly consult with that police department, so that the objectivity of the officer is not lost.
Courts:
Civil Court
One of the most commonly forgotten areas of forensic psychology is the civil arena.  Due to popular media portrayal, much of the public believes forensic psychologists only delve into criminal courts.  However, civil matters compose a large part of the average forensic psychologist’s workload.  Civil cases may include issues such as emotional damage, involuntary treatment, child custody, guardianship, harassment & discrimination, civil competency evaluations, professional malpractice, product liability,  and psychological autopsies.  Each of these provides a job opportunity for the specialist.
Criminal Court
Within the criminal court, the insanity plea is the most misunderstood. The public often relies on the assumption that those who plead insane are immediately released or placed in a mental facility. Multiple errors result from such assumptions. One of these is the simple definition of the insanity plea. The public often confuses this with defendant competency.  Insanity refers to the incapability to understand right from wrong at the time of the offense; whereas, competency refers to the mental state of the defendant at the time of the judicial proceedings. While both deal with mental capabilities or lack there of, the key difference is the time of evaluation. A defendant can be deemed sane at the time of the offense, yet evaluated as incompetent to stand trial or make pertinent decisions; and vice versa.
Another misconception concerns the amount of insanity pleas sought by defendants. Many people believe that defendants who seek the insanity plea “get off easy.” In reality, few of those who plead guilty even go to trial; fewer still chance the insanity plea.  Those that do attempt the plea are rarely set free, for in order to be considered insane, one must first admit guilt. Therefore, whether they are found sane or not, the jury or judge almost always selects a punishment that is anything but lenient. Often those deemed insane or incompetent are placed in psychiatric hospitals until they are competent to stand trial or are handed longer sentences than they would have received had they not pleaded insane.
Eyewitness testimony has become an increasingly involved area of expertise for the forensic psychologist. In contrast to media representation most cases lack real evidence and therefore have to rely on eyewitnesses. This became a noteworthy topic after DNA evidence first exonerated innocent individuals previously convicted of crimes they did not commit. It is unlawful to call into question the specific witness’s account, however, attorneys can use forensic psychologists to establish the accuracy or inaccuracy of eyewitness testimony in general.  Gary Graham was sentenced to death based solely on the identification of one eye witness.  Two other eye witnesses who say the killer was not Graham were never heard at trial.
Corrections:
Traditionally most forensic psychologists work within correctional facilities. These include juvenile centers, jails, prisons, and psychiatric hospitals. In general the public acknowledges that correctional facilities are a place to evaluate criminals for court procedures. Few recognize the other practices put forth in this system.  While a number of evaluations are done, the bulk of forensic psychology focuses on treatment and research
Treatment in the realm of forensic psychology is still in its infancy. Disorders such as addiction, schizophrenia, bipolar disease and others have suitable treatments. There are still diseases that have no current management for example, the psychopath. While problematic for the offender, a lack of treatment hampers progress in public policy as well as policies for the institutions. Forensic psychologists’ work  ranges from assessing the offenders potential recidivism to evaluating an offender’s need to move from a negative environment. These interactions provide continuous data to refine therapy.
Research often belongs to academic universities or hospitals. However a tremendous amount is collected from correctional and psychiatric facilities. Some of the most remarkable research on psychological issues is obtained from these facilities. Surprising results from Rice, Harris, and Cormier (1992), showed that while psychopaths appeared to be progressing in treatment, their recidivism rates when compared to a control group demonstrated otherwise. Psychopaths instead learned and mimicked what society wanted to hear, instead of internalizing the treatment. These studies shed light on the mental processes of the offenders which in turn provided better treatment.
Roles & Potential Careers in Forensic Psychology
Each area of the legal system offers a variety of specialization opportunities for forensic psychologists. While each role can become a career opportunity, many specialists consider a number of interests rather than focusing solely on one.  For example, a forensic psychologists who specializes in family court can find themselves thrown into the criminal courts when one of their patients commits a criminal act.
Investigation
Consultation on a criminal profile.
Expertise on risk assessment reports.
Liaison between psychological and legal communities.
Corrections
Mental illness assessment.
Prisoner classification.
Consulting on rehabilitation programs, treatment and other programs offered in correctional facilities.
Assessment of correctional staff members.
Academia
Professor
Lecturer
Internship Provider
Family Law
Child Custody Evaluations
Visitation Risk Assessments
Grandparents Visitation Evaluations
Mediation of parental Conflicts about Children
Child Abuse Evaluations
Adoption Readiness Evaluations
Development of Family Reunification Plans
Evaluations to Assess Termination of Parental Rights
Civil Law
Personal Injury Evaluations
Assessment of Emotional Factors in Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
Worker’s Compensation Evaluations
Civil Competency Evaluations
Psychological Autopsies
Criminal Law
Evaluations of juveniles
Evaluations of adult offenders
Competency Evaluations
Insanity Evaluations
Consulting for either the defense or the prosecution
Providing expert testimony
Necessary Training
Undergraduate Studies
Many routes of training exist to obtain a career in forensic psychology.  One popular undergraduate focus is the psychology major.  Along with a psychology major, students can choose a crime and justice studies major or minor.  Since forensic psychologists work in both arenas, students greatly benefit from a study of both.  If students choose only a Psychology major, their electives should center around crime and justice studies.
Graduate Studies
While in graduate school, students can choose a variety of programs within psychology.  These include clinical psychology, counseling psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, criminal investigative psychology, and forensic psychology.  Few university programs offer the latter; therefore, several other ways to acquire forensic certification exist.  Students need to ensure their doctorate program has accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA).  Accreditation guarantees both consistency in expected training as well as respect.
There are many variations in establishing a career in Forensic Psychology.  Once students have entered graduate school they can work towards a masters degree and then follow it with a doctoral degree.  Or students can also choose a fast track doctoral program.  However, if students choose to enter directly into the doctoral program it is highly suggested that they choose a program that credits them their masters degree once they have surpassed the required hours.  This not only allows students the licensing they need to obtain jobs and practicum experience but it also provides a backup to students incase they are unable to finish their  Ph. D. or choose a different specialization.  The average time spent in these programs varies from 5 to 7 years, not including time spent on residency.
Students can also obtain a Juris Doctor (J.D.), otherwise known as a law degree in addition to a Masters or Doctoral degree.  Forensic Psychology attempts to fill the gap between psychology and law arenas therefore it is just as critical for students to know different aspects of law and court regulations.
Click here for a list of schools that offer the combination of degrees needed for this career.
Forensic Psychology Certification & Licensing
While the pathways vary, a few particular requirements for becoming a forensic psychologists remain consistent.  The first requirement is graduation from an APA accredited doctoral program.  Those who specialized in programs other than forensic psychology can acquire post-doctoral fellowship training in forensic psychology.
Follow this link for a list of forensics career training programs.
After obtaining appropriate certification, aspiring psychologists should apply for state certification, which normally requires an examination of some sort.  Field work also remains a necessary evil that must be experienced before one becomes board certified.  The required amount is one year, however, more is always welcome.  The American Board of Forensic Psychology, the recommended certification board, not only holds great respect among the psychology  community, but also provides the opportunity for forensic psychologists to be titled as diplomats.





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2.Psychology and psychiatry
Psychology vs. Psychiatry: Which Is Better?
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Confused by the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist? WebMD explains who does what and how that affects treatment.
By Martin F. Downs
WebMD Feature
What's the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
That may sound like a setup for a knee-slapper, but it's actually a good question, and many people don't know the full answer.
Recommended Related to Mental Health
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Read the Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder) article > >
It's not as simple as who tends to what, like the difference between a goatherd and shepherd. Both kinds of professionals treat people with problems that vary widely by degree and type, from mild anxiety toschizophrenia. Both can practice psychotherapy, and both can do research.
The short answer is, psychiatrists are medical doctors and psychologists are not. The suffix "-iatry" means "medical treatment," and "-logy" means "science" or "theory." So psychiatry is the medical treatment of the psyche, and psychology is the science of the psyche.
Their Credentials
Psychiatrists begin their careers in medical school. After earning their MD, they go on to four years of residency training in mental health, typically at a hospital's psychiatric department.
According to Marcia Goin, MD, past-president of the American Psychiatric Association and a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Southern California, psychiatric residencies include a range of subspecialized training, such as working with children and adolescents.
After completing their residency, these physicians can be licensed to practice psychiatry.
Psychologists go through five to seven years of academic graduate study, culminating in a doctorate degree. They may hold a PhD or a PsyD. Those who are mainly interested in clinical psychology -- treating patients as opposed to focusing on research -- may pursue a PsyD.
Licensing requirements for psychologists vary from state to state, but at least a one- or two-year internship is required to apply for a license to practice psychology.
Prescribing Powers
As medical doctors, psychiatrists can do what most psychologists in the United States cannot: They can prescribe drugs.
Recently the state of Louisiana allowed psychologists to write prescriptions after consulting with a psychiatrist, joining the state of New Mexico, which allowed psychologists to begin prescribing in 2002.
A common misconception about psychiatrists is that they only treat people with severe mental illness, like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, diseases for which medication is the mainstay of treatment, leaving psychotherapy to psychologists and patients with less severe problems.
Psychiatrists who work at clinics and hospitals certainly see many hard cases. "The major patients they see are severely mentally ill, but there are others who are not," Goin tells WebMD. She says she practices a lot of psychotherapy in her private office and that most of her patients there are not on medication.
Increasingly, however, psychiatrists in private practice spend their time with medication management and not psychotherapy. Other mental health providers usually do therapy sessions, and when they see a patient who could benefit from medication, they send the patient to a psychiatrist for an evaluation and possibly a prescription.
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What are the differences between psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy?

There are quite significant differences between psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy roles and they tend to deal with different types of problems, although there is considerable overlap in their work, below is a brief description of each of the careers and you can explore psychology and psychotherapy individually by clicking on the links in "Related information..."
What is psychology?
Psychology is the study of people: how they think, how they act, react and interact. Psychology is concerned with all aspects of behaviour and the thoughts, feelings and motivation underlying such behaviour.

Psychology is a discipline that is firstly concerned with the normal functioning of the mind and has explored areas such as learning, remembering and the normal psychological development of children. Psychology is one of the fastest growing university subjects and is becoming more and more available in schools and colleges.

Psychologists deal in the way the mind works and motivation, and can specialise in various areas such as; mental health work and educational and occupational psychology.

It is useful to remember that psychologists are not usually medically qualified and only a small proportion of people studying psychology degrees will go on to work with patients.
What is psychiatry?
Psychiatry is the study of mental disorders and their diagnosis, management and prevention. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have qualified in psychiatry. They often combine a broad general caseload alongside an area of special expertise and research.
What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is conducted in several different ways for example individual, group, couple and family psychotherapy. They are all ways of helping people to overcome stress, emotional problems, relationship problems or troublesome habits.

There are many different approaches in psychotherapy, these are "talking therapies" which include;
cognitive behavioural therapies
psychoanalytic therapies
psychodynamic therapies
systemic and family psychotherapy
arts therapies
play therapies
humanistic and integrative psychotherapies
hypno-psychotherapy
experiential constructivist therapies
A psychotherapist may be a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional who has had further specialist training in psychotherapy. Increasingly there are a number of psychotherapists who do not have backgrounds in the above fields but who have undertaken in depth training in this area.

Consultant psychiatrists in psychotherapy are medical doctors who have qualified in psychiatry and then undertaken a three or four-year specialist training in psychotherapy. Their role is in the psychotherapeutic treatment of patients with psychiatric illnesses

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  Psychology
and Psychiatry

  Page Contents: Psychiatry / Psychology / What about Psychoanalysis?


 

ANY persons are confused about the difference between psychiatry and psychology. The following discussion, therefore, offers an objective, concise, and simply-stated description of the difference.

Psychiatry
A psychiatrist has attended medical school and is a physician and therefore holds an M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) degree. In residency, he or she received specialized training in the field of psychiatry, in addition to all the rigorous training of medical school in general—and, just like other fields of medical practice such as internal medicine, psychiatry tends to focus mainly on the use of medications for treatment. Moreover, although psychiatric training may require some training in psychotherapy, psychiatrists are not required to complete any personal psychotherapy. Nevertheless, many psychiatrists have, for personal reasons, pursued training in psychotherapy. Historically, this training has most often been in the area of psychoanalysis.

Psychology
A psychologist usually holds a doctoral degree (a Ph.D., which means Doctor of Philosophy; a Psy.D., which means Doctor of Psychology; or an Ed.D., which meansDoctor of Education) from a university or professional school. Generally, if he or she is in clinical practice, the degree will be in Clinical Psychology (although it might be inCounseling Psychology). With the exception of the Psy.D. (a purely clinical degree), all psychologists have had extensive training in research, having completed an original scientific study—called a doctoral dissertation—as a major part of the training.
In fact, the psychologist’s training in research is what most distinguishes a psychologist from other providers of mental health treatment. Not only does the field of psychology use research to assess the effectiveness of various forms of treatment, but also any psychologist trained in research should have acquired some solid skills useful for analyzing information and drawing conclusions in psychotherapy sessions.
As students, future psychologists also receive training in psychological testing.
Moreover, in addition to their academic training, psychologists will have completed one or more clinical internships (which provide practical training in diagnosis, assessment, and psychotherapy), and they will have experienced at least a year of required personal psychotherapy.

What about Psychoanalysis?
Although the current practice of both psychiatry and psychology has been deeply influenced by the theories of psychoanalysis, all three practices have separate roots.
As explained above, psychiatry has its roots in medicine. Psychology has its roots in the academic study of animal and human perception, and in the early part of the 20th century it was first applied clinically as an aid to education.
Psychoanalysis, both a theory of mental functioning and a specific type of treatment philosophy, was developed by Sigmund Freud in the early 1900s. Freud, a physician and a professor of medicine, developed his theories about psychoanalysis while studying cases of hysteria and compulsion neurosis. The basic premise of psychoanalysis is that most psychological symptoms are the result of our unconsciously avoiding many of the unpleasant truths about ourselves. Through a detailed “psycho” analysis (i.e., analysis of our thought process and mental images) we come to learn just how we consistently manage to lie to and deceive ourselves. The idea behind this treatment philosophy is that persons who have come to understand their own deceptions can then manage to avoid being controlled by them.

________________________________________

A description of the clinical procedures of psychoanalysis can be found
on the Types of Psychological Treatment page.

________________________________________
To become a psychoanalyst, a person must study and receive supervised training at a psychoanalytic institute. For many years, only psychiatrists were allowed admission to psychoanalytic training institutes, and psychoanalysis was the preferred treatment modality used by psychiatrists practicing psychotherapy. Today, however, psychologists—as well as some social workers and even lay persons—can get admission to psychoanalytic training.
Anyone who goes through the training to become a psychoanalyst must complete a thorough personal psychoanalytic treatment as well. Moreover, some psychologists who do not choose to pursue psychoanalytic training still choose a personal psychoanalysis as a way to prepare for being better able to serve their patients.

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Additional Resources

Psychiatry:
The American Psychiatric Association  represents all member psychiatrists, and its site provides extensive information about psychiatry.
The Medical Board of California  oversees licensing of physicians in CA.
 
Psychoanalysis:
Academy for the Study of the Psychoanalytic Arts  —“To advance the study of psychoanalytic epistemology, theory, practice, ethics, and education within a psychological framework consisting of philosophy, the arts, and the anthropic sciences as opposed to biology, medicine, and the natural sciences.”
The American Psychoanalytic Association  represents all member psychoanalysts.
The Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis  in the San Francisco Bay area, offers training in Lacanian psychoanalysis.
Psychoanalysis  by Wolfgang Albrecht, in Berlin; provides links to pages with information related to Psychoanalysis.
The Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California  offers psychoanalytic training.
The San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute  is a psychoanalytic training institute in San Francisco.
The San Francisco Society for Lacanian Studies  provides lectures and information about Lacanian psychoanalysis.
Lacan Related Papers  provides links to numerous Lacan-related papers.
Lacanian Links  provides links to Lacanian sites and is an extensive resource for Lacanian articles and papers.
 
Psychology:
Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards  —Roster for US and Canada.
The California Board of Psychology  oversees licensing of psychologists in CA.
The California Psychological Association Accrediting Agency  provides information about continuing education for psychologists in CA.
Divisions of the American Psychological Association  lists the various divisions of the APA and will give you an idea of the many varied applications of psychology.
 
History of Psychology:
Classics in the History of Psychology
History of Clinical Psychology
History of Psychology Archives
 
Related pages within A Guide to Psychology and its Practice:
How To Become a Psychologist
Psychological Testing
Psychology: Clinical or Counseling or...?
Questions and Answers about Psychotherapy
To Become a Psychologist
Types of Psychological Treatment
 
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Psychology is a complex subject, and many issues are interrelated. And so, even though you may find a topic of interest on one particular page, an exploration of the other pages will deepen your understanding of the human mind and heart.

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The practice of good clinical psychology involves something—call it comfort—which does not mean sympathy or soothing, and it certainly doesn’t mean to have your pain “taken away.” It really means to be urged on to take up the cup of your destiny, with courage and honesty.





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ምዕራፍ -ስድስት
የህግ ሳይንስ ጥንሰ ሀሳብ
1.የህግ ሳይንስ ትርጉምና ግብ
የህግ ሳይንስ ማለት አንድን ወንጀል መርምሮ ዉጠቱን መለየት ነው፡፡የህግ ሳይንስ የሚያካቲተው የጣት አሣራ፤የዴም ምርመራ፤የእሳትና ፊንዳታ፤የመኪና፤የአፈርና ማዕድን፤የእንጨትና እጥዋት፤የአከባቢ ገጥታ፤የዴምና ለሎች ሰውነት ፈሳሥ፤የነዳጅ፤የስጃራ፤የመድሃኒት፤የስልክ፤የአካል ቅረት፤የቦርሳ፤የመሳሪያ፤የዱቄት፤የምስጥር ቁጥር፤የጥሁፍ፤የብርጭቆ፤የጠጉር፤የዘይት፤የቀለም ናቸው፡፡
የህግ ሳይንስ ግብ
የህግ ሳይንስ ግብ ወንጀልን መርምሮ ማጣራት ነው፡፡
2.የህግ ሳይንስ  ክፍሎች
የህግ ሳይንስ ክፍሎች ህክምና፤ተክኒክ፤ስፖርት፤ናቸው፡፡
3.የወንጀል መከላከልና ምርመራ ክፍል
የወንጀል መከላከልና ምርመራ ክፍል ይመረምራል ይከላከላል፡፡
4.መረጃ ስብስብና አያያዝ
መረጃ በስርዐት ተሰብስቦ መያዝ አለበት፡፡



CHAPTER – SIX
CONCEPTS OF FORENSIC SCIENCE
1.MEANING AND GOALS OF  FORENSIC SCIENCE

________________________________________ Main > English

























  Forensic science has shaped the world of justice, fuelling crime investigations and signifying the progress of modern technology. Forensic science of today covers :
Modern computer/clay facial reconstruction;
DNA fingerprinting;
Autopsy techniques;
Forensic anthropology;
Toxicology and much more.
What more reliable method is there to prove innocent or guilty other than through science?
*Above picture courtesy of Free-Stock-Photos.
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Each section of this site (also listed on the navigation bar to the left and at the top) contains smaller subsections you will be able access for further information. The categories are as follows:
 
Crimes Of Stealth
The role of forensic science extends beyond the barriers of murder cases to the everyday crimes of theft and fraud. The information covered in this section relates to such crimes as art imitation, computer forensics and counterfeit. Enjoy yourself perusing the section -Crimes Of Stealth.


Site Features Top^

This site has incorporated a variety of user friendly features to help people of different ages and backgrounds learn about the science of forensics. Terms typical to the forensic discourse are included in the site glossary and highlighted in blue throughout the text. When the mouse is placed over a dark blue term, a definition will appear below. Images taken with kind permission have also been used to supplement the text and stimulate learning. The site map can be consulted for ease of use when finding a certain topic and for any technical or subject related questions, the help section can be used. An extra materials section contains some lesson plans, easy-to-do home experiments and a list ofcase studies, which are also shown at random at the right of the webpages. Likewise, facts of interest are also displayed above the case studies.

Our Mission Top^

Humans are an intelligent species because of our incredible ability to evolve and sense of need for progress. The developments in forensic science have likewise introduced many vital crime solving techniques over the past few decades, which our website, "Forensic Science", aims solely to provide information about. We encourage people of all ages to peruse through the site, whether for the purpose of a hobby, school assignment or best of all, for sheer urge to go on a quest for forensic knowledge.
The site attempts to educate through intriguing the audience with the different aspects of forensics and emphasise the key role forensic science plays in determining the innocence/guilt of a suspect. Each technique used by forensic scientists must be precise and accurate enough to deal with the seriousness of the matter it concerns i.e the conviction/acquittal of a person, which, in some countries around the world, is a matter of life or death.
Forensic Science covers the different techniques used to analyse a variety of crimes, sectioned into a logical order (located at the left) and also features an interactive section of interviews,quizzes, science experiments and more. The information has been written to target a broad audience, with the use of concise but easy-to-understand language to explain many of the concepts used in forensics. There is also a slight touch up on crime scene procedures, which are necessary in order to fuel a thorough forensic investigation.
Without forensic science, the truth behind some of the most criminal actions would still remain a mystery. Photo courtesy of theUniverisity of Lancastershire.

Three different versions and languages are available for the site, targetting the various connection speeds and users. Coincidentally, chinese is the most spoken language in terms of people while english is the language used in the largest number of regions in the world. We hope that users will enjoy forensic science and gain a thoroughly forensic experience.


Of Interest
A serial killer or rapist is defined as someone who commits 3 or more crimes with only a short period of time in between.

Case Study
One of the most destructive viruses ever created was known as 'The Love Bug' and appeared in email inboxes with the subject line - 'I Love You' just several years back ...more...


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Basic Concepts About Forensic Science
By Diego ArmandoCo-Author: Juan Salvo
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Forensic science is not just what you see on television shows like CSI but rather the use of actual science to help determine the answer to varied legal questions. There are many different types of forensic disciplines that are used to help police and other officials answer these questions. These include criminalistics, forensic psychology, forensic pathology and others.
Criminalistics is the science used to help understand the evidence in crimes. Evidence used in criminalistics can include biological evidence, trace evidence, impression evidence, controlled substances and ballistics. Biological evidence is usually bodily fluids such as semen and blood. Trace evidence are items like hair and fibers. Impression evidence are items like foot prints, impressions of car tires and fingerprints. Criminalistics is usually investigated in a crime lab. Many cities with very large populations have crime labs within their police departments. These include Miami-Dade, Florida and the famous Las Vegas crime lab.
Forensic psychology is the study of the mind of a criminal. Forensic psychologists usually study the motivations that led an individual to commit a certain crime. Forensic psychology has recently come into the limelight as more and more television shows have started to feature it. These includes CSI, NCIS and Criminal Minds. Criminal Minds especially digs into why a person committed the crime so that they may locate the victim before it is too late. Forensic psychology has also been discredited by some as being interpreted in court as opinion and what might have been going through an individual's mind, not what actually went through the individual's mind.
Forensic pathology is the study of the cause of death. Literally, pathology is used to determine how someone died and the forensic findings are usually used to backup a court case. Forensic pathology has also recently become popular for television shows such as CSI and NCIS. Many of the cases involve a mystery over death.
There have also been many other forensic sciences such as forensic meteorology, and forensic geology, although these are used much less often than other branches of forensic science. Many of them just involve using analytical skills to determine the cause of the events.
As with any science there have been some disagreements over the scientific effectiveness of certain forensic sciences. One of these cases was an experiment by the FBI. Comparative bullet lead analysis was used by the FBI for over 40 years starting when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. The theory was that each batch of bullets had a specific chemical composition, much like an element on the periodic table, and therefore could be traced back to its original batch or even down to the very box. However, internal studies showed this to be exactly the opposite and the test was finally pulled in 2005.
No matter what you may think, forensic science affects you each and every day. Forensic science allows scientific means to be applied to almost any situation so that there can be a root cause determined. Forensic science in any form is just the answering of a legal question using analytical means.
Diego writes about forensic science education and maintains a very busy directory of articles.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Diego_Armando
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1. Meaning and goals of forensic science


ofForensic Science Basics
Fundamentals of Forensic Science

What is the Definition of Forensic Science?
When asked, many people cannot actually define what forensic science is. Forensic science is the process of using science to resolve legal issues. This is done by applying scientific principles to matters in which the law has become involved.
Forensic science is becoming more and more common place in crime scene investigation and other fields and forensic technology continues to evolve. There are a lot of different fields in which a forensic scientist can put their education to use.
The job of a forensic scientist is two fold, despite what many people think. The first job is to analyze physical evidence and the second task is to share this information through written word or even through expert testimony in a court of law.
Fields of Forensic Science
Because many cannot define forensic science they assume that people who do this for a living are only into crime scene investigation. While that is a huge area for forensic science, it is not the only area. There are many different fields that involve forensic science including and not limited to:
Forensic Anthropology which is the study of the human body and social relationships
Forensic Chemistry which is the study of properties of matter
Forensic Entomology is the study of bugs
Forensic Mathematics is the process of finding patterns between crime scenes and evidence
Forensic Nursing can involve helping survivors of crimes such as rape and assault
Forensic Odontology is the study of the development and abnormalities found in teeth
Forensic Reconstruction is the process of recreating a crime scene to provide factual testimony
Forensic Technology is the process of solving crimes with advanced technology
Forensic Toxicology involves the study of poisons or toxins
Latent Print Identification: Identifying objects such as fingerprints, palm prints, even foot prints or shoe prints
As you can see, there are many areas of study when you go into forensic science. While many of these jobs can be criminal in nature, meaning to help solve crimes, these careers can get very specific to a certain niche of the forensic science world that interests you most. Many people start out with a very generalized job and then they get more focused the more they learn and work.
The Importance of Forensic Science
Forensic science is interwoven into the way that things are done today. Without forensic science we wouldn’t have a lot of the knowledge that we currently have about crimes that have been committed, fingerprints, poisons, the human body, bugs, relationships, and so much more.
Forensic science not only allows for us to learn more and explore our world in new and fascinating ways, it helps us to make the world we live in a much safer place.
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 FOR MOST PEOPLE, "forensic science" means cops and fingerprints and DNA analysis. All of that is still true, but these days forensic science encompasses much more. Some "whodunits" are more complicated and can involve an international cast of characters. Forensic science now also is used to verify and monitor compliance with such international agreements as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to learn whether a country is developing a clandestine nuclear weapons program.
 The Laboratory's Forensic Science Center was established in 1991, and in its short life has become a leader in law enforcement, national security, defense, and intelligence applications. Using sophisticated analytical equipment, experts in organic, inorganic, and biological chemistry can determine the composition and often the source of the most minute samples of material. Lasers are also being used to "interrogate," or examine, a variety of materials.
 The March 1994 issue of Energy & Technology Review described in detail the workings of the Forensic Science Center. It reported on the Center's excellent performance in a "round-robin" series of exercises with analytical chemistry facilities from around the world. The Center has done so well in these exercises over the years that it is no longer just a participant. Its staff also prepares samples for other laboratories to analyze. Following is an update on activities at the Forensic Science Center since early 1994.
What You See Is What You Get
 By combining three technologies into a single system--an ion trap mass spectrometer for analysis, a high-powered microscope for viewing, and a laser for ionizing samples--the Center has created something entirely new for forensic analysis: imaging laser-ablation mass spectroscopy. Conceived in 1994 and still being refined, this new process allows considerably more accuracy in analyzing samples than standard mass spectroscopy.
 Sampling material is placed on the tip of a probe that is inserted into the source region of an ion trap mass spectrometer. With a microscope outside the vacuum chamber, the sampling material is viewed from above at 250 ¥ magnification. A laser beam is then directed at precisely the 10- to 50-micrometer spot on the probe tip from which the sample's mass spectral data is desired. The intensity of the laser beam can be adjusted to instantaneously vaporize more or less sampling material, depending on the size of the sample. The laser ionizes the material, and the mass spectrometer sorts these fragments according to their molecular weights. Once sorted, each chemical component produces a characteristic mass spectral fragmentation pattern that is used by the operator to identify the entire sample.
 There are several benefits of this method. The new imaging capability allows for a more accurate focus of the laser beam, which means more accuracy in sampling and more accuracy in analysis. By having the sampling material inside the mass spectrometer vacuum chamber before it is hit with the laser beam, sample losses are far less than when the sample is bombarded outside the ion source and then transferred to the mass spectrometer. We can also analyze smaller particles and fibers with this system than we can with a standard bench-top ion trap.
 This new system has numerous applications. One possible use is to provide a chronological record of chemical exposures by analyzing hair, vegetation, and other materials. For example, ingestion of or exposure to certain chemicals, including illegal drugs, can be identified in human hair. Since human hair generally grows at about one-half inch per month, analysis of a person's hair along its length can provide a chronology of drug use over time (see photos above). Or the hair of a dog known to have been kept as a pet at a suspected drug manufacturing facility can be analyzed to determine chemicals associated with chemical spills and exposures at the drug lab. Positive identification of chemicals in the dog's hair, indicative of the lab's operations, could serve as criminal evidence in a trial.
 Although this technique is still in its infancy, its potential could be enormous. As lasers become easier to use, smaller and smaller particles and fibers will be sampled and characterized in forensic investigations.
Miniaturizing the GC/MS
 The Forensic Science Center is also at the forefront in developing new, portable systems capable of real-time analysis in the field. These units have numerous applications, from identifying materials to support verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention to investigating criminal activities.
 Almost five years ago, the Center developed a suitcase-size gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS) for on-site identification of ultratrace (microgram or less) quantities of certain compounds in complex mixtures. The system weighed 68 kg (150 lb), which made it portable, but only barely. Three years later, the system's weight had been cut by more than half to 32 kg (70 lb), still a hefty load. Today, at 20 kg (44 lb), with an accompanying laptop computer, this system can realistically be considered portable. This rugged, all-metal vacuum vessel can be carried on board an airplane and put into the overhead compartment, while its accompanying generator and off-line vacuum reconditioning pumping unit travel in the baggage compartment.





All of the traveling components of LLNL's miniaturized gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer can fit into a metal travel case. Included are (on table) the GC/MS and laptop computer and (on floor) the pumping unit and generator.










 Reduction in size does not mean a reduction in performance. The latest complete GC/MS unit is able to achieve the almost-perfect vacuum required for accurate analysis. It can run for 12 hours in the field, and, like a 500-lb bench-top model, can perform up to 200 operator-assisted analyses per day. While the operator sleeps, the turbomolecular pumping station refreshes the vacuum and other systems in the unit for another 12 hours of operation.
 And how have they made this unit so small? When LLNL first took on the job of making a portable GC/MS system, very few off-the-shelf parts were available that, when assembled, would fit into anything the size of a suitcase. Almost all of the pieces that went into the first 68-kg unit were therefore designed and manufactured at LLNL. Meanwhile, miniaturization began to catch on in the GC/MS industry, so many of the components of the 32-kg version could be purchased from outside sources. While a few components of the latest 20-kg model had to be produced here, most have been purchased commercially, modified as necessary, and fitted together.
 The unit's hydrogen supply for the portable gas chromatograph is typical of the shrinking components. The hydrogen supply in the 68-kg model weighed 14 kg. Today it weighs just 0.4 kg and still operates at 250 psi, just like its bigger bench-top brother.
 The Center also has produced another unit whose parts can be replaced in the field. Parts are fitted together with O-rings, which facilitates repair, but more pumping capacity is needed to hold the desired vacuum. So there is still much work to do.
Counter-Forensic Inspection
 In the summer of 1994, DOE asked the Forensic Science Center to perform a preliminary "counter-forensic" analysis to help the government investigate vulnerabilities of two gaseous-diffusion, uranium-enrichment plants that will be subject to international inspections. Although inspections of the plants are expected to be visual only, DOE wanted to know whether a hypothetical inspector with a different agenda, while walking through one of its plants, could surreptitiously collect samples of material, take them home, examine them, and replicate the enrichment process. The Center's mission was to examine the similar samples and learn critical details of the enrichment process.
 In the gaseous diffusion enrichment process, uranium hexafluoride passes through a series of semipermeable barriers, the number of barriers being determined by the enrichment required. Uranium used in power reactors requires less enrichment than weapons-grade uranium, which is highly enriched.
 The Center used for its analysis a variety of materials collected from different areas in the plant. With minute quantities of these materials and state-of-the-art analytical equipment, our chemists, engineers, and metallurgists were able to determine whether or not various aspects of the enrichment process are vulnerable to surreptitious collections. We expect these results to be useful in determining future inspection protocols.
For further information contact Brian Andresen (510) 422-0903 (andresen1@llnl.gov).

GOALS OF FORENSIC SCIENCE

The Purpose of Forensic Science
By Jenny MacKay, eHow Contributor
Forensic science is any kind of science used in the legal or justice system to support and uphold the law. When a crime has been committed and evidence is collected at the scene, scientists analyze it, arrive at scientific results and give expert court testimony about their findings. Forensic science concentrates on facts that prove something did or did not happen in a criminal or civil case.
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1. History
o The use of scientific principles to prove guilt or innocence in criminal matters dates back at least to 700 A.D., when the Chinese discovered that every human fingerprint is unique and used this fact to resolve disputes. In the 1800s, scientists developed chemical tests for the presence of blood and began comparing bullets ejected from different firearms. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt established the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the analysis of criminal cases. In 1985, Sir Alec Jeffreys of England developed a process for profiling the genetic material, or DNA, of any human being. Today, scientific analysis is central to determining a suspect's guilt in almost any criminal case.
Types
o The American Academy of Forensic Sciences lists 10 categories of forensic science, including biology (life science), psychiatry and behavior science, toxicology (the study of poisonous substances) and anthropology (the study of human remains). However, almost any scientific discipline can be used to analyze evidence in a criminal matter. Insect scientists (entomologists), for example, may study fly larvae (maggots) on a murder victim to help investigators determine time of death. Plant scientists (botanists) analyze plant matter collected at crime scenes and on victims or suspects. Computer science is another discipline increasingly called on to retrieve and analyze digital evidence in criminal cases.
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Function
o Regardless of their scientific specialty, all forensic scientists have the same goal: examining evidence from a crime scene using strictly scientific knowledge and principles in order to find facts about a criminal case. Because the outcomes are objective facts, forensic science can be useful both to the prosecution and the defense. Any discipline of forensic science can prove whether and how suspects and victims are linked to each other or to the crime scene itself.
Benefits
o Forensic science has become one of the most important parts of any criminal case. Experts who study evidence collected at a crime scene and who explain their scientific findings to a jury make it possible for juries, in turn, to make good decisions about guilt or innocence. Courtroom verdicts are based not on circumstantial evidence or eyewitness accounts but on solid, scientific fact. The more advanced different fields of science become, the more important forensic science will be in court cases and in the role of the justice system to convict the guilty and acquit the innocent.
Considerations
o Forensic scientists must concern themselves with science itself, not the crime. To be useful in a court of law, their testimony must be objective, reliable and based only on scientific fact. If the facts show that no clear conclusion can be drawn, they must state this as their finding. Forensic scientists are not on the side of the law. They are on the side of scientific truth and fact and must stand behind whatever outcome their findings show.
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References
Forensic Sciences Foundation
Forensic Science Timeline; Norah Rudin and Keith Inman; February 2002
Resources
American Academy of Forensic Sciences
All About Forensic Science
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2. BRANCHES OF FORENSIC SCIENCE
How Many Branches of Forensic Science Are There?
By Charlotte Anne Cox, eHow Contributor
 How Many Branches of Forensic Science Are There?
Forensic science is the use of scientific principles in issues of law. There are several branches of forensic science because different scientific disciplines have their own legal applications. Examples of forensics can be seen in physical sciences (e.g., chemistry), biological sciences (e.g., biology and dentistry) and social sciences (e.g., psychology/psychiatry and anthropology).
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1. Forensic Chemistry
o Forensic chemists use their expertise to help law enforcement by analyzing trace evidence found at crime scenes. This evidence can include fingerprints taken from the scene and compared with the prints of suspects; and urine and blood, which are analyzed for poisons and drugs. Forensic chemists also calibrate breathalyzer machines and testify in drunken driving cases about the devices' accuracy.
Forensic Biology
o Forensic biology, or pathology, deals with diseases and how they affect the body. Forensic pathologists help law enforcement through autopsies, where scientists determine the cause and manner of someone's death by examining organs, blood and urine. Based on this information, the police are able to decide if they should pursue a killer or close the case because someone actually died of natural causes.
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Forensic Dentistry
o Forensic dentists, also known as odontologists, use their training to work in criminal and civil cases. In criminal cases, they may identify unknown victims by comparing remains to dental records, or analyze bite marks that can help link a suspect to a victim. Forensic dentists also work in civil cases that deal with malpractice or personal injury.
Forensic Behavioral Sciences
o Forensic psychologists and psychiatrists can work in criminal cases where issues like a defendant's fitness to stand trial, testify or decline representation are in dispute. They are also called to render opinions in civil cases that deal with patients' rights. These types of cases can revolve around issues--such as involuntary hospitalization, whether a patient can refuse treatment and disability claims.
In addition, forensic psychologists and psychiatrists can act as experts in family law cases---such as those involving domestic violence, the custody of children and juvenile delinquency.
Forensic Anthropology
o Forensic anthropologists work in cases that involve tragedies such as terrorist attacks, plane crashes and natural disasters when remains need to be identified. Through their examinations, forensic anthropologists can determine the gender, race and size of a victim, which helps police narrow down that person's identity. In some cases, forensic anthropologists will use skulls to reconstruct the face of a victim, and the rendering is released to the public to generate leads.
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References
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Forensic Science Subdivision Resources
Forensic science is the use of science in a legal setting. Forensic scientists can not only aid in investigations into a crime, but also help determine who the victim and suspect are, what crime was actually committed, and if the suspect is able to stand trial. There are several branches of forensics, including digital, anthropology, archaeology, engineering, entomology, odontology, pathology, psychology, podiatry and toxicology. While some branches are more well-known and understood by the general public than others, they all play a unique and vital role in the building and solving of civil and criminal cases.
Digital Forensics
This branch of forensic science investigates material found on digital devices, especially computer crimes. While its primary focus is on computers, it can and does include any device that stores digital data, including mobile devices, databases and networks. The type of investigations done by digital forensics varies, though they typically include evidence needed in criminal courts that is obtained from a computer, evidence derived from the internet, or investigations into network intrusions. This science can be used to identify a crime, identify culprits, confirm statements and even prove the authenticity of documents. Digital forensics is one of the largest and most complex parts of forensic science.
Digital Forensics This article briefly explains what digital forensics is.
Cell Phone Forensics This document describes the guidelines for forensics involving mobile phones.
Training This article details the training needed for expert digital forensic scientists.
Forensic Anthropology
Forensic anthropology is the science used to investigate the remains of a victim that has decomposed to the point of being only a skeleton. It is also used to investigate remains that are so mutilated as to be unrecognizable. This branch of forensics can identify these types of remains and, in many cases, determine cause of death, though this determination is often not admissible as official in a court of law. Forensic anthropologists often work in conjunction with pathologists and odontologists to determine the entire scope of the crime.
Forensic Anthropology This website details what this branch of science is and how it is practiced.
Uses This article describes the uses of this field of forensics and provides a brief history of its practice.
Forensic Archaeology
Forensic archaeologists combine forensic science and archaeological principles to aid investigators in uncovering and processing evidence. They can uncover evidence such as items buried with a victim, safely uncover buried victims so as not to tamper with the evidence and reconstruct events that took place prior to the occurrence of a crime. This science is also useful in processing the items that may have covered a victim, such as leaves or fallen walls, providing the investigation with information concerning the crime itself and its timing. They can also aid in uncovering mass graves, as well as providing information for civil court cases concerning boundary disputes. This branch of archaeology provides priceless information to the investigation concerning the way in which a victim died, how they were killed and under what circumstances they were buried.
What is Forensic Archaeology This article describes what this branch is and how it functions.
Applied Forensic Archaeology This article describes certain instances where this branch of forensics can be used for historical purposes. In this case, the study focuses on events occurring during the Vietnam War.
FAQs This article answers frequently asked questions regarding the practice of forensic archaeology and describes how it works in the criminal justice system.
Forensic Engineering
This branch of forensics typically investigates personal injury or product liability cases. It focuses on materials, products and buildings, determining how the item in question was meant to function and how it actually does function. While it is mostly a part of civil law, it can be used in criminal law cases to help determine whether a crime was an accident, especially in concern to vehicular crimes. In many cases, forensic engineering will also investigate patent cases, determining whether two items are similar enough to warrant a civil suit.
Forensic Engineering This site describes what this practice is and some of the methods used in its execution.
What it Is This article describes, in detail, what forensic engineering is and how it is used in the criminal justice system.
Forensic Entomology
Forensic entomology studies insects and applies the knowledge to criminal cases and investigations. This almost always includes investigations into a death, though it can also include investigations into attempted murders via drugs or poisons. By studying the insects found in and around the body, a forensic entomologist can determine the location of the murder as well as determine when and how the wounds were inflicted. This study can be especially usefull in crimes spanning a great distance. By studying the types of insects present in and on the victim’s body, investigators can determine where the body has been.
Forensic Entomology This paper provides information on what forensic entomology is and the methods used.
At the Scene This article describes what type of information an entomologist can provide to a crime investigation.
Purpose This article explains the purpose of entomology as it pertains to the legal system.
Forensic Odontology
Forensic odontology is essentially forensic dentistry. These scientists can handle, examine and evaluate dental evidence, determining the age and possibly the identity of the victim. They can also help to determine the perpetrator of the crime, by comparing possible bite marks on subjects to the victim. They can also use this same study on items at the crime scene, sometimes tracing back teeth marks to the perpetrator. This type of bite mark identification is most often used in child abuse, neglect or murder cases.
Techniques This page provides brief descriptions of some of the techniques used in forensic dentistry.
Forensic Dentistry This website offers a plethora of information regarding this branch of forensic science, including details on bite mark identification.
Forensic Pathology
This branch of forensic science is possibly the most well-known. It investigates the cause of death of a victim by examining a corps, including performing autopsies. While a coroner or medical examiner will often perform an autopsy if no foul play is suspected, a forensic pathologist will usually do the autopsy if a crime is suspected. A coroner or medical examiner will request a forensic pathologist complete the autopsy if they find signs of foul play in the process. While this branch is usually used in criminal cases, it can also be used in civil law cases, especially medical malpractice lawsuits.
Forensic Pathology This site describes what this practice is and how it applies to criminal cases.
What is an Autopsy This article describes what is done during an autopsy.
Forensic Psychology
Forensic psychology uses the practice of psychology to aid in criminal cases. Perhaps the most important job of a forensic psychologist is determining if a suspect is competent to stand trial. They can also determine the credibility of a witness. They are also often asked to determine the intent, or state of mind, of a suspect during the alleged crime. While technically considered an expert witness, a forensic psychologist can also provide the court with sentencing recommendations, divulge what type of mental health treatment the suspect may require, and asses the risk of allowing the suspect early release or bail.
Forensic Psychology This article describes, in detail, what this branch of forensic science is.
Criminal Profiling This article describes the criminal profiling part of forensic psychology.
Competence to Stand Trial This article explains how courts determine whether a suspect can legally stand trial.
Forensic Podiatry
Forensic podiatry investigates the feet of suspects of victims and footprints at the crime scene. This branch can determine the estimated weight and even sex of people who entered or left a crime scene. It can also determine what type of footwear a suspect was wearing, allowing investigators to narrow down the suspect pool. They can also often tell how far a victim travelled and over what terrain by studying their feet. In many cases, a forensic podiatrist can also determine which direction a suspect came from, and in which direction they went after the crime was committed.
Forensic Podiatry This article briefly explains what podiatry is and how it is used in the criminal justice field.
American Society of Forensic Podiatry This site provides resources concerning this practice, a history of the organization and an explanation of forensic podiatry.
Forensic Toxicology
This branch uses chemistry and pharmacology to investigate death, poisoning and drug use. They can determine not only what a person injected, but also estimate the effect that the toxins had on the person and how those effects may or may not have caused the end results of the crime. This type of forensic investigation is complex, as most substances change once they enter the body and are digested, and every body digests a substance slightly differently. This branch can often determine cause of death, or determine if a crime was even committed by establishing whether or not the ingested substances caused the death rather than an outside source. Forensic toxicology can also be used in civil cases, especially in lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies.
Forensic Toxicology This site briefly describes what this practice is and provides additional resources.
What is Forensic Toxicology This brochure offers detailed information on what this branch of forensic science is and how it functions.
Department of Health This site offers a brief description of how
3.Investigating a crime scene
Investigating a Crime Scene
Investigating a crime scene is one of the most important parts of any criminal investigation. If done right, it can actually be the key to solving a crime. Crime Scene Investigators, or CSIs, use special methods and equipment for investigating a crime scene. These methods include using certain type of equipment, special investigation methods, and most importantly, preserving the integrity of a crime scene so that nothing gets moved or disturbed. Investigating how a crime occurred can offer a lot of insight into why the crime occurred at all. Since evidence gathered at a crime scene is what puts a criminal in jail, crime scenes are very important.
There are many steps that have to be taken when conducting a criminal investigation and investigating a crime scene. Firstly, detectives have to try and figure out why and how a crime was committed. They examine a crime scene looking for information or clues such as fingerprints, weapons, and DNA. They investigate the victims’ history to determine why someone would want to harm them. After they have formed a hypothesis, they try to find proof that somebody committed a crime so that they can arrest the suspects. They look at both the motive and the actual evidence of the crime and try to see if their hypothesis makes sense. The suspects then enter the criminal justice system where they are tried using the evidence collected at the crime scene.
Crime Scene Investigation
Crime Scene Investigation Information
Investigating a Crime Scene
Scene of Crime
Crime scene investigators have special equipment that they use to investigate crime scenes. This equipment is packed into crime scene kits. They include fingerprint powders designed to find fingerprint on surfaces, brushes, magnetic power wands, placards for marking important evidence, tape, scissors, tweezers, tape, pencils, and pens. They also include chemicals for detecting bodily fluids like luminal and black lights. Bodily fluids can be the most valuable piece of evidence because it can yield DNA, the holy grail of proof.
Crime Scene Equipment
Equipment List
Protective Clothing
Forensic science is used to help solve crimes and there are many types of forensic methods. Forensic toxicology refers to the use of toxicology to determine what chemicals are present in the body after death. Forensic psychology deals with the study of various aspects of human behavior. Criminalistics is the application of sciences to situations in an attempt to achieve answers. This is commonly used in the area of fingerprints, tire tracks, or foot impressions. Forensic DNA analysis is used to determine DNA sequences from biological samples. However, these topics are just the tip of the iceberg. There is a branch of forensic science for everything from bugs to DNA and all branches are used in an actual criminal investigation.
Types of Forensic Science
Forensic Science FAQ
DNA Forensics
Criminialistics
Additional Resources:
Crime Scene Preservation
Crime Scene Interpretation
Scene Investigation: A Guide
Becoming a CSI
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Protecting a crime scene
Protecting the Crime Scene
by George Schiro

Forensic Scientist
Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory

The most important aspect of evidence collection and preservation is protecting the crime scene. This is to keep the pertinent evidence uncontaminated until it can be recorded and collected. The successful prosecution of a case can hinge on the state of the physical evidence at the time it is collected. The protection of the scene begins with the arrival of the first police officer at the scene and ends when the scene is released from police custody.
All police departments and sheriff's offices should include intensive training for its personnel on how to properly protect crime scenes. Potentially, any police officer can be put into the position of first responding officer to a crime scene. The first officer on the scene of a crime should approach the scene slowly and methodically. In some eases this is not altogether practical. The first officer may also be involved in arresting an uncooperative suspect or performing life saving measures on an injured victim. In either ease the officer should make mental or written notes (as is practical in each situation) about the condition of the scene as it was upon the officer's arrival and after the scene has been stabilized. The officer should keep notes on the significant times involved in responding to the crime scene (time dispatched to scene, time left for scene, time arrived at scene, time left scene, etc.). An effort must be made to disturb things as little as possible in assessing the situation. Particular attention should be paid to the floor since this is the most common repository for evidence and it poses the greatest potential for contamination. Notes should also be taken if the officer has to alter something in the investigation. Some things the officer should note include: the condition of the doors, windows, and lighting (both natural and manmade); if there are any odors present; if there are any signs of activity; how EMS or fire personnel have altered the scene; anything essential about the suspect (description, statements, physical condition, mental condition, intoxication, etc.); and anything essential about the victim. Once the scene has been stabilized, the scene and any other areas which may yield valuable evidence (driveways, surrounding yards, pathways, etc.) should be roped off to prevent unauthorized people from entering the area and potentially contaminating it. Investigators and other necessary personnel should be contacted and dispatched to the scene, however, under no circumstances should the telephone at the scene be used. Once the officer has secured the scene, he or she could do the following: record witness names and others who may have entered or been at the scene; separate witnesses and suspect(s); do not discuss the events or the crime with witnesses or bystanders or let the witnesses discuss these events; listen attentively but discreetly; and protect evidence which may be in danger of being destroyed. Any actions taken should be reported to the investigators.
Many times the arrival of additional personnel can cause problems in protecting the scene. Only those people responsible for the immediate investigation of the crime, the securing of the crime scene, and the processing of the crime scene should be present. Non-essential police officers, district attorney investigators, federal agents, politicians, etc. should never be allowed into a secured crime scene unless they can add something (other than contamination) to the crime scene investigation. One way to dissuade unnecessary people from entering the crime scene is to have only one entrance/exit into the crime scene. An officer can be placed here with a notebook to take the names of all of the people entering the crime scene. The officer can then inform them that by entering the crime scene they may pose a problem by adding potential contamination, and the reason that the officer is taking their names is in case the crime scene investigators need to collect fingerprints, shoes, fibers, blood, saliva, pulled head hair, and/or pulled pubic hair from all those entering the crime scene. This will sometimes discourage non-essential personnel from entering the crime scene. The officer can also stop unwanted visitors from entering the restricted areas. If extraneous people do have to enter the scene, then make sure that they are escorted by someone who is working the scene. This is to make sure that they will not inadvertently destroy any valuable evidence or leave any worthless evidence.
Eating, drinking, or smoking should never be allowed at a crime scene. Not only can this wreck a crime scene but it can also be a health hazard. A command post should be set up for such purposes. The post is to be set up somewhere outside the restricted areas. It could be a vehicle, picnic table, hotel room, tent, etc. It can be used as a gathering place for non-involved personnel, a place for investigators to take breaks, eat, drink, or smoke, a communication center, a place for press conferences, a central intelligence area, etc. The best thing about it is that it is away from the crime scene.
Protection of the crime scene also includes protection of the crime scene investigators. One person, whether a civilian or a police crime scene investigator, should never be left alone while processing the scene. This is especially true if the suspect has not been apprehended. There are many stories of suspects still hiding at or near their area of misdeed. That is why there should always be at least two people working the scene. At least one of these people should have a radio and a firearm.
RECOMMENDED READING:
Fisher, Barry A.J., Arne Svensson, and Otto Wendell. Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation, New York: Elsevior, 1981
________________________________________
Continue to Part II--Examination and Documentation of the Crime Scene

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Copyright © 2000-2012 Crime Scene Resources. All rights reserved.
Inclusion of an article or a link on the WWW pages of the Crime-Scene-Investigator.net in no way represents an endorsement or recommendation of any part of that article or link by Crime Scene Resources, the Crime-Scene-Investigator.net, the site's webmaster, or the site's sponsors. Contributing authors of articles and those who maintain pages linked to this site assume total responsibility for the contents and accuracy of their articles and WWW pages. While the information presented here is from reliable sources, there is no substitute for training or personal experience. Before utilizing any technique described here, be sure and check your local regulations and procedures. If you are in doubt as to which technique to use or how to apply it, contact an expert in the field in question.
Examination and Documentation
of the Crime Scene
by George Schiro

Forensic Scientist
Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory

Examination of the Crime Scene
Before the investigators begin examining the scene of the crime, they should gather as much information as possible about the scene. Once again, a slow and methodical approach is recommended. Information is gathered to prevent destruction of valuable and/or fragile evidence such as shoeprints, trace evidence, etc. Once all of the information is gathered, a mental plan is formulated as to how the crime scene will be analyzed. Copious notes and relevant times should be kept on every aspect of the crime scene investigation. The examination of the scene will usually begin with a walk through of the area along the "trail" of the crime. The trail is that area which all apparent actions associated with the crime took place. The trail is usually marked by the presence of physical evidence. This may include the point of entry, the location of the crime, areas where a suspect may have cleaned up, and the point of exit. In some cases, a walk through may become secondary if potential evidence is in danger of being destroyed. In that case, this evidence should be preserved, or documented and collected as quickly as possible.
The purpose of the walk through is to note the location of potential evidence and to mentally outline how the scene will be examined. The walk through begins as close to the point of entry as possible. The first place the investigators should examine is the ground on which they are about to tread. If any evidence is observed, then a marker should be placed at the location as a warning to others not to step on the item of interest.
A good technique to use indoors on hard floors is the oblique lighting technique (also known as side lighting). A good flashlight with a strong concentrated beam is the only tool needed. The room should be darkened as much as possible. If a light switch which a suspect may have touched needs to be turned off, then make sure the switch has been dusted for fingerprints first. Do not close any blinds or shades until after all general photographs have been taken. In the side lighting technique, a flashlight is held about one inch from the floor. The beam is then angled so that it just sweeps over the floor surface and is almost parallel to the surface. The light is then fanned back and forth. Any evidence, such as trace evidence and shoeprints, will show up dramatically. Under normal lighting conditions, this evidence may be barely visible or completely invisible.
As the walk through progresses, the investigators should make sure their hands are occupied by either carrying notebooks, flashlights, pens, etc. or by keeping them in their pockets. This is to prevent depositing of unwanted fingerprints at the scene. As a final note on the walk through, the investigators should examine whatever is over their heads (ceiling, tree branches, etc.). These areas may yield such valuable evidence as blood spatters and bullet holes. Once the walk through is completed, the scene should be documented with videotape, photographs, and/or sketches.
Documenting the Crime Scene
Videotaping the Crime Scene
If available, a video camera is the first step to documenting a crime scene. Videotape can provide a perspective on the crime scene layout which cannot be as easily perceived in photographs and sketches. It is a more natural viewing medium to which people can readily relate, especially in demonstrating the structure of the crime scene and how the evidence relates to the crime. The video camera should have a fully charged battery as well as date and time videotape display functions. A title generator and "shake free" operations are also nice options. If a title generator is not available, then about 15 seconds at the beginning of the tape should be left blank. This will allow the addition of a title card with any pertinent information to the beginning of the crime scene tape. The condition of the scene should remain unaltered with the exception of markers placed by the investigators and any lights turned on during the walk through. These alterations can be noted on the audio portion of the tape. Before taping, the camera range should be cleared of all personnel. Any people in the area should be forewarned that taping is about to commence and they should remain silent for the duration of the tape. This prevents recording any potentially embarrassing statements.
Once the video camera begins recording, it should not be stopped until the taping is complete. The key to good videotaping is slow camera movement. A person can never move too slowly when videotaping, yet it is all too easy to move the camera fast without realizing it. This is why videotaping is not ideal for viewing detail. People have a tendency to pan past objects in a manner that does not allow the camera to properly capture the object. This is why slow panning of an area is necessary and it should be panned twice in order to prevent unnecessary rewinding of the tape when viewing.
The taping should begin with a general overview of the scene and surrounding area. The taping should continue throughout the crime scene using wide angle, close up, and even macro (extreme close up) shots to demonstrate the layout of the evidence and its relevance to the crime scene. If videotaping in a residence, the camera can show how the pertinent rooms are laid out in relation to each other and how they can be accessed. This is sometimes lost in photographs and sketches. After the taping is complete, it is wise to leave about 15 seconds of blank tape to prevent the crime scene tape from running into anything else previously recorded on the tape. The tape should then be transferred to a high quality master tape. The recording tabs should be removed from the master tape after transferring the crime scene tape and the master should be stored in a safe place. This is to prevent accidental erasure of the crime scene tape. Copies can then be made from the master tape.
Still Photography
Whether a video camera is available or not, it is absolutely essential that still photographs be taken to document the crime scene. If a video camera is available, then photographs will be the second step in recording the crime scene. If video is not available, then still photography will be the first step. Photographs can demonstrate the same type of things that the videotape does, but photographs from the crime scene can also be used in direct comparison situations. For example, actual size photographs (also known as one-to-one photos) can be used to compare fingerprint and shoeprints photographed at the crime scene to known fingerprints or shoes from a suspect. This is the advantage of photographs over videotape.
Almost any type of camera with interchangeable lenses and a format of 35mm or larger will do in crime scene photography. The lenses should include a 28mm wide angle lens, a normal 55mm lens, and a lens with macro capabilities (1:4 or better). The flash unit used with the camera should be one that is not fixed to the camera. It should be able to function at various angles and distances from the camera. This is to allow lighting of certain aeras to provide maximum contrast, place the flash in hard to reach areas, and reduce flash wash out which can render the item photographed invisible. Print and/or slide color film (25-400 ISO) should be used. A tripod, a level, and a small ruler should also be available for one-to-one photography. It may be of help to the investigation to have a Polaroid camera handy for instant photographs. For example, an instant photograph of a shoeprint found at a crime scene can be provided to investigators who are running a search warrant on a suspect's residence. The photo will tell them the type of shoe for which they are searching.
The photography of the crime scene should begin with wide angle photos of the crime scene and surrounding areas. When shooting the general overall scene, the photos should show the layout of the crime scene and the overall spatial relationships of the various pieces of evidence to each other. A good technique to use indoors is to shoot from all four corners of a room to show its overall arrangement. The next set of photos should be medium range to show the relationships of individual pieces of evidence to other pieces of evidence or structures in the crime scene. Finally, close up photos should be taken of key pieces of evidence. A ruler should be photographed with items where relative size is important or on items which need to have one-to-one comparison photographs. The object should first be photographed as is, then photographed with the ruler. It is important that when doing one-to-one photography that the ruler is on the same plane as the object being photographed and the film plane is parallel to the ruler. This is why a level and a tripod are necessary. Notes should also be taken as to what the investigator is photographing or wishes to demonstrate in each photograph. This is to prevent the investigator from getting the picture back at a later date and trying to figure out what he or she was trying to accomplish with the photo. The same areas should be photographed in the same sequence as mentioned above in the paragraphs on videotaping.
Crime Scene Sketching
The final phase in documenting the scene is making a crime scene sketch. The drawback of photographs is that they are two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional objects. As a result, most photographs can distort the spatial relationships of the photographed objects causing items to appear closer together or farther apart than they actually are. If spatial relationships of the evidence are important or if something needs to have proportional measurements included in it for calculations (such as bullet trajectory angles, accident reconstructions, etc.) then a sketch must be made of the crime scene.
A sketch is usually made of the scene as if one is looking straight down (overhead sketch) or straight ahead (elevation sketch) at a crime scene. A rough sketch at the scene is usually made first on graph paper in pencil with so many squares representing so many square feet or inches. Directionality of the overhead view is determined by using a compass. Using a tape measure or other measuring devices, measurements are taken at crime scene of the distances between objects and/or structures at the crime scene. These measurements are proportionally reduced on the rough sketch and the objects are drawn in. Two measurements taken at right angles to each other or from two reference points will usually suffice in placing the objects where they belong in a sketch. Double measurements should also be taken to make sure they are correct. This is especially true where calculations will later be used. A final sketch can be made later using inks, paper, and ruler, or a computer. The original rough sketch should be retained and preserved in case it is needed at a later date. Once the scene has been thoroughly documented then the evidence collection can commence.
RECOMMENDED READING:
Moreau, Dale M. "Fundamental Principles and Theory of Crime Scene Photography" Quantico: Forensic Science Training Unit, FBI Academy.
Redsicker, David R. The Practical Methodologv of Forensic Photography, Elsevier: New York. 1991.
"Sketching Crime Scenes" U.S. Dept. of Justice, FBI.

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Continue to Part III--Collection and Preservation of Evidence

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Copyright © 2000-2012 Crime Scene Resources. All rights reserved.
Inclusion of an article or a link on the WWW pages of the Crime-Scene-Investigator.net in no way represents an endorsement or recommendation of any part of that article or link by Crime Scene Resources, the Crime-Scene-Investigator.net, the site's webmaster, or the site's sponsors. Contributing authors of articles and those who maintain pages linked to this site assume total responsibility for the contents and accuracy of their articles and WWW pages. While the information presented here is from reliable sources, there is no substitute for training or personal experience. Before utilizing any technique described here, be sure and check your local regulations and procedures. If you are in doubt as to which technique to use or how to apply it, contact an expert in the field in question.
Collection and Preservation
of Evidence
by George Schiro
Forensic Scientist
Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory

Once the crime scene has been thoroughly documented and the locations of the evidence noted, then the collection process can begin. The collection process will usually start with the collection of the most fragile or most easily lost evidence. Special consideration can also be given to any evidence or objects which need to be moved. Collection can then continue along the crime scene trail or in some other logical manner. Photographs should also continue to be taken if the investigator is revealing layers of evidence which were not previously documented because they were hidden from sight.
Most items of evidence will be collected in paper containers such as packets, envelopes, and bags. Liquid items can be transported in non-breakable, leakproof containers. Arson evidence is usually collected in air-tight, clean metal cans. Only large quantities of dry powder should be collected and stored in plastic bags. Moist or wet evidence (blood, plants, etc.) from a crime scene can be collected in plastic containers at the scene and transported back to an evidence receiving area if the storage time in plastic is two hours or less and this is done to prevent contamination of other evidence. Once in a secure location, wet evidence, whether packaged in plastic or paper, must be removed and allowed to completely air dry. That evidence can then be repackaged in a new, dry paper container. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD EVIDENCE CONTAINING MOISTURE BE PACKAGED IN PLASTIC OR PAPER CONTAINERS FOR MORE THAN TWO HOURS. Moisture allows the growth of microorganisms which can destroy or alter evidence.
Any items which may cross contaminate each other must be packaged separately. The containers should be closed and secured to prevent the mixture of evidence during transportation. Each container should have: the collecting person's initials; the date and time it was collected; a complete description of the evidence and where it was found; and the investigating agency's name and their file number.
Each type of evidence has a specific value in an investigation. The value of evidence should be kept in mind by the investigator when doing a crime scene investigation. For example, when investigating a crime he or she should spend more time on collecting good fingerprints than trying to find fibers left by a suspect's clothing. The reason is that fingerprints can positively identify a person as having been at the scene of a crime, whereas fibers could have come from anyone wearing clothes made out of the same material. Of course if obvious or numerous fibers are found at the point of entry, on a victim's body, etc., then they should be collected in case no fingerprints of value are found. It is also wise to collect more evidence at a crime scene than not to collect enough evidence. An investigator usually only has one shot at a crime scene, so the most should be made of it.
The following is a breakdown of the types of evidence encountered and how the evidence should be handled:
Fingerprints
Fingerprints (also includes palm prints and bare footprints) are the best evidence to place an individual at the scene of a crime. Collecting fingerprints at a crime scene requires very few materials, making it ideal from a cost standpoint. All non-movable items at a crime scene should be processed at the scene using gray powder, black powder, or black magnetic powder. Polaroid 665 black and white film loaded in a Polaroid CU-5 camera with detachable flash should be used to make one-to-one photographs of prints which do not readily lift. All small transportable items should be packaged in paper bags or envelopes and sent to the crime lab for processing. Because of the "package it up and send it to the lab" mentality, some investigators skim over collecting prints at a crime scene. Collecting prints at the crime scene should be every investigator's top priority. Fingerprints from the suspect as well as elimination fingerprints from the victim will also be needed for comparison (the same holds true for palm and bare footprints).
Bite Marks
Bite marks are found many times in sexual assaults and can be matched back to the individual who did the biting. They should be photographed using an ABFO No. 2 Scale with normal lighting conditions, side lighting, UV light, and alternate light sources. Color slide and print film as well as black and white film should be used. The more photographs under a variety of conditions, the better. Older bitemarks which are no longer visible on the skin may sometimes be visualized and photographed using UV light and alternate light sources. If the bitemark has left an impression then maybe a cast can be made of it. Casts and photographs of the suspect's teeth and maybe the victim's teeth will be needed for comparison. For more information consult a forensic odontologist.
Broken Fingernails
Much like a bullet that has individualizing striations on it, natural fingernails have individualizing striations on them. A broken fingernail found at a crime scene can be matched to the individual it came from many months after the crime has been committed. Broken fingernails should be placed in a paper packet which is then placed in a paper envelope. It can then be transported to the crime lab for analysis. Known samples from the suspect and maybe from the victim will be needed for comparison.
Questioned Documents
Handwriting samples can also be matched back to the individual that produced them. Known exemplars of the suspected person's handwriting must be submitted for comparison to the unknown samples. Questioned documents can also be processed for fingerprints. All items should be collected in paper containers. For more information consult a questioned documents examiner.
Blood and Body Fluids
If using the RFLP method of DNA analysis, then blood and seminal fluid can be matched back to an individual with a high degree of probability. Currently, if using the PCR method of DNA analysis or conventional serological techniques then blood and some body fluids can be said to come from a certain population group to which the individual belongs. As PCR technology advances, these population groups will become smaller, eventually giving it the same discriminating power as RFLP analysis has today. Dried blood and body fluid stains should be collected in the following manner: If the stained object can be transported back to the crime lab, then package it in a paper bag or envelope and send it to the lab; if the object cannot be transported, then either use fingerprint tape and lift it like a fingerprint and place the tape on a lift back; scrape the stain into a paper packet and package it in a paper envelope; or absorb the stain onto 1/2" long threads moistened with distilled water. The threads must be air dried before permanently packaging. For transportation purposes and to prevent cross contamination, the threads may be placed into a plastic container for no more than two hours. Once in a secure location, the threads must be removed from the plastic and allowed to air dry. They may then be repackaged into a paper packet and placed in a paper envelope. Wet blood and body fluid stains should be collected in the following manner: all items should be packaged separately to prevent cross contamination, if the item can be transported to the crime lab, then package it in a paper bag (or plastic bag if the transportation time is under two hours), bring it to a secure place and allow it to thoroughly air dry, then repackage it in a paper bag. If the item cannot be transported back to the lab, then absorb the stain onto a small (1"x1") square of pre-cleaned 100% cotton sheeting. Package it in paper (or plastic if the transportation time is less than two hours), bring it to a secure place and allow it to thoroughly air dry; then repackage it in a paper envelope. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD WET OR MOIST ITEMS REMAIN IN PLASTIC OR PAPER CONTAINERS FOR MORE THAN TWO HOURS. Victim and suspect's known whole blood samples will have to be collected in yellow, red, or purple top "Vacutainers." Contact the lab to which the samples will be submitted for specific information.
Firearms and Toolmarks
Bullets and casings found at the crime scene can be positively matched back to a gun in the possession of a suspect. Bullets and casings can also be examined at the crime lab and sometimes tell an investigator what make and model of weapons may have expended the casing or bullet. A bullet found at the crime scene can sometimes be matched back to the same lot of ammunition found in a suspect's possession. Toolmarks can be positively matched to a tool in the suspect's possession. Firearm safety is a must at any crime scene. If a firearm must be moved at a crime scene, never move it by placing a pencil in the barrel or inside the trigger guard. Not only is this unsafe, but it could damage potential evidence. The gun can be picked up by the textured surface on the grips without fear of placing unnecessary fingerprints on the weapon. Before picking up the gun, make sure that the gun barrel is not pointed at anyone. Keep notes on the condition of the weapon as found and stops taken to render it as safe as possible without damaging potential evidence. The firearm can then be processed for prints and finally rendered completely safe. FIREARMS MUST BE RENDERED SAFE BEFORE SUBMISSION TO THE CRIME LAB. The firearm should be packaged in an envelope or paper bag separately from the ammunition and/or magazine. The ammunition and/or magazine should be placed in a paper envelope or bag. It is important that the ammunition found in the gun be submitted to the crime lab. Any boxes of similar ammunition found in a suspect's possession should also be placed in a paper container and sent to the crime lab. Casings and/or bullets found at the crime scene should be packaged separately and placed in paper envelopes or small cardboard pillboxes. If knives (or other sharp objects) are being submitted to the lab (for toolmarks, fingerprints, serology, etc.), then the blade and point should be wrapped in stiff unmovable cardboard and placed in a paper bag or envelope. The container should be labeled to warn that the contents are sharp and precautions should be taken. This is to prevent anyone from being injured.
Shoeprints and Tire Tracks
Shoeprints and tire tracks can be matched positively to a pair of shoes or to tires in a suspect's possession. Shoeprints and tire tracks can sometimes tell investigators what type of shoes or tires to look for when searching a suspect's residence or vehicles. Before any attempt is made at collecting shoeprints or tire tracks, one-to-one photographs should be made using a tripod, ruler, and level. The flash should be held at about 45 degree angles from the surface containing an impression. Casts can be made of impressions using dental stone. Once hardened, the cast can be packaged in paper and submitted to the lab. When photographing prints on hard flat surfaces the flash should be used as side lighting. Shoeprints on hard flat surfaces can also sometimes be lifted like a fingerprint. Dust prints on certain surfaces can be lifted with an electrostatic dustprint lifter.
Fracture Matches
Fracture matches can positively link broken pieces at the scene with pieces found in the possession of a suspect. For example, headlight fragments found at the scene of a hit and run could be positively matched to a broken headlight (just like putting together a jigsaw puzzle) on a suspect's vehicle. Larger fragments should be placed in paper bags or envelopes. Smaller fragments should be placed in a paper packet and then placed in an envelope.
Hair
If a root sheath is attached, then DNA analysis using PCR technology can say that this hair came from a certain percentage of the population to which the suspect belongs. If there is no root sheath, then a microscopic analysis can say that the hair has the same characteristics as the suspect's hair and is similar to his or her hair. At this point, no one can say that a hair came from a particular individual. Hair found at the scene should be placed in a paper packet and then placed in an envelope. If a microscopic examination is required, then 15-20 representative hairs from the suspect must be submitted to the lab for comparison. If DNA analysis if going to be used, then a whole blood sample from the suspect must be submitted to the lab in a "Vacutainer." Contact a DNA lab for more information.
Fibers
Fibers can be said that they are the same type and color as those found in a suspect's clothes, residence, vehicle, etc. Fibers should be collected in a paper packet and placed in an envelope. Representative fibers should be collected from a suspect and submitted to the lab for comparison.
Paint
Paint can be said that it is the same type and color as paint found in the possession of a suspect. Paint fragments should be collected in a paper packet and placed in an envelope. Representative paint chips or samples should be collected from the suspect and submitted to the lab for comparison.
Glass
Glass can be said that it has the same characteristics as glass found in the possession of a suspect. Smaller glass fragments should be placed in a paper packet and then in an envelope. Larger pieces should be wrapped securely in paper or cardboard and then placed in a padded cardboard box to prevent further breakage. Representative samples from the suspect should be submitted to the lab for comparison.
Other Trace Evidence
Sometimes during the commission of a crime, there are other items which may be transferred to a perpetrator from the scene or from the perpetrator to the scene (sheetrock, safe insulation. etc.). The guidelines for collecting the evidence and obtaining known samples is about the same as for paint and fibers. For specific information, contact your crime lab.
RECOMMENDED READING:
"Evidence Handling Guide" LA. Dept. of Public Safety and Corrections, Office of State Police, Crime Laboratory

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Continue to Part IV--Special Considerations for Sexual Assualt Evidence

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Inclusion of an article or a link on the WWW pages of the Crime-Scene-Investigator.net in no way represents an endorsement or recommendation of any part of that article or link by Crime Scene Resources, the Crime-Scene-Investigator.net, the site's webmaster, or the site's sponsors. Contributing authors of articles and those who maintain pages linked to this site assume total responsibility for the contents and accuracy of their articles and WWW pages. While the information presented here is from reliable sources, there is no substitute for training or personal experience. Before utilizing any technique described here, be sure and check your local regulations and procedures. If you are in doubt as to which technique to use or how to apply it, contact an expert in the field in question.
Evidence Collection and Preservation
Investigators and laboratory personnel should work together to determine the most probative pieces of evidence and to establish priorities. Although this brochure is not intended as a manual for DNA evidence collection, every officer should be aware of important issues involved in the identification, collection, transportation, and storage of DNA evidence. These issues are as important for the first responding patrol officer as they are for the experienced detective and the crime scene specialist. Biological material may contain hazardous pathogens such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the hepatitis B virus that can cause potentially lethal diseases. Given the sensitive nature of DNA evidence, officers should always contact their laboratory personnel or evidence collection technicians when collection questions arise.
Contamination
Because extremely small samples of DNA can be used as evidence, greater attention to contamination issues is necessary when identifying, collecting, and preserving DNA evidence. DNA evidence can be contaminated when DNA from another source gets mixed with DNA relevant to the case. This can happen when someone sneezes or coughs over the evidence or touches his/her mouth, nose, or other part of the face and then touches the area that may contain the DNA to be tested. Because a new DNA technology called "PCR" replicates or copies DNA in the evidence sample, the introduction of contaminants or other unintended DNA to an evidence sample can be problematic. With such minute samples of DNA being copied, extra care must be taken to prevent contamination. If a sample of DNA is submitted for testing, the PCR process will copy whatever DNA is present in the sample; it cannot distinguish between a suspect's DNA and DNA from another source.
To avoid contamination of evidence that may contain DNA, always take the following precautions:
Wear gloves. Change them often.
Use disposable instruments or clean them thoroughly before and after handling each sample.
Avoid touching the area where you believe DNA may exist.
Avoid talking, sneezing, and coughing over evidence.
Avoid touching your face, nose, and mouth when collecting and packaging evidence.
Air-dry evidence thoroughly before packaging.
Put evidence into new paper bags or envelopes, not into plastic bags. Do not use staples.
Transportation and storage
When transporting and storing evidence that may contain DNA, it is important to keep the evidence dry and at room temperature. Once the evidence has been secured in paper bags or envelopes, it should be sealed, labeled, and transported in a way that ensures proper identification of where it was found and proper chain of custody. Never place evidence that may contain DNA in plastic bags because plastic bags will retain damaging moisture. Direct sunlight and warmer conditions also may be harmful to DNA, so avoid keeping evidence in places that may get hot, such as a room or police car without air conditioning. For long-term storage issues, contact your local laboratory.
Elimination samples
As with fingerprints, the effective use of DNA may require the collection and analysis of elimination samples. It often is necessary to use elimination samples to determine whether the evidence comes from the suspect or from someone else. An officer must think ahead to the time of trial and possible defenses while still at the crime scene. For example, in the case of a residential burglary where the suspect may have drunk a glass of water at the crime scene, an officer should identify appropriate people, such as household members, for future elimination sample testing. These samples may be needed for comparison with the saliva found on the glass to determine whether the saliva is valuable evidence. In homicide cases, be sure to collect the victim's DNA from the medical examiner at the autopsy, even if the body is badly decomposed. This may serve to identify an unknown victim or distinguish between the victim's DNA and other DNA found at the crime scene.

When investigating rape cases, it may be necessary to collect and analyze the DNA of the victim's recent consensual partners, if any, to eliminate them as potential contributors of DNA suspected to be from the perpetrator. If this is necessary, it is important to approach the victim with extreme sensitivity and provide a full explanation of why the request is being made. When possible, the help of a qualified victim advocate should be enlisted for assistance.
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Preservation of Evidence
Home > Evidence & DNA > Evidence > Preservation of Evidence
From crime scene to forensic laboratory to courtroom, all evidence must be inventoried and secured to preserve its integrity. Evidence admissibility in court is predicated upon an unbroken chain of custody. It is important to demonstrate that the evidence introduced at trial is the same evidence collected at the crime scene, and that access was controlled and documented.
An understanding of the rules governing chain-of-custody is vital for an investigator. For example, in a sexual assault incident, the victim is typically transported to another location to have a sexual assault examination performed. Many jurisdictions have established teams to perform these examinations, and they go by several names, such as: Sexual Assault Victim Examination (S.A.V.E.), Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (S.A.N.E), Sexual Assualt Response Team (S.A.R.T) . The examination involves the collection of the victim’s clothing, hair samples, swabs for body fluids, and documentation of bruising and bitemarks. The materials collected are packaged by the team members.
Proper evidence packaging includes:
Appropriate packaging and labeling of all items
Each item properly sealed and marked
Correct and consistent information recorded on label and procedural documentation
The evidence is turned over to the investigator for submission to a department’s property and evidence section. A receipt documenting the transfer is obtained. Generally, submissions to the forensic laboratory are done on a request for analysis form, listing the evidence items, and a documented chain of custody. Each individual assuming custody of the evidence from collection through analysis signs the chain of custody document. Many departments have automated this process using an information management system, whereby all transfers are securely done using barcodes. The chain of custody report will identify each individual contributing to the analysis of the evidentiary materials.
Once the analysis is complete, the evidence is either returned to the submitting agency or stored by the laboratory. The chain of custody will document this disposition. All law enforcement reports, photographs, lab analysis reports, and chain of custody documents are kept in the case file, which can be made available to the prosecution and is subject to discovery by defense counsel.
Think of the chain of custody as a chain, if one link should be broken, the chain is broken, and the evidence collected may be ruled as inadmissible.

Helpful Hints to Safeguard the Chain of Custody:
Limit the number of individuals handling evidence.
Confirm that all names, identification numbers, and dates are listed on the chain of custody documents.
Ensure that all evidence packaging is properly sealed and marked prior to submission.
Obtain signed or otherwise secure receipts upon transfer of evidence.
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7.1. Types of physical evidence
What are common types of physical evidence?
2 years ago
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 Lucas C
Best Answer - Chosen by Voters
That term is generally used in court. Physical evidence is any kind of object (or even part of an object) that is physically presented in a courtroom in order to support a claim. Physical evidence could be body fluids that contain DNA, a murder weapon, casts of footprints or tire prints; there are lots of options.

In science physical evidence is anything that can be observed or measured in support of a hypothesis or scientific theory. It really isn't so different from the way physical evidence is used in court, except there's no guy in a robe! :)

I hope that helps. Good luck!
2 years ago
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Other Answers (1)
ammonite
1. Blood, Semen, and Saliva. All suspected blood, semen, or saliva-liquid or dried, animal or human-present in a
form to suggest a relation to the offense or persons involved in a crime. This category includes blood or semen
dried onto fabrics or other objects, as well as cigarette butts that may contain saliva residues. These substances
are subjected to serological and biochemical analysis for determination of identity and possible origin. Blood
and semen stains may be made visual by using an ultraviolet lamp.
2. Documents. Any handwriting and typewriting submitted so that authenticity or source can be determined. Related
items include paper, ink, indented writings, obliterations, and burned or charred documents.
3. Drugs. Any substance seized in violation of laws regulating the sale, manufacture, distribution, and use of drugs.
4. Explosives. Any device containing an explosive charge, as well as all objects removed from the scene of an
explosion that are suspected to contain the residues of an explosive.
5. Fibers. Any natural or synthetic fiber whose transfer may be useful in establishing a relationship between objects
and/or persons.
6. Fingerprints. All prints of this nature, latent and visible.
7. Firearms and Ammunition. Any firearm, as well as discharged or intact ammunition, suspected of being
involved in a criminal offense.
8. Glass. Any glass particle or fragment that may have been transferred to a person or object involved in a crime.
Windowpanes containing holes made by a bullet or other projectile are included in this category.
9. Hair. Any animal or human hair present that could link a person with a crime.
10. Impressions. This category includes tire markings, shoe prints, depressions in soft soils, and all other forms of
tracks. Glove and other fabric impressions, as well as bite marks in skin or foodstuffs, are also included.
11. Organs and Physiological Fluids. Body organs and fluids are submitted for toxicology to detect possible
existence of drugs and poisons. This category includes blood to be analyzed for the presence of alcohol and other
drugs.
12. Paint. Any paint, liquid or dried, that may have been transferred from the surface of one object to another during
the commission of a crime. A common example is the transfer of paint from one vehicle to another during an
automobile collision.
13. Petroleum Products. Any petroleum product removed from a suspect or recovered from a crime scene. The most
common examples are gasoline residues removed from the scene of an arson, or grease and oil stains whose
presence may suggest involvement in a crime.
14. Plastic Bags. A polyethylene disposable bag such as a garbage bag may be evidential in a homicide or drug case.
Examinations are conducted to associate a bag to a similar bag in the possession of a suspect.
15. Powder Residues. Any item suspected of containing firearm discharge residues.
16. Serial Numbers. This category includes all stolen property submitted to the laboratory for the restoration of
erased identification numbers.
17. Soils and Minerals. All items containing soil or minerals that could link a person or object to a particular
location. Common examples are' soil imbedded in shoes and safe insulation found on garments.
18. Tool Marks. This category includes any object suspected of containing the impression of another object that
served as a tool in a crime. For example, a screwdriver or crowbar could produce tool marks by being impressed
into or scraped along a surface of a wall.
19. Vehicle Lights. Examination of vehicle headlights and taillights is normally conducted to determine whether a
light was on or off at the time of impact.
20. Wood and Other Vegetative Matter. Any fragments of wood, sawdust, shavings, or vegetative matter discovered
on clothing, shoes, or tools that could link a person or object to a crime location.
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Role of evidences in providing the criminal suspect and guilt
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Evidence is a big factor in a criminal trial. With out the evidence there is nothing to prove that the crime happened except for the officers testimony. Its just another tool that the police have and use to put the bad guy away. Example if a undercover narcotics agent buys drugs from a dealer the drugs are then logged into evidence until they are needed for court. With out the drugs the dealer can get off of the charge easier
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3.The role of forensic laboratories.
Please name some of the equipment found in a forensic's laboratory?
Name any equipment found in a forensics laboratory. All equipment used for any type of analysis within an investigation.
I know there are many but I'd like a general idea.
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ph meters
incubators
centrifuges
desiccants
hydrogen generator
meters
gas analysis
spectrophotometers
synthesizers
thermometers
vortexens
oxygen analysis
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A forensic scientist, white lab coats, drawers, desks, lights.
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scanning electron microscope, centrifuge, dissecting microscope, gas chromatograph, tweezers, magnifying glass, test tubes, pippettes, microscope slides and cover slips, test tube agitator, erlenmyer flasks and beakers, bunsen burner
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Beekers, testing chemicals, whatch CSI check you local listings
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think about it, whats in any lab. tweasers, bunsen burners, glass bottles, microscope. lighter, chemicals, fridge, maybe dry ice. fans, respirators, lab coats. paper and pencils.
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Luminol, Camphor for fingerprinting, Alternative Light Source to illuminate invisible fibers or fluids, latex gloves, drug reactant agents to test validity of certain drugs.
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  Main > Tracing The Evidence> The Forensic Laboratory

The Forensic Laboratory




















The forensic laboratory is where the essence of forensic science takes place, with one objective - to deduce all of what is possible from evidence. Thus, there is the need for multiple departments, personnel and methods of analysis.
Select one of the following topics to read more:
--> General locations
--> The principles
--> The departments
--> Trace evidence
--> Chemistry
--> Serology
--> Materials
--> Firearms
--> Photography
--> Others
--> Efficiency and staff

*The reflected light microscope is used for the study of dense materials. Photo courtesy of Microtrace Laboratory.

Copyright 2004-2005 Thinkquest Team 00206
General Locations Top^

  Forensic laboratories contain almost all aspects of forensic science in one place, where skilled scientists and specialists who focus on specific areas of forensic science work together to unravel and solve even the most intricate of crimes. Forensic laboratories are commonly attached to universities so the scientists who work there can give students studying forensics a first hand experience. Large police departments may have their own forensic laboratory but otherwise, forensic laboratories are independently run.
* Scanning electronmicroscopy is one of the many laboratory techniques available as a result of technology improvements. Photo courtesy of Californian Association of Criminalists.


Copyright 2004-2005 Thinkquest Team 00206
The Principles Top^

Forensic laboratories all run following the same basic rules and regulations. Any item of evidence that enters the lab must never come into contact with anything that could contaminate it. Its progression through each of the lab's departments must therefore be fully recorded so that it can be perused at any time. Once the sample is in the lab, the most straightforward diagnosis is always carried out first i.e to verify that the item is really what it is, before moving onto more expensive, but precise procedures to discover the evidence the item might hold. Any tests that may destroy the piece of evidence are carried out last, after all the other tests have been completed.
Copyright 2004-2005 Thinkquest Team 00206
The Departments Top^

Forensic laboratories contain the most up-to-date technology and techniques for enhancing and analysing fingerprints, shoeprints and tyre marks. As specific methods of analysing evidence at a crime scene are not practical, the objects are recovered and brought into the lab. Below are some common units found in many major labs.
* The polarising light microscope pictured right is often used for particle identification. Photo courtesy of Microtrace Laboratory.


Trace Evidence Top^

In most labs, a unit commonly known as a 'trace evidence unit' forms an area where scientists look for clues in evidence such as hair, fabric, dust, fibre and skeletal remains. Refer to the 'Every Criminal Leaves A Trace' section.

Of Interest
The estimated chances of two people (with full set of 32 teeth) producing identical bite marks are 2.5 billion to 1.

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  Chemistry Top^

  A chemistry unit is present in any laboratory and is used to test samples of blood and urine for alcohol, drugs and poisoning. Chemistry sets are also used in the analysis of synthetic materials such medicines, dyes and stains. Specialists in the area of chemistry also rely on gas chromatographs, mass spectrometers and microscopes to identify chemicals.
* Fume cupbaords are used for safety purposes in the lab, as pictured in the analysis of narcotics to the left. Photo courtesy ofCalifornian Association of Criminalists.



Serology Top^

The serology unit specializes in the identification and analysis of bloodstains and other bodily fluids, as well as DNA sequencing. The most common of the DNA tests, thepolymerse chain reaction, is now able to be performed in small laboratories, thanks to advancements in this area, however, the analysis of mitochondrial DNA is still only performed in large forensic laboratories.
* Pictured to the right is the analysing of blood samples in the laboratory. Photo courtesy of Californian Association of Criminalists.



Materials Top^

Material units are used to identify and analyse metals, paints, ceramics, soil and wood in an attempt to trace a crime back to a possible suspect. The biology unit is in charge of analysing all biological evidence such a seeds and plants.

Firearms Top^

  Firearms units test weapons to see which weapon made the mark on an object or wounded or killed a person. To be able to carry out these tests, firearms specialists study the used bullet cartridges and use shooting baths to fire weapons, identify the bullet marks and establish the firing distance.
* Artillery is tested daily in the firearms unit. Photo courtesy of Californian Assocation of Criminalists.



Photography Top^

Photography plays a vital role in the forensic laboratory, as photography is used to document crime scene evidence. Processing resources and dark room services allow specialists in the area of photography to analyse photographs and bring the evidence to light.
* 35mm medium format cameras form the general camera type used in forensic photography. Photo courtesy of www.morguefile.com.


Others Top^

Large labs also have arson and explosives experts as well as specialists in software, computer data, files, documents, audios and video recordings. The units available in different labs will vary from one to the other, however, the need for certain analyses and the budget of each lab determines the availability of the departments.

Efficiency And Staff Top^

Forensics laboratories are extremely complex and involve up to hundreds of people to ensure everything runs quickly and efficiently. Staff ensures that evidence is correctly booked in, prepared and stored, cleans and maintains the lab, as well as servicing the various technical equipment and keeping it looked after. Testing results from the evidence is useful in solving one crime, but when added to a worldwide database, the evidence can be linked to other crimes that the suspect may have committed.


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Chapter –eight
Finger prints and dna evidence

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DNA Fingerprinting in Human Health and Society
Written by David F. Betsch, Ph.D., Biotechnology Training Programs, Inc. Edited by Glenda D. Webber, Iowa State University Office of Biotechnology.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension Services of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. June, 1994
________________________________________
Like the fingerprints that came into use by detectives and police labs during the 1930s, each person has a unique DNA fingerprint. Unlike a conventional fingerprint that occurs only on the fingertips and can be altered by surgery, a DNA fingerprint is the same for every cell, tissue, and organ of a person. It cannot be altered by any known treatment. Consequently, DNA fingerprinting is rapidly becoming the primary method for identifying and distinguishing among individual human beings.
An additional application of DNA fingerprint technology is the diagnosis of inherited disorders in adults, children, and unborn babies. The technology is so powerful that, for example, even the blood-stained clothing of Abraham Lincoln could be analyzed for evidence of a genetic disorder called Marfan's Syndrome.
The Structure of DNA
The characteristics of all living organisms, including humans, are essentially determined by information contained within DNA that they inherit from their parents. The molecular structure of DNA can be imagined as a zipper with each tooth represented by one of four letters (A, C, G, or T), and with opposite teeth forming one of two pairs, either A-T or G-C. The letters A, C, G, and T stand for adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine, the basic building blocks of DNA.
The information contained in DNA is determined primarily by the sequence of letters along the zipper. For example, the sequence ACGCT represents different information than the sequence AGTCC in the same way that the word "POST" has a different meaning from "STOP" or "POTS," even though they use the same letters. The traits of a human being are the result of information contained in the DNA code.
Living organisms that look different or have different characteristics also have different DNA sequences. The more varied the organisms, the more varied the DNA sequences. DNA fingerprinting is a very quick way to compare the DNA sequences of any two living organisms.
Making DNA Fingerprints
DNA fingerprinting is a laboratory procedure that requires six steps:
1: Isolation of DNA.
DNA must be recovered from the cells or tissues of the body. Only a small amount of tissue - like blood, hair, or skin - is needed. For example, the amount of DNA found at the root of one hair is usually sufficient.
2: Cutting, sizing, and sorting.
Special enzymes called restriction enzymes are used to cut the DNA at specific places. For example, an enzyme called EcoR1, found in bacteria, will cut DNA only when the sequence GAATTC occurs. The DNA pieces are sorted according to size by a sieving technique called electrophoresis. The DNA pieces are passed through a gel made from seaweed agarose (a jelly-like product made from seaweed). This technique is the biotechnology equivalent of screening sand through progressively finer mesh screens to determine particle sizes.
3: Transfer of DNA to nylon.
The distribution of DNA pieces is transferred to a nylon sheet by placing the sheet on the gel and soaking them overnight.
4-5: Probing.
Adding radioactive or colored probes to the nylon sheet produces a pattern called the DNA fingerprint. Each probe typically sticks in only one or two specific places on the nylon sheet.
6: DNA fingerprint.
The final DNA fingerprint is built by using several probes (5-10 or more) simultaneously. It resembles the bar codes used by grocery store scanners.
Uses of DNA Fingerprints
DNA fingerprints are useful in several applications of human health care research, as well as in the justice system.
Diagnosis of Inherited Disorders
DNA fingerprinting is used to diagnose inherited disorders in both prenatal and newborn babies in hospitals around the world. These disorders may include cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, Huntington's disease, familial Alzheimer's, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and many others.
Early detection of such disorders enables the medical staff to prepare themselves and the parents for proper treatment of the child. In some programs, genetic counselors use DNA fingerprint information to help prospective parents understand the risk of having an affected child. In other programs, prospective parents use DNA fingerprint information in their decisions concerning affected pregnancies.
Developing Cures for Inherited Disorders
Research programs to locate inherited disorders on the chromosomes depend on the information contained in DNA fingerprints. By studying the DNA fingerprints of relatives who have a history of some particular disorder, or by comparing large groups of people with and without the disorder, it is possible to identify DNA patterns associated with the disease in question. This work is a necessary first step in designing an eventual genetic cure for these disorders.
Biological Evidence
FBI and police labs around the U.S. have begun to use DNA fingerprints to link suspects to biological evidence - blood or semen stains, hair, or items of clothing - found at the scene of a crime. Since 1987, hundreds of cases have been decided with the assistance of DNA fingerprint evidence.
Another important use of DNA fingerprints in the court system is to establish paternity in custody and child support litigation. In these applications, DNA fingerprints bring an unprecedented, nearly perfect accuracy to the determination.
Personal Identification
Because every organ or tissue of an individual contains the same DNA fingerprint, the U.S. armed services have just begun a program to collect DNA fingerprints from all personnel for use later, in case they are needed to identify casualties or persons missing in action. The DNA method will be far superior to the dogtags, dental records, and blood typing strategies currently in use.
For Further Reading
"DNA fingerprints witness for the prosecution." Discover. June 1988, p. 44.
DNA Identity Testing Information Package. Available from LifeCodes, Inc., Stamford, Connecticut. Phone toll-free: 1 (800) 543-3263.
Genetic Witness -- Forensic Uses of DNA Tests. U.S. Office of Technology Assessment. July 1990. Phone: (202) 224-8996.
"Molecular advances in genetic disease." Science. May 8, 1992.
"The promise and pitfalls of molecular genetics." Science. July 10, 1992.
________________________________________
  Biotech Applied Index
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  Go to next story: An Interview with DNA Forensics Authority Dr. Bruce Weir
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Chapter nine
Blood and other body fluid evidences
Evidence Collection Handbook - BLOOD AND OTHER BODY FLUIDS
Evidence in this category includes blood of human or animal origin, semen, saliva, urine, and skin tissue submitted for the purpose of identification and characterization according to genetic factors such as isoenzymes and DNA profiles. This evidence is called biological evidence. It does not include samples of blood or urine submitted for the determination of the presence of drugs, alcohol, or poisons. See the section on Toxicology for such evidence.

DNA typing is based on the understanding that no two persons, except identical twins, have the same DNA. Conventional serological techniques may still be employed to eliminate suspects. If the suspect cannot be eliminated by conventional techniques, the samples will then be forwarded for DNA analysis. DNA analysis gives an extremely high power of discrimination. DNA profiles from semen stains in sexual assault cases are maintained in a computer database. This database is routinely searched against itself and also a separate database containing DNA profiles from persons convicted of specific felony offenses.
Blood Evidence Value.
Blood evidence is of value in such crimes as murder, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, hit-and-run accidents, and game law violations. Blood evidence may aid an investigation by locating the crime scene, by identifying the weapon used, by proving or disproving a suspect's alibi, and by eliminating suspects. DNA profiling can be performed on any biological substance. It can also be used for the identification of bodies when samples from parents and/or children of the missing person are available.
Information Determined.
1. Analysis must be performed on a stain to determine that it is blood, since the appearance of blood varies greatly depending on the age, weather, and other factors.
2. If the sample is blood, the species origin must then be determined. Usually, it is necessary to determine if the blood is human; in certain cases, however, it must be determined from what animal non-human blood stain originated. This can be done, but, in most cases, only to the level of the taxonomic family used in animal classification.
3. If the blood is human, further classification will be achieved by isoenzyme and DNA analysis. Different individuals have different types due to the genes they received from their parents. Each type has a certain percentage of occurrence in the population. By multiplying together the frequency of occurrence of each type found, the number of people who could have been the source of that bloodstain can be determined. If one blood type is different, a person is eliminated as the possible source.
4. DNA profiling of bloodstains is now regularly performed when necessary.
5. Additional information can be obtained from the size, shape, and distribution of blood
spatters at the scene. This information can be used to reconstruct the events that occurred during the commission of the crime. This examination sometimes needs to be performed at the crime scene. Blood spattered clothing and other items can be evaluated at the laboratory. Detailed photographs taken at the scene showing measurements of the bloodstains can greatly aid the analysis. Contact the nearest laboratory for further information.
6. The sex of the person from whom the sample originated can be determined by DNA typing.
7. Private laboratories are used to do DNA analysis in cases requiring paternity determination.
8. Generally, DNA analysis will be limited to three or four samples per case, the victim's blood, suspect's blood, and one or two questioned samples.

Other Body Fluids of Significant Value
Value.
Depending on circumstances of the case, it is sometimes helpful to identify seminal stains, saliva, or urine. DNA profiling is performed on seminal stains in order to determine if the unknown sample matches the DNA profile of the standard blood sample or not. A differential extraction technique is used on seminal stains that will separate sperm cells from the cells from the vaginal secretions allowing the generation of separate DNA profiles from the male and female portions of the stain.

There are no specific tests to identify feces; therefore, it should not be submitted for identification.
Information Determined.
1. Seminal stains. A suspected seminal stain may be identified by testing for the presence of prostatic acid phosphatase, spermatozoa or P-30 protein. Semen may be further identified by DNA typing.
2. Saliva stains. The presence of amylase is indicative of saliva. Saliva may be further identified by DNA typing.
3. Urine. The presence of creatinine and urea is indicative of urine; however, urine cannot be typed.
4. Skin tissue. It is sometimes possible to DNA type body tissues such as skin, muscle, etc.
COLLECTION OF SAMPLE AND STANDARDS
Since blood and other body fluid evidence is biological and is rapidly decomposed by bacteria and mold, it is absolutely essential that such evidence is handled properly. Please follow these instructions carefully for each type of situation in which stains of blood or other body fluids are found. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CALL THE LABORATORY. Remember safety measures for biological hazards. Always wear disposable gloves when handling material stained with blood or other body fluids. To prevent cross contamination of samples, these gloves should be changed often if they should become soiled with a biological substance. Utensils used to collect evidence should be cleaned with 10% bleach between each item collected. A mask or other protective clothing may be advisable in some cases. Please check with your agency's safety protocols for biological hazards.
Stains on Garments or Fabrics.
1. Make sure that all stains and clothing are DRY! If the stain is wet, it must be air dried away from heat and sunlight, preferably in a secure, ventilated room. The victim's items should be separated from those of the suspect during drying.
2. Package each item separately to avoid contamination and in paper to avoid further decomposition. Paper bags are recommended. DO NOT USE PLASTIC since plastic does not "breathe" and holds in moisture, permitting bacterial and fungal growth.
3. Avoid unnecessary handling of garments with blood or seminal stains.
4. Each item should be initialed and dated in an area away from the stain.
Stains on Surfaces.
1. Items to be checked for blood should not be dusted for prints. Consult with the laboratory first.
2. Whenever possible, submit the bloodstained item itself for analysis. If this is impractical, detach or cut out the part with the stain for submission. Carefully package to avoid
contamination or loss. Do not put any tape directly on the stain.
3. Bloodstains can be swabbed off items which cannot be submitted. Swab the blood onto a cotton-tipped applicator that has been slightly dampened with distilled water, in a manner which concentrates the sample. Swab an unstained area of the same surface in the same manner for a control. Air dry and package the stain and control swabs separately in paper.
4. Concentrated stains on walls, floors, etc. (i.e., items that cannot be cut out and submitted), can be scraped off into a piece of paper which is the carefully folded (See Appendix B.) and then placed in a pillbox or other suitable container. This container and the paper should be initialed and dated or otherwise identified.
5. If the stain is moist, let it air dry first, or swab it onto a cotton tipped applicator then air dry.
6. A control sample of the reagents used during the collection process should be submitted to the laboratory. Moisten a cotton tipped applicator with the distilled water. Allow to air dry and submitted to the laboratory labeled as "Reagent Control".
7. Collect generous portions of the samples to be analyzed.
Standard samples for comparison.
If blood, semen, or saliva groupings are requested, blood samples are required from the victim, the suspect, and from anyone else who may have contributed blood, semen, saliva, or any other body secretion to the stain in question. Blood samples should be drawn in purple-capped tubes (i.e., tubes with EDTA as the preservative). The sample should then be submitted to the lab as soon as possible, along with the rest of the evidence. In the period between obtaining the blood sample and transporting it to the lab, keep it refrigerated, not frozen.
Shipment.
Deliver biological evidence to the laboratory as rapidly as possible, since certain blood group factors decompose within a few days. Check Appendix A for the closest laboratory performing serological analysis. It is best to deliver the evidence in person; however, if this is impossible, the evidence should be sent in a styrofoam cooler containing a freezer brick, not ice, by certified mail to that laboratory. Please avoid using staples since they easily puncture disposable gloves and skin and are a possible source of infection. The outer package should be marked to the attention of the Serology Section. An envelope containing the laboratory request form should be taped to the outside of the package. Liquid blood samples should not be mailed because heat may cause deterioration. Blood stained items-should also be kept away from heat. Even an hour in a car trunk in hot weather is destructive to grouping factors. The request form should have listed the names of the victim(s) and suspect(s), and their age, race, and sex. Each item submitted should be listed along with the specific examinations desired. The package should be marked with a biohazard label.
Rape Evidence
Evidence normally collected in rape or sodomy cases includes a variety of samples which are relatively constant from case to case. This hair, fiber, and biological evidence is covered in separate sections in this manual, but, because of the relatively constant type of evidence required, a separate section was considered necessary to explain rape evidence.
Value.
Evidence in rape cases is likely to link the suspect to the victim or the individuals to some location. Semen, blood, hair or foreign fibers may be transferred during a sexual assault. While the specifics of each type of evidence are discussed in the sections on serology and hairs and fibers, this section will deal with these types of evidence as they relate to rape cases. The Kentucky State Police Forensic Laboratories have sexual assault evidence collection kits available free of charge. One is for the victim (female or male) and one for the suspect. This evidence is essential for effective forensic analysis.
The Sexual Assault Evidence
Collection Kit for Female or Male Victim.
This kit for victims consists of labeled packages for properly collecting and storing evidence, a set of instructions, a Victims Medical History and Assault Information Form, and a Request for Examination form. Each item will be discussed in order so that the investigator can understand why such a sample is requested. All envelopes should be sealed with tape and properly labeled.
1. Pubic hair combings. A paper towel, a comb, and an envelope are provided to collect any loose hair and fibers from the pubic region. This sample will be used to determine if any foreign hair matching that of the suspect is present or if any fibers that might be a link to the suspect or a scene might be present.
2. Pulled pubic hairs. An envelope for at least 15 pubic hairs pulled from various pubic locations is provided. This sample is necessary for any hair comparison to give a
determination of the range and variability of hair known to have come from the victim.
3. Pulled head hairs. An envelope for at least 15 head hairs pulled from various locations from the head is also provided. This sample is necessary for any head hair comparison to give a determination of the range and variability of head hair known to have come from the victim.
4. Blood sample. Blood should be drawn into an EDTA tube then placed on the filter paper cards provided. This is used as a standard.
5. Buccal sample. Two cheek swabs are requested. These are sometimes used as a back-up DNA standard.
6. Vaginal or Penile swabs. Four vaginal or penile swabs are requested. These are necessary to detect semen and to determine the DNA profiles present. These must be air dried and placed in the provided white envelope.
7. Control swabs. If swabs were moistened with water or saline in any step, moisten the two control swabs with the same fluid, then allow them to air dry and place in the provided white envelope.
8. Vaginal smear sample. One cardboard microscope slide mailer is provided for a vaginal smear preparation for the determination of the presence of sperm cells.
9. Other evidence swabs. There are two envelopes containing four swabs each for use for other specimens to be taken as the case indicates. There is a check off area on the envelope for marking whether the swabs are anal swabs (for cases involving anal sodomy), oral swabs (for case involving oral sodomy), external genital swabs, or dried secretion swabs. If more than one sample is required, please be sure the samples are separated from each other and properly marked as to type of sample.
10. Underpants. Collect any underwear worn by the victim after the assault.
It is not recommended that bedding be routinely submitted to the lab. Screening of bulky evidence by the investigator greatly expedites the analysis. Clothing items submitted should be individually packaged in paper bags.
The Suspect Sexual Assault Evidence
or Biological Reference Collection Kit.
This kit for suspects consists of labeled packages for evidence, instructions, and a Request for Examination form. Each item will be discussed in order so that the investigator can understand why such a sample is requested. All envelopes should be sealed with tape and properly labeled.
1. Penile swabs. This sample consists of four swabs dampened with water and then used to swab the outer surface of the penis. This sample may include vaginal secretions from the victim. These must be air dried and placed in the provided envelope.
2. Pubic hair combing. A paper towel, comb, and envelope are provided to collect any loose hair and fibers in the pubic region. This sample is used to determine if any foreign hair or fibers are resent.
3. Pulled pubic hairs. This sample consists of at least 15 pulled pubic hairs from various pubic locations. This sample is necessary for any hair comparisons.
4. Pulled head hairs. This sample consists of at least 15 pulled head hairs from various regions of the scalp. Like all pulled hair samples, it is used as a standard necessary for hair comparisons.
5. Blood sample. Blood should be drawn into an EDTA tube then placed on the filter paper cards provided. This is used as a standard.
6. Buccal sample. Two cheek swabs are requested. These are sometimes used as a back-up DNA standard.
7. Control swabs. If swabs were moistened with water or saline in any step, moisten the two control swabs with the same fluid, then allow them to air dry and place in the provided white envelope.
8. Other evidence swabs. There is an envelope containing four swabs for use for other specimens to be collected as the case indicates. There is a check off area on the envelope for listing whether the swabs are dried secretion swabs or other swabs. If more than one sample is required, please be sure to separate each type of swab from the other and to properly mark the samples.
It is sometimes appropriate for the suspect's underwear or other clothing to be submitted. Each item of clothing should be packaged separately in a paper bag.
Please note that swabs are provided in the kits. The suspect's samples, except the blood sample, can be collected by an investigator or by the suspect himself under supervision.
General Collection Information.
1. Blood standards are necessary from any individual who may have contributed to a stain in order for complete analysis to be performed.
2. Hair analysis cannot be performed without an adequate standard sample for comparison.
3. Never lick the seal of the envelopes containing biological samples. Use tape and not staples to seal packages.
4. Try to minimize the amount of the bulk evidence that is submitted. This particularly applies to bedding.
5. Be sure all envelopes and bags are properly identified as to subject, the collector of the evidence, and the date and time of collection.
6. Do not cross contaminate evidence by packaging two items in the same package.
7. Be especially thorough in relating the facts of the case to the analyst. The request form should bear the race, age, and sex of all victims and suspects.
8. Remember to use disposable gloves in handling items with stains or blood and other body fluids and use any other protective equipment as directed by your agency. All packaged evidence containing such materials should also be marked as "BIOHAZARD".
Shipment
See the Serology Section for shipping information.



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Chapter  – ten
Arson and explosive
Bombs and Explosives Main > Murder Tools > Bombs And Explosives






















The need for studying bombs and explosives by forensic personnel mainly relates to mass murder cases, where bombs would obviously be the ideal weapon .Such bomb cases also have their own special methods to help deduce different forms of evidence.
Choose one of the following topics to read more:
--> Bombs
--> What are bombs?
--> Bomb deposits
--> Fragments


Bombs Top^

Today, making a bomb is a very simple exercise, with recipes readily available on the internet and the materials easily accessible. The make-up of a bomb is very simple and easily fashioned. A timer or remote control device is used to start the primary charge, or spark, which then ignites the gas inside the bomb, triggering a much larger, high powered blast which causes the damage.

What is a Bomb? Top^

The are many bomb types available, some very basic ones that yield little power and some which can cause mass destruction. But what's important is to know that an explosion from a bomb occurs as a result of an endothermic chemical reaction, which is one that releases vast amounts of heat energy and takes place very quickly, thus releasing an explosion. The chemical reactants the bomb maker decides to use reflects on the power of the bomb, since some chemical reactions release more energy than others. Noble gases andalkali metals are among some of the most reactive elements in the periodic table and their compounds are likely bomb materials for eg. In a basic soda bomb, the use of sodium bicarbonate is the use of a sodium compound, subsequently an alkali metal.

Bomb Deposits Top^

When a bomb explodes, a lot of it is thrown far away from the scene. Investigators search for any possible fragments of the bomb by agents that react by changing colour when it comes in contact with fuel. Fragments that carry traces of unburned fuel are taken back to the laboratory, where they are studied under microscopes. The shapes of the fuel particles are identified and are then washed in water and a colourless and inflammable liquid called acetone. The purpose of this process is to turn the particles into a liquid solution for further testing.
  The solution is then screened and analysed using mass spectrometry, which involves an instrument that breaks up ions. These ions are attracted into a magnetic fieldand when their charges are measured in contrast to the mass of the ions, it identifies the chemical composition of the solution.
Another method used is thin-layer chromatography, which involves the liquid sample being pushed in an upward direction by a specially coated plate, using an organic solvent that soaks upwards from the base. The different components in the liquid sample move up at different speeds and separate onto a plate, which then allows the solution to be identified.
* A mass spectrometer/gas chromatograph is situated top left and a thin layer chromatography plate is pictured at the bottom. Photos are both courtesy of Lothian and Borders Police Forensics Lab.

 


Fragments Top^

Even though when a bomb explodes, it is reduced tiny fragments, these fragments can still lead investigators to the bomb's creator. Occasionally, the fragments of the bomb may carry fingerprints, but in most situations, a piece of a bomb simply leads to determining where the bomb was manufactured. Explosives units around the world usually retain a large collection of frequently used bomb parts, batteries, timers, remote control devices and fuel components, which makes it possible for investigators find similarities between certain blasts.
Of Interest
Female serial killers account for only 8% of all American serial killers, but American females account for 76% of all female serial killers worldwide.

Case Study
In England, 1888, it was no longer safe to be walking the streets of London's Whitechapel. A killer, given the nickname of 'Jack the Ripper', was stalking and murdering prostitutes in the area... more...


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Chapter – 11
Medical and legal aspects of death and toxicology
Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology
Volume 2, Number 2, July-December 2001
UNDERGRADUATE SECTION
EXHUMATION - MEDICAL AND LEGAL ASPECTS
-Anil Aggrawal
Professor
Department of Forensic Medicine,
Maulana Azad Medical College,
New Delhi-110002,
India


Definition and general aspects
The word Exhumation comes from Latin words ex meaning "out of", and humus, meaning "ground". Thus the word literally means "out of ground". It means authorized digging out the coffin of a dead person from his grave, in order to establish his cause of death, or to decide upon some other relevant fact, such as the person's identity.

Figrue 1: An exhumation under progress. A board of forensic specialists is supervising the operations. [Click picture to enlarge]
Exhumation is rarely done in India, because in our country, the bodies are disposed off by cremation (burning). Only certain communities bury their dead, and exhumation is relevant only for them. It becomes necessary if at the time of death, there were no suspicions and the body was buried without a post-mortem. Later on fresh facts may come to light, showing some foul play. So a post-mortem examination becomes necessary to establish his cause of death. Exhumation also becomes necessary, when the first post-mortem was inadequate, and it is thought that a second post-mortem may bring some more facts to light. This basically means exhumation combined with doing a second post-mortem.
Exhumation vs. retrieval of a clandestinely buried body
Exhumation must be differentiated clearly from the retrieval of a body clandenstinely buried body by the criminals. In the latter case, the body was never legally buried (or inhumed) in the first place. The person was killed by a criminal or a group of criminals and his body was secretly buried in order to destroy evidence of murder. Retrieval of such a body is NOT exhumation. It is simply unearthing of the body buried illegally and in a criminal fashion by some criminal elements.
The term exhumation is applied only when a proper inhumation (ritual burial of the body in a legal and legitimate fashion) was done in the first place. This difference is not merely academic; it has important legal repercussions. In India, while a proper exhumation can only be done a magistrate under section 176 of Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.), retrieval of an illegally buried body can be done even by the police under section 174 of Cr.P.C.
Reasons for exhumation
Criminal
1. Establishing the cause of his death
2. Retrieving some vital object which may throw more light on the case, such as retrieving the bullet from the dead body, if the person was killed by a firearm.

Figrue 2: Pulling the casket out of grave. [Click picture to enlarge]
Civil
1. Identification of the deceased for various purposes, including burial of the wrong body inadvertently or by fraud, settling of inheritance, etc.
2. For historical reasons:
i. Looking at nutrition and disease in previous generations1.
ii. For re-establishing the cause of death [e.g. The coffin of Zachary Talyor (1784-1850), 12th President of the United States was exhumed in order to re-establish his cause of death for historical reasons. President Taylor died on July 9, 1850, apparently of gastrointestinal infection. He was 66. It is known that five days prior to his death, he consumed large amounts of iced milk and cherries. At the time of his death, his symptoms were consistent with death from natural causes, so no one doubted his cause of death.
It is well known that although he was a slave holder himself, he was sympathetic to the arguments of abolitionists and opposed the admission of new states as slave states. His death would have been welcomed by the pro-slavery faction. Was he deliberately poisoned by his enemies through the iced milk which he consumed? If yes, then history would need to be rewritten!
In 1991, 141 years after his death, several historians and scientists petitioned the coroner of Jefferson County, Kentucky, where his remains are interred. On June 17, 1991, his body was exhumed and very sensitive tests done. Arsenic found in his remains was consistent with normal levels. So it does appear now that President Taylor was not murdered2.].
3. When the site of a graveyard is moved e.g. for redevelopment.
4. When the relatives wish to relocate the grave for some reason [Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), an architectural genius, who created such buildings as the Guggenhein Museum in New York and the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, was initially buried alongside many of his ancestors, in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Twenty six years after his burial, when his third wife Olgivanna Milanov died in Scottsdale, Arizona, his remains were exhumed, cremated, and sent to Scottsdale in accordance with her wishes. This created an uproar among Wright's family and one of his sons even called it "an act of vandalism"! Wright's eldest granddaughter said that "the heartland is where is spirit is, where the ideas were formulated and where the genius was born". The metal marker at Wright's original grave site in Spring Green still stands, but the grave is empty. His remains now lie buried in Taliesin West near Scottsdale, Arizona3. For a picture of his tombstone, please click here.]
Unusual Reasons
[This section was added much after the paper had been published online (for the sake of completeness). Readers may note that the reference used is from the year 2002]
1. To test methods for preventing or slowing down the process of postmortem decay [U. Mobus and colleagues describe an usual case of exhumation, in which a young person "exhumed" a child's body involved in a road accident because he wanted to test methods for preventing or slowing down the process of postmortem decay.4. It can not however be considered a true case of exhumation, as it did not have a legal authority]
2. Exhumation for reburial (for emotional reasons) [During World War II, many innocent civilians were shot summarily or killed otherwise and then buried in mass graves without coffins and even without proper last rites. After the war was over, many such bodies were exhumed and reburied with proper rites. A. Keith mant mentions this fact in his classical paper on adipocere, because a number of these bodies were found to be converted into adipocere8.]
3. Exhumation for reburial (posthumous pardon) [Timothy John Evans (20 November 1924 – 9 March 1950), a Welshman was hanged in the United Kingdom in 1950 for the murder of his infant daughter at 10 Rillington Place, London. An official inquiry conducted 16 years after Evans's hanging determined that his daughter had in fact been killed by his co-tenant, serial killer John Christie, and Evans was subsequently recommended and granted a posthumous pardon. His body was thereupon exhumed and reburied outside Pentonville Prison.]
4. To check an accused's story [When John Reginald Halliday Christie (8 April 1898 – 15 July 1953) was arrested on March 31, 1953 for the murder of six women, whose bodies were found in his house, his house was searched for more clues. A tobacco box was found, which contained some tufts of pubic hair. During his confession, Christie said that one of the tufts had been taken from the body of Beryl Evans, a 19 year old woman whose body was recovered from his house in December 1949, but for whose murder, her husband Timothy Evans had already been hanged. Now Christie seemed to be saying that he had murdered Beryl and had taken pubic hair from her body after killing her (He was looking for insanity defence and reasoned that if he could prove he killed more people than he actually did, he would be considered a mad man by the jury. So quite paradoxically instead of proving his innocence, his intention was to prove he had done more killings than he actually had).To confirm Christie's story, Beryl's body was exhumed, and a tuft of her pubic hair removed. Dr. Keith Simpson compared the two samples and came to the conclusion that the hair did not match. Thus Christie was speaking a lie.]
5. At the request of the family to recover an object placed inadvertently with the remains.
Who authorizes exhumation?

Figrue 3: Collecting soil from beneath the casket, after it has been taken out. [Click picture to enlarge]
The body can be exhumed only upon the written order from the First Class Magistrate (judicial or executive). Coroner system does not exist in India, but where coroner system exists, coroners can usually order exhumation. In India, police CAN NOT order exhumation. In India it is a usual practice for magistrates to constitute a board comprising of three different forensic pathologists from three different medical institutions. The board jointly supervises exhumations (figure 1) and conducts postmortem examination of remains. Although law does not specifically require the formation of such a board, it is usually done in order to send out a message to the aggrieved relatives that the postmortem was done in a free and fair manner with no pressure from any quarters, and also that no inadvertent mistakes could be made (which could perhaps be there if there were only a single doctor).
Procedure
Time
Exhumation is usually done in broad daylight. For this reason, the exhumation team should reach the site of burial (graveyard) in the early morning hours.
Who should be present
The magistrate or the coroner ordering the exhumation and the doctor should be present at the site.
Identification of the grave
The grave is identified properly, with the help of relatives and the official in charge of the graveyard.
Screening off the area
If there are too many curious spectators, the area should be screened off. Professional diggers are then requested to remove soil from the grave. When the coffin becomes visible, strong ropes are passed beneath the coffin, and it is lifted up (figure 2).

Figrue 4: Eight jars with soil from top, bottom, front, back, left and right side of the casket. Two jars contain soil from about 25 yards away from the grave. [Click picture to enlarge]
Collection of soil
Soil from above, below, and from all four sides of the coffin should be collected and preserved in separate glass jars, with identification tags. In addition, at least two samples must be taken from some distance - say around 25 to 30 yards from the grave (figures 3, 4). This is very necessary in some poisoning cases. One example would make the situation clear. If the person is alleged to have been killed by administration of arsenic, and arsenic is found in the body after exhumation, the defense may take the plea that the arsenic found in the body leached in the body from the surrounding soil. It is well known that soil may contain traces of arsenic. An examination of soil recovered from around the grave would reveal whether there was arsenic in the surrounding soil or not. Even if arsenic is present in the surrounding soil, it does not necessarily mean that the defense would become very strong. If the concentration of arsenic found in the body is more than that found in the soil, it clearly indicates that arsenic could not have passively diffused from the soil to the body.
Examination-in-situ
It is customary to open the lid of the coffin once it is brought out of the grave (figure 5). It not only allows foul gases to escape in open air (rather than be released in the mortuary later), but also enables the pathologist to make a quick examination of the remains. When the coffin is opened, the medical officer in-charge should first of all examine the body in situ, and preferably take photographs. Bones may be friable, and may break during subsequent handling, so in situ examination is often quite helpful.
Post-mortem
After an in situ examination is done, the body is transferred to the mortuary for a post-mortem. Here the post-mortem is done as in any other case (figure 6). If there are worms or other insects over the body, it might be tempting to sprinkle insecticides over the body, but it should never be done, as it might interfere later with the determination of poison in the body. If the smell is too offensive, it is advisable to wear a gauze mask dipped in a solution of potassium permanganate. Samples of viscera should be taken for detection of poisons. Many poisons, such as metallic poisons remain in the body for several years. Hair, nails and bones such as femur may also reveal metallic poisons like arsenic.
Exhumed Bones
If only bones are recovered in exhumation (as in very old graves), the bones must be boiled before examination. Maceration by this process may reveal diagnosis not available otherwise by ordinary examination. Maceration by this process is recommended not only in medicolegal autopsies, but also in historical material.

Figrue 5: Lid of the casket is opened to let gases escape and to make a preliminary examination. [Click picture to enlarge]

[Ullrich von Hutten (a knight, revolutionary and poet, 1488-1523) was thought to have suffered from syphilis of the skeletal system at the time of his death. He was duly buried with everybody thinking he was suffering from this disease. In 20th century his grave was exhumed for historical reasons, and the pathologist E.Uehlinger was given the task to study the bones. He boiled the bones first and came to the conclusion that the unfortunate rebel was suffering from polyostotic sclerosing osteomyelitis, and not syphilis5. This diagnosis could be arrived at only because the bones were properly macerated before studying.]
Time limit upto which exhumation may be ordered
In India, there is no time limit for ordering of the exhumation, but many western countries have well-defined time limit up to which exhumation can be done. For instance, in France the time limit is 10 years, and in Germany the time limit is 30 years. Thus in France, if in the 11th year (say) of death, some relevant facts are found which reveal foul play, even then the body can not be exhumed.
Exhumation of Animals
Rarely animals have been exhumed in murder investigation of human beings. This unusual possibility must be kept in mind, when investigating a case of murder.
[Ethel Lillie Major, a 24 year old cantankerous woman, had an illegitimate daughter Auriel. Ethel's parents passed her off as Ethel's sister and married Ethel to Arthur Major in 1918. In 1919, the couple had their own child. Initially the couple lived with Ethel's parents, but in 1929, the couple moved into their own house at Kirkby-on-Bain.
Around 1934, differences began to crop up between the couple. Arthur found out the truth about Ethel's "sister" Auriel, and began an affair with another woman, a neighbor, Mrs. Rose Kettleborough. Ethel claimed to have found two letters written by Rose to her husband. She showed these letters to her doctor with the comment: 'A man like him is not fit to live, and I will do him in'.

Figrue 6: Remains lying in the mortuary just prior to postmortem examination. [Click picture to enlarge]
On 22 May 1934, Arthur Major ate so






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