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Summary - Introduction to Forensich Science Class notes
1400450400 Week I: Introduction to Forensic science
Actus ReusA guilty action
Facial ReconstructionRe-creation of the face of an individual from their skeletal remains
Forensic ondontologyA branch of forensic science that deals with the handling. examination, and presentation of dental evidence in court
IndividualizationThe process of marking something as individual or distinctive in character
Mens ReaA guilty mind or intention
ReconstructionEstablishing a sequence of events about the occurrences during and after a crime or other incident through the study, analysis and interpretation of evidence
Re-enactmentThe acting out or repetition of a past event or situation
- Define Forensic science
- Explain the limits of forensic science
- Identify the types of forensic work
- Describe Locard's Exchange Principle
- Differentiate Reconstruction & Re-enactment
-Singapore's Chao Tze Cheng
-Thailand: Dr. Pornthip
-UK: Sir Bernard Spilsburry
Forensic Medicine vs Forensic Science
Forensic Medicine (M.D.): The body (living and dead)
Forensic Science (BS / BSc): DNA, Drugs. ballistic, physical evidence etc.
Murder Rates Worldwide (per 100.000 population reported):
- Colombia 33
- Honduras 71
- USA 4.7 (Washington D.C. 23,8)
- UK 1,23
- Singapore 0,51
What is Forensic Science?
How did they know?
--> strong evidence
--> Based upon forensic science
--> Scientific principles
Interpretation of evidence
--> found at crime scene
--> physical objects or measurements (activiteiten)
Reliability of evidence
--> how evidence can be trusted
--> to what extent it can be trusted
--> DNA very reliable
Can be deduced or cannot be deduced
--> some aspects beyond the power of forensic science
--> limits of forensic science
Philosophy of all science
--> observations --> of the natural world/crime scene
--> scientific paper
--> presentation at a conference
--> present in court
--> expert witness
--> convince judge/jury
When theory is wrong they can send an innocent person to prison/death
Presumption of innocence
--> innocent until proven guilty
--> prosecution has to prove guilt
--> defense does not have to prove innocence
Innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
Felicia Lee (September 2009)
-over 300 'blunt force trauma wounds'
-her boyfriend charges for murder and torture
-Prosecution torture kicked by boyfriend and cause of death: asphyxia by smothering
-autopsy results: standard tests for other possibilities causing death --> Blood chemistry -- Felicia Lee's blood contained gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB)
Defense expert witness, cause of death seizure (hartaanval/infarct cause by GHB
Verdict not guilty.
Walter Dinivan (wealthy, skull crushed, died without regaining consciousness in 1939), Only 1 witness (but he was dead - so they have to rely on forensic evidence.
Police found a motive: for a robbery and they had a suspect: Joseph Williams.
Discovery: use saliva (speeksel) to determine blood type (true for most of the population).
They found cigarettes - saliva - test blood group - AB the same as Williams.
So there was a motive, reasonable evidence --> defense (Saliva cannot be used to determine blood group) --> jury persuaded to disbelieve forensic evidence - verdict not guilty.
Madam Jetkor Miang Singh, murdered in 1996 evidence cigarettes - evidence stored - Singapores, 2005, cigarettes - saliva extracted - DNA extracted - suspect - evidence presented - verdict guilty.
A Court case, have to show
--> Criminal action was committed
--> Intention to commit the criminal action
Actus Reus - A guilty action - evidence form the crime scene
Mens Rea - A guilty mind or intention - in someone's head
Example of the shooting of Frank Whittington by Dick Cheney.
Quail (kwartel) hunting trip.
Forensic science could have shown that Dick Cheney shot Frank Whittington (footprints, fingerprints, pellets (hagel)).
But why Did Dick Cheney do it? Accident? Motive?
Physical evidence only shows Actus Reus.
Forensic science tells you about the Actus Reus, does not tell you about the Mens Rea.
The act does not make a person guilty unless the mind is also guilty (Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea).
What is Forensics?
--> Criminal Justice
It is Analysis of evidence
Forensic science can reconstruct past sequence (rangschikking/volgorde) of events. Link a suspect to a crime scene. It can reduce a murder charge to a less serious charge.
Living body --> Pressurized arteries (geregelde druk van slagader)
Severed artery --> Blood will spurt out in considerable quantities
Dead body --> Arteries not pressurized, lesser blood will spurt out
Uses of forensic science
--> Art (1818 painting of William Shakespeare), who actually lived 1564-1616.
--> Archeology (reconstruct pas events)
--> Sport (drug tests)
--> International politics (Bosnian conflict)
--> Disasters (2004 tsunami)
Forensic science is about 100 years old --> being done in fiction books before being done in reality. Sherlock Holmes, created by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle.
But started realy with Edmond Locard (1877-1966).
Locard's Exchange principle --> Every contact leaves a trace.
Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value.
Roberto Calvi Case
-Banco Ambrosiano - God's banker - U.S. $1.2 billion missing
Murder or suicide?
-11 June disappeared from Milan - 19 June hanged under Blackfriars Bridge
-Got a false passport - Shaved his moustache - adopted a false name - Escaped to London
Police - unable to answer for the missing money - unable to escape - committed suicide
Roberto Calvi's son - was convinced his father did not commit suicide - so a second inquest.
Police - bricks in suit pocket (for drowning!) - U.S. $14.000 in wallet - false passport (opportunity to travel) - bags packed (going to travel!)
Pathology - neck not broken - no drugs in blood - no signs of a struggle - no water in lungs (not drowned) - watch stopped at 1.52 am (time of death)
Murder of suicide - Blackfriars Bridge under maintenance (onderhoud) - surrounded by yellow painted scaffolding (steigers) - climbing up and down the scaffolding (get yellow paint flakes and rust (roest) marks on clothes or body)
Forensics - no piant flakes - no rust marks - Roberto Calvi did not climb down - may have been raised up to scaffolding
Questions - not a suicide - likely to have been murdered - not sufficient evidence to convict anyone - who killed Roberto Calvi?
Buck Ruxton & the Jigsaw (legpuzzel) Murders
Moffat, Scotland, 1935 - Packages found in River - Numerous body parts wrapped in newspaper.
Questions - How many bodies (2 female bodies) - who were they (Newspaper wrappings).
Answers - Special edition of Morecombe newspaper - Police contacted - Mrs Ruxton and her maid.
Skeletal remains - flesh and distinguishing features removed (face mutilated and fingers removed) - how to identify the body?
Identifying the bodies - photographs of the women - look at the angles the women posed in -superimposed the 2 photos - bodies proved to be Mrs Ruxton and het maid - Buck Ruxton arrested.
Other evidence - bloodstains in the Ruxton house - Ruxton claimed innocence - Jury did not believe him - convicted of murder - controversial case - photographs not good enough for evidence - he confessed before the execution.
Forensic laboratories around the world
1910 - Lyon (France) - set up by Edmond Locard
1915 - Germany
1923 - Austria - USA (LAPD)
1925 - Holland - Finland - Sweden
1932 - USA (FBI)
1935 - UK (Scotland Yard)
1929 - Chemical analysis services in Singapore - laboratory in 1960's
Physical Science Unit - chemical and physical analysis (chemical tests, spectroscopy, microscopy, drugs, material fragments, explosives)
Biology Unit - biological samples (hair, plants)
DNA lab - essential - DNA analysis services
Firearms Unit - guns, bullets, cartridge cases - firearm damage
Documents Unit - determine faked or forged (namaak) documents - analysis of handwriting, prints, paper, ink
Photography Unit - recording & presenting of evidence - determine real & fake photographs (N-Korea - Loch Ness)
Toxicology - drugs and poisons in body fluids and organs
Fingerprinting - visible and latent prints
Polygraph - can we scientifically detect a lie
Voiceprint analysis - proving that a voice belongs to a particular person - audio recordings of his voice (Osama Bin Laden - Howard Hughes)
Psychiatric profiling - what can we tell about the criminal from the way they commit the crime?
Computer Forensics - retrieving (terugkrijgen) deleted data - following of electronic trail
Forensic engineering - Minneapolis I-35 bridge collapse (design fault)
Forensic entomology - using insects to provide information
Forensic Geology - soil analysis (mineral content)
Forensic anthropology - analysis of skeletal remains (when people die in remote <afgelegen> places - only found after the body has decomposed
Facial Reconstruction - take skull and rebuild flesh (see how person looked when they were alive) -used modelling clay - now done electronically
Forensic Odontology - using teeth to provide information (identification of victim remains - identification of criminals) -Ted Bundy and J.G. (Acid Bath) Haigh
Identification & Individualisation
Identification --> What is it? (Looking at it). Chemical or biological tests.
-What is it --> Classification (class characteristics).
E.g. A shoe --> what brand? - What type? - Men's or ladies'shoe?
E.g. A fibre --> what kind of fibre? - Cotton, wool, nylon?
E.g. A bullet --> what kind of bullet? - what calibre bullet?
Individualisation --> Narrowing class to one
E.g. A shoe --> Identify shoe brand (merk) --> identify whose shoe it is (Not always possible to do so)
E.g. Clothing --> Who is the manufacturer?
E.g. Tool --> Serial number? Fingerprints?
E.g. Of chemical origin --> trace elements or impurities (onzuiverheden)
E.g. Biological samples --> Blood type - DNA analysis
Reconstruction & Re-enactment (heruitvoering)
Reconstruction - understanding past events
Re-enactment --> part of reconstruction - re-do one of the events
Started with the July 2005 London Bombings
-July 7 bombings - 4 bombs exploded
-July 21 - failed repeat bombing - terrorists arrested - abandoned (achtergelaten) bom found - helped in how the bombs were constructed and what the bombs were made of.
Defense - cannot claim those people were not the bombers. So motive - hoax (voor de gek houden) bombs.
Mens Rea (guilty mind or intention) --> reconstructed bomb - re-enactment of explosion - not a hoax - intention to cause death and destruction.
Brides in the Bath --> George Smith - marry women - steal their money and murder them - died in the same way - took a bath - had an epileptic fit - drowned - no sign of struggle or bruising.
Question - drowned accidentally? - Murdered?
If murdered by drowning should have a violent struggle - leaves a lot of bruising - no signs of bruising.
Re-enactment - female divers - pull their feet - head went underwater - unconscious - no struggle.
Gareth Williams - Cryptographer working for British intelligence - found in his apartment in August 2010 - dead for 9 days. No signs of a struggle - no traces of poisoning - nog sign of asphyxiation (verstikking).
Evidence - body found in sports bag 81 x 48 cm - padlocked (hangslot) on the outside - in the bath.
Question - locked by someone else?
Re-enactment - yoga experts unable to lock padlock oneself from the outside.
The Woodchipper murder
Victim Helle Crafts and the suspect Richard Crafts.
Police investigation - Richard: "wife disappeared" - passed a lie detector test
Carpet fragments - no blood
Strange purchases - chainsaw - freezer - woodchipper.
Christmas Day 1986: bloodstains on mattress (matched Helle's blood type O+. Witness places wood-chipper at Lake Zoar - Searched river bank - found human hair.
Search of the lake - chainsaw (bought by Richard - serial number) - human tissue (weefsel)
Reconstruction of events
Police assumption - Helle beaten to death on early Nov 19th - body preserved in freezer - used chainsaw to cut up Helle's body - Ran Helle's body parts through woodchipper.
Effect of a woodchipper on a human body? Used a pig carcass - put it through a woodchipper - pig remains - consistent with human remains found in the lake.
- Types of forensic work
- Comparison leading to Association
- Reconstruction & Re-enactment
- Locard's principle "Every contact leaves a trace"
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