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Runaway Jury. How TV crime dramas effect American court rooms. Outline. Breakdown of the different fields and sensors used in forensics TV versus Real Life Case Study CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Effects of TV on the Court Room. Forensic Science.

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Runaway Jury

How TV crime dramas effect American court rooms

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  • Breakdown of the different fields and sensors used in forensics

  • TV versus Real Life

    • Case Study CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

  • Effects of TV on the Court Room

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Forensic Science

  • The application of a broad range of sciences to answer legal questions

  • Used for both criminal and civil cases

  • Usually referred to as simply ‘forensics’

  • Dates back to Aristotle

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Forensic Psychiatry

  • A sub specialty of psychiatry that focuses on the legal aspects of the profession

  • Two major areas of criminal evaluation

    • Competency to stand trial

    • Mental state at time of offense

      • Not guilty by reason of insanity

        • in this case insanity is a legal and not a medical term

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Trace Evidence

  • Evidence found at a crime scene in small but measurable amounts

    • Hairs

    • Fibers

    • Gunshot residue

    • Arson accelerants

    • Botanical materials

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Trace Evidence Sensors

  • Compound polarized light microscope – most commonly used

  • Scanning electron microscope

  • Gas chromatography

  • Mass spectrometry

  • Infrared spectroscopy

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  • Imprint made by the pattern of ridges on the pad of the human finger

  • No two fingerprints are exactly the same

  • Dactyloscopy is the science of comparing fingerprints

  • Three basic patterns: arch, loop, and whorl

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Fingerprint Sensors

  • Dusting power and brush

  • Magnifying glass

  • Computer image enhancement

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Forensic Engineering

  • Investigation of materials, products, structures, or components that fail or do not operate as intended

  • Much more common in civil cases than criminal

    • Locate cause of problem for improvement

    • Insurance companies for liabilities

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Forensic Engineering Sensors

  • Optical and Scanning electron microscopes

  • Spectroscopy

  • Simple hand lens

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Forensic Chemistry

  • Application of chemistry principles to law enforcement

  • Explosives

  • Poisons

  • Controlled substances

    • Weight

    • Positive identification of substance

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Forensic Chemistry Sensors

  • Gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer

    • Traveling time

    • Ion presence

  • Fourier Transform infrared spectrophotometer

    • Drug fingerprint

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Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

  • Combines biology, chemistry, math, and physics to produce strong and solid evidence

  • Can be used to determine several characteristics of the crime committed

  • Variety of blood pattern categories

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Bloodstain Pattern Categories

  • Passive bloodstains, force: gravity

    • Passive drop, gravity alone

    • Drip pattern, blood dripping into blood

    • Flow pattern, change in flow due to gravity or movement of an object

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Bloodstain Pattern Categories

  • Projected bloodstains, force: energy transfer

    • Low, Medium, High Velocity Impact Spatter

    • Cast-Off

    • Gushing

    • Back Spatter

    • Expiratory Blood

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Bloodstain Pattern Categories

  • Transfer/contact bloodstains, force: touch

    • Wipe, object moves through existing stain altering its appearance

    • Swipe, transfer from moving source and the direction of travel may be determined by the feathered edge

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Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

  • Can be used to determine

    • Mechanism that created the stain

    • Direction of travel

    • Area of origin

    • Basic type of object used

    • Minimum number of blows

    • Positioning of victim, suspect, and objects

    • Sequence of events

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Bloodstain Pattern Sensors

  • Center around principles of physics

    • Determine

      • Angle of impact (software)

      • Point of convergence (2D)

      • Area of convergence (2D)

      • Area of origin (3D)

  • Generally collected using photography

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  • Sometimes called “the genetic fingerprint”

  • Inherited from both parents, so biological connections can be confirmed

  • 1986 - First used to convict an criminal of murder in England

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DNA and Sensors

  • Computerized databases

  • Ultraviolet scanners

  • Microarray scanner

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OJ Simpson and DNA

  • Simpson was not the only thing on trial

  • It was also the most public trial of DNA fingerprinting

  • Most jurors actually did not consider the DNA results when reaching their verdict

  • Prosecution used two different labs with eight markers being tested

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Forensic Anthropology

  • Applying physical anthropology and the study of the human skeleton in a legal setting

  • Usually applies to criminal cases when the remains are skeletonized or unrecognizable due to decomposition, burning, or mutilation

  • Cannot legally determine the cause of death but help identify the victim

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Forensic Anthropology Sensors

  • Measurement instruments

  • Microscopes

  • X-rays

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Forensic Facial Reconstruction

  • Process of recreating the face of an unidentified individual from skeletal remains through artistry, anthropology, and anatomy

  • Does not meet the Daubert Standard

  • Only used to reach a positive identification for the remains

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Forensic Facial Reconstruction

  • Two-dimensional reconstructions

    • Portrait drawings based on radiographs, ante mortem photographs, and the skull

    • FACE and CARES computer software can now produce facial approximations quickly and can be edited easily

  • Three-dimensional reconstructions

    • Casts of remains and modeling clay

    • Can be enhanced with computer imaging

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Information Forensics

  • Investigation into systemic processes that produce information

  • Tends to focus on business, technology, and legacy systems

    • Fraud

    • Abuse

    • Mistakes

    • Sabotage

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Information Forensics

  • Bioinformatics

  • Cryptography

  • Musicology

  • Trace

  • Major Specialty area: Forensic Accounting

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Forensic Entomology

  • Appling the study of insects and arthropods to legal issues

  • Arthropod involvement in various crimes including

    • Murder/Suicide

    • Rape

    • Physical abuse

    • Contraband trafficking

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Forensic Entomology

  • Most insects involved in criminal investigations are necrophagous

  • Four primary insect orders

    • Diptera – first on the scene

    • Coleoptera

    • Acari

    • Hymenoptera – last, normally eat insects eating the corpse

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Forensic Entomology Sensors

  • Dissection microscope

  • Electron light microscope

  • Variety of Lenses and chemicals

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Case Study: CSI

  • One of the most watched shows in television history

  • Has several spin off shows all of which are usually in the top spot in their time slot

  • Different from other crime dramas such as Law and Order because it follows the story more through forensics than it follows people and the court proceedings

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Case Study: CSI

  • Benefits produced by CSI

    • Increased or even created public interest in forensic science

    • Majors relating to forensics are some of the fastest growing in the nation

      • Some institutions have even added forensic depts

    • Improved understanding of the importance of science in our every day lives

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Case Study: CSI

  • Problems created by the program

    • However, several myths have been created and reinforced through the popularity of the show

    • Myths range from the actual responsibilities of the criminalists to the speed at which results can be produced

    • Influencing real court rooms in what’s termed “The CSI Effect”

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Case Study: CSI

  • Myth 1: Laboratory Personnel can examine evidence as soon as it gets to the lab

  • Usually takes months before time permits an examination of the evidence due to back logs and quality control procedures

    • Only exception are “high priority” cases

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Case Study: CSI

  • Myth 2: One person can examine all types of evidence

  • There are no ‘generalists’ in today’s forensics

  • The expertise required for each section of forensics sometimes requires one piece of evidence to be examined by more than one individual

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Case Study: CSI

  • Myth 3: Fingerprints susceptible to testing and identification are always found

  • Finding identifiable fingerprints that can be collected and are of a high enough quality to do an automated search are rare

  • Normally fingerprint comparison must be done by ‘hand’

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Case Study: CSI

  • Myth 4: Testing for drugs and chemicals in blood is quick and easy

  • Numerous drugs, botanicals, chemicals that can be presented at any given crime scene

  • Numerous instruments to identify these various compounds

  • Process often takes weeks or months to complete

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Case Study: CSI

  • Myth 5: The cooperative crime scene

  • The ‘perfect’ evidence is rarely there

  • Technology has greatly improved evidence collection but no technological advancements can find nonexistent evidence

  • Time between occurrence and discovery of the crime is the biggest factor

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Case Study: CSI

  • Myth 6: The fully equipped crime lab

  • TV forensic labs are always fully equipped with the most up to date technology

  • Even the labs with the largest budgets cannot afford to have the same lab quality as the labs on TV dramas

  • Shortages occur with building space, funds, equipment and proficient personnel

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Case Study: CSI

  • Myth 7: Use and availability of some sensors

  • Some of the sensors used are actually prototypes still in the developmental stages and are not on the market yet

  • The accuracy and power of some sensors has been enhanced beyond what they are currently capable of detecting

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CSI and the Courtroom

  • Experts have noticed the rise of the “CSI Effect” in courtrooms

    • Trend in which TV shows increase the expectations of victims’ and jury members’ concerning forensic evidence and the level of crime scene investigation

    • Trials are being presented differently at trial

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CSI and the Courtroom

  • From the criminal’s perspective

    • Increase in crime scenes where the evidence has been tampered with or completely destroyed

      • Burning scenes

      • Using bleach

      • Vacuuming carpet and removing the vacuum cleaner

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CSI and the Courtroom

  • Criminal Perspective: Case Study

    • Murder Case in Trumbull County, OH

      • Mother and daughter murdered

      • Used bleach to wash hands

      • Covered car interior with blankets preventing transfer

      • Burned bodies, clothes, and other potential evidence

      • Attempted to sink remaining evidence in a lake

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CSI and the Courtroom

  • Juror perspective

    • Expect to see solid physical evidence indicating the defendant

      • Likely to ignore circumstantial evidence

    • Always assume DNA evidence should be found at the scene

      • If physical evidence is found, it is now much less likely to be questioned by jurors

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CSI and the Courtroom

  • Juror Perspective: Case Study

    • Robert Blake Case

      • Quote from juror “I would have liked more of the kind of evidence I have seen in the cases on ‘CSI’, I just expected more”

      • Dismissed circumstantial evidence

      • More often than not, there is little physical evidence linking defendant directly to the crime