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Crime Scene to Courtroom

  • Lab equipment explained: Differences in cabinets, chambers, and work stations. BONUS: Why you need to stay protected with a Fentanyl enclosure

    By: Jocelyne Terilli
    There are two reasons lab technicians need to have the right equipment: to protect themselves from the chemicals they’re using or to protect evidence from being contaminated. But all this equipment looks similar so it can be confusing as to which is what, how they’re different, and what the function is if you’re coming across it for the first time. As a follow-up to our February 2018 Lunch-n-Learn: Comparing drying cabinets, fuming chambers, & workstations, we’ve gone through each...
  • The importance of a Domestic Violence Evidence Kit

    By: Jocelyne Terilli
    Why these kits differ from sexual assault evidence kits Specially trained forensic nurses or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) regularly document the medical injuries of sexual assault victims, providing medical evidence of allegations or a crime. Often, domestic violence victims do not receive a comprehensive forensic exam. “Officers and detectives regularly document visible injuries suffered in domestic assaults but they are not trained to administer the more comprehensive forensic...
  • Top four benefits to using Reflected Ultra-Violet Imaging Systems (RUVIS)

    By: Jocelyne Terilli
    In the 1970s, Chinese and Japanese forensic scientists were frustrated by not finding all latent fingerprints or contaminating the fingerprints they found via numerous development steps. They sought to create a new technology that would let them find a print without altering or touching it in any way. Using Shortwave Ultra-Violet Light (254 nanometer), they found that the UV light would reflect off fingerprints. Using a special imager with a quartz lens, it could convert the light to a visible...
  • How to photograph difficult scenes

    By: Jocelyne Terilli
    The likelihood of an ideal arson or crime scene to photograph are pretty slim. You’re often up against difficult conditions, while at the same time, it’s important to get clean and detailed, photos. It sounds impossible but we’re here to help. Below, we’ve covered five difficult scenes to photograph and the best practices to get that crisp image. On a side note, you first need to understand how each setting: shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and depth of field (DOF), in your camera works....
  • Customized Sexual Assault Evidence Kits: 4 Things to Know

    By: Jocelyne Terilli
    The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) provides some sobering statistics about sexual assault compiled and calculated from the US Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS): Every 107 seconds, another sexual assault occurs in America 68% of sexual assaults are not reported to police 98% of sexual assault offenders will not serve prison or jail time. A crucial step in sexual assault cases is ensuring that evidence is collected in a timely and humane...
  • Eight Tips for Presenting Digital Evidence in Court

    By: Administrator
    From Digital Forensics Investigator News   Digital evidence is playing a progressively more important role in criminal investigations, from fraud to intellectual property theft to child exploitation. As our world becomes more “connected”, digital evidence is becoming relevant to more and more cases. But digital data is easily manipulated. If an investigator leaves undocumented gaps in their acquisition or analysis process, their evidence can easily lose credibility. Without adequate chain...
  • Forensics Under a Microscope

    By: Administrator
    When Bonnie Horinek died in 1995, her parents refused to believe what the evidence strongly suggested—that Bonnie shot herself. By: Beth Schwartzapfel, a Brooklyn freelance journalist with an interest in criminal justice issues. Warren Horinek did not murder his wife. That’s what he said, that’s what the medical examiner said, that’s what the homicide sergeant said. Even the district attorney’s office in the Horineks’ hometown of Ft. Worth, Texas, agreed that he was innocent—not...
  • How to Gain Credibility in the Courtroom

    By: Administrator
    Many of the digital investigator’s tools are quite simple to use and often require only a couple clicks to generate a detailed report. Regardless of the potential impact “expert” testimony may provide in the courtroom, the digital expert must gain a measure of credibility for that evidence to have a degree of validity. To gain credibility the investigator stresses two vital points: 1. Cross-validation of the tools he used. Arriving at a conclusion must not be based on reliance of a...
  • Statement Analysis -- Part 1

    By: Administrator
    INTRODUCTION Statement analysis is a means for investigators to focus on the words, or lack of words, used by a witness, suspect or victim. Many studies have been conducted that indicate that people really don’t want to lie. So the answers they give to the investigator’s questions may contain half-truths or may be structured to sound like a denial—but are actually deceptive. For example: “I would never strike a woman.” This is not a denial when the subject was asked if he...
  • Statement Analysis -- Part 2

    By: Administrator
    The words people use and how they use then can speak volumes. Continued from Part 1... EXAMPLE NO. 2 The local hospital had called police to report that an infant, three months old, was in an unconscious state, and had been brought to the emergency room by his parents. Minor bruising was noted on the arms and chest of the child. A patrol officer responded and recorded verbal statements from the parents and the attending physician. His report made later that day listed the...
  • Successful Interviewing -- Review of Technique

    By: Administrator
    Interviewing is one form of communication used extensively by law enforcement. Whether used to screen applicants, to elicit information from a witness to a crime, or to obtain a confession, a good interview can have a significant impact on the organization. By James R. Ryals, Commander Long Beach, California, Police Department This article originally appeared in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, March 1991. Interviewing is one form of communication used extensively by law enforcement. Whether...
  • Theme-Based Interrogations--Examining Deviant Behavior

    By: Administrator
    By Special Agent Brian P. Boetig, FBI Academy Investigators can increase their success in the interrogation room by applying criminological theories of deviance, which attempt to explain the roots of criminal behavior. The theories attribute deviant behavior to a multitude of spiritual, biological, and social factors. Investigators conducting interrogations can apply these principles in an effort to reduce a suspect’s resistance to being truthful by exploiting centuries of social science...
  • Planning a Formal Interview

    By: Administrator
    There are a number of benefits to preparing an interview sheet. By writing out key questions in advance, the investigator has the opportunity to think about all of the questions that need to be asked during... By: Don Penven For many years, the author has interviewed countless subjects on issues ranging from purse snatching to homicide. Despite these experiences, I could not simply review background information on a case, then walk into a room and conduct an effective interview of the...
  • Interview and Interrogation Part 2

    By: Administrator
    Police Interrogation PART 2 The first step law enforcement officers should take is to ensure that they understand and take advantage of the procedural differences that are required when a suspect invokes the right to silence as opposed to invoking the right to counsel. Because there is a significant difference between the procedural protections offered to a suspect who invokes the right to counsel and one who merely expresses a desire to remain silent, law enforcement officers should be...
  • Interview vs. Interrogation -- Part 1

    By: Administrator
    By: Don Penven , "A Tangled Web" Introduction A polygraph (often referred to as a Lie Detector) is an instrument that measures and records several physiological responses such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration and skin conductivity while the subject is asked and answers a series of questions, on the theory that false answers will produce distinctive measurements. The polygraph measures physiological changes caused by the sympathetic nervous system during questioning. Within the U.S....