77th SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Spring 1991)
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINALISTS
May 16-18, 1991
San Francisco, California
PHOTOGRAMMETRY FOR EVERYBODY - A REVIEW OF RECENT PHOTO-BASED THREE DIMENSIONAL MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUES USING PC COMPUTERS
Axel R. Hoffman, P.E., President of Hammon, Jensen, Wallen & Associates, 8407 Edgewater Drive, Oakland, CA 94621
NO ABSTRACT SUBMITTED.
THE APPLICATION OF INFRARED MICROSPECTROSCOPY TO PAINT CHIP ANALYSIS
Ben Garland, and Richard T. Carl, Nicolet Sepctroscopy Research Center, 5225 Verona Road, Madison, Wl 53711;
J. Russell Daw's II and Sandra L. Poltorak, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, 3021 Lebanon Road, Done/son, TN 37214
The analysis of trace materials is an important aspect of a forensic investigation. A single fiber, a few drug crystals of suspected narcotic, or a paint chip from a suspect's car may be pivotal evidence in a criminal case. The optical viewing capabilities, sensitivity and non-destructive nature of infrared microspectroscopy has made it a powerful tool for the analysis of fibers and drug crystals. Recently, reports have indicated that infrared microspectroscopy can also be used for the analysis of paint chips. We will report on our investigation into the preparation and analysis of paint chips by infrared microspectroscopy. Several methods of sample handling including microtoming with various mounting media will be discussed. Initial results indicate that LR White and paraffin wax works best as the mounting media. Additionally, new videothermal printers offer significant capabilities in terms of ease-of-use and cost for archiving the visible image of the sample.
NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON'T, NOW YOU SEE IT
Martha Blake, San Francisco Police Department Crime Laboratory, 850 Bryant Street, Room 435, San Francisco, CA 94103;
Verle Truman, U.S. Postal Crime Laboratory, San Bruno, CA
Physical Developer is a silver-based aqueous reagent used for the detection of latent fingerprints on paper which has been wet, or as a post-ninhydrin treatment for developing additional latent fingerprints. On several occasions, this moderately destructive process has resolved questioned document problems which were unsolvable with conventional, nondestructive examination techniques. The paper reports actual cases in which treatment of a document with Physical Developer resulted in (1) the development of latent/indented handwriting and (2) restoring handwriting which had been completely washed away. The results of preliminary laboratory experimentation will also be reported.
AN INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC DATABASE FOR USE IN THE IDENTIFICATION OF POLLEN GRAINS
J. Benjamin Smith, MPH Graduate Student, Forensic Science Group, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
The author has constructed an interactive graphically-supported computer database that is designed to assist microscopists in the identification of pollen grain. The database is structured such that the user inputs what he or she knows about a questioned pollen grain. The available inputs, which are done via graphic prompts and choices, include: aperture number, arrangement, and type (tricopate, periporate, etc.), the tectum structure (tectate/semi-tectate/intectate), the shape class (proplate, spheroidal, etc.) and other features of the grain or apertures (transverse furrows, bladders, margos, etc.)
The user can enter one or more of these characteristics for the unknown grain. The database then searches its files for all candidate grains which share the particular combination of morphological characteristics specified by the user. The family, genus, and species name of the possible candidate grains are then listed in a scrolling window. From the list, the user can access scanned-in images and detailed descriptions of the individual grains. Alternatively, the user can "browse" through the images and descriptions for all of the grains in the candidate list and eliminate the grains from the list that do not match their unknown as they go along. Depending on the results of the first search, the user may also decide to specify additional morphological characteristics of their unknown grain, thereby narrowing their search, and shortening the list of possible candidates. Although, as with any identification key, species-level identification may not always be possible, narrowing the list of candidates to include grains from a single family or genus may be sufficient to achieve a preliminary identification of the pollen grain.
The primary advantage of the computer database approach to the identification of pollen grains over the conventional dichotomous key approach, lies with the level of flexibility in the searching of parameters offered by the computer system. In other words, the database does not force the user to make decisions about their unknown that they may not be sure about, given that certain morphological features may be obscure and that pollen grains are not always found in perfect condition. Another advantage that the computer-based identification system has over the conventional dichotomous key approach, lies with the level of flexibility in the searching of parameters offered by the computer system. In other words, the database does not force the user to make decisions about their unknown that they may not be sure about, given that certain morphological features may be obscure and that pollen grains are not always found in perfect condition. Another advantage that the computer-based identification system has over the dichotomous key approach is that the computer data-base is open-ended and expandable. Although no single identification key or computer database can ever approach representing every variety of pollen grain, new grains can be added to the computer system at any time, and be included in the next search.
RAPID MICROCHEMICAL CHARACTERIZATION OF CLANDESTINE LABORATORY SAMPLES
Linton A. Von Beroldingen, Oregon State Police Crime Detection Laboratory, 1111 SW 2nd Avenue, #1201, Portland, OR 97204
This paper presents an illustrative review of microchemical techniques the author employs in the analysis of samples encountered in the processing of clandestine laboratories. Micocrystal tests are employed to identify a number of organic and inorganic precursors, reagents and products. Microcrystalline derivatives of some low-molecular weight amines formed with gold chloride, potassium iodoplatinate and platinum chloride were examined and found to be useful for the identification of methyl and butyl amine. Attention is given to basic physical and chemical properties of unknown material which may be observed by simple experiments. These techniques allow a degree of characterization of samples on their own and efficiently combine with in-strumental methods of analysis in the unraveling of clandestine laboratory puzzles.
ROPE TRICK: A NOVEL PHYSICAL MATCH
Linton A. Von Beroldingen, Oregon State Police Crime Laboratory, 1111 SW 2nd Avenue #1201, Portland OR 97204
A positive association of a piece of cordage used as a ligature in a homicide was made with two pieces of cordage in the suspect's possession. Contrary to the expectations of the criminalist, more than class characteristics were available when the cordage was examined closely with respect to its construction. The braided exterior wrapper of the cord confined two compressed sheets of fibers which were folded in a random fashion. The random folding pattern interacted with diagonal transections of the cord to produce unique contours which could be easily matched in a "jigsaw" fashion. Furthermore, the compressed fiber sheets themselves contained a random arrangement of fibers which provided a second level of matching detail in a comparison. The suspect had originally commented to the searching officers that "Anybody could have this kind of rope!" indicating that he felt secure in the ubiquity of the product of our retail-oriented society. Upon learning of the aforementioned, results, he later stated, "Just because (my) rope was found around her neck doesn't mean I killed her!"
THE COMPARISON MICROSCOPE IN THE FORENSIC SCIENCES
Duayne J. Dillon, D.Crim., P.O. Box 488, Martinez, CA 94553
Part I - Invention and Adaption
Accounts in the American literature are contradictory as to the inventor of the comparison microscope and the individual or individuals responsible for its introduction to the forensic sciences. Despite claims to the contrary, this instrument was not invented by an American nor was it originally designed for forensic purposes. The comparison microscope, its precursors, and its first uses are discussed and illustrated. The forensic science community did not as readily accept this instrument as writers would have us believe. The initial application for this equipment in the field of questioned documents were not especially useful and its potential value was not appreciates. Pioneers in the firearms identification were at first secretive regarding the instrument's design and applications. They were additionally incredulous and resentful when another worker preempted them with the first court use of comparison microscope results.
Part II - Firearms Identification and the Consequences of Deception
The development of the "Science of Firearms Identification" has been attributed to the introduction of the comparison microscope to the forensic sciences. A series of articles, primarily written by Calvin H. Goddard contributed to this premise. A detailed examination of Goddard's illustrations, purporting to be of bullets photographed through the comparison microscope, revealed some disquieting facts. The illustrations in question represent only two different scenes of a "match" and "non-match". These same two photographs are used throughout the various articles, with their appearance somewhat altered by changing their orientation in the body of text.
Comparisons of these two photographs with portions of previously unavailable photographs revealed that they were not taken with he aid of a comparison microscope. The photographs in question are merely composite pictures obtained by conventional means. Further examination of the composite photographs appearing in Goddard's final illustrated article revealed their appearance enhanced by the inclusion of specious striae. Subsequently, a copy of one of the fraudulent illustrations, appeared in a highly regarded textbook on firearms identification, erroneously identified as work by Goddard, in the Sacco-Vanzetti case.
LIGHT AND SOUND AS PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
Lucien C. Haag, Forensic Science Services, 4034 W. Luke Avenue, Phoenix, AS 85019
Over the years the author has encountered a number of cases where victims or witnesses have described seeing the flash of the discharge of a firearm in low light or night time shooting incidents. The ability and consistency with which firearms generate visible light capable of being observed under scene conditions can be an important consideration in such cases and is amenable to testing. The sound of gunshots, of various actors movements and the sound of bullet's arrival at the impact site are also events that have been captured on audiotapes and have potential probative value. A photographic procedure for approximating the human visual experience during firearms discharges in low light conditions will be presented. Two examples of the importance of recorded sounds during shooting incidents will also be present. The first of these will illustrate the importance of movements and changes in position of shooter and decedent. The second example will show how the distance from which a shot occurred can be calculated from acoustical evidence and the use of external ballistics calculations.
WEIRD AND UNUSUAL CASE SCENARIOS
Moderated by Peter Barnett, Forensic Science Associates, 3053 Research Drive, Richmond, CA 94806
No Abstract Available
THE CASE OF THE TRIPPED-UP TRACKERS
V. Parker Bell , Bell and Bell Criminalists, 225 Third Avenue, Escondido, CA 92025
Border Patrol agents observed a group of individuals transporting heavy packages, later determined to be a large quantity of marijuana, across the international border in an isolated area at night. The individuals scattered and fled when the Border Patrol attempted to apprehend them. The defendant was found hiding about sixty yards from the marijuana, and the only evidence to link him to the narcotics were shoe impressions on the trail taken by the group. The impressions were not preserved by photographs or casts, but the agents-allegedly experienced trackers- testified that they had identified the defendant's tracks near the marijuana and backtracked him on the trail to the border. The defense argued and presented evidence to illustrate that the issue of the case was footwear identification, rather than tracking. This case illustrates the following:
- Even the most sophisticated methods of analysis are of no value if the evidence has not been preserved
- Careful consideration of the evidence can avoid confusion between tracking and identification
- Sloppy police work can be exposed by a thorough and diligent investigation by a competent defense attorney; and
- A monetary savings to the taxpayers can be achieved by proper evidence collection.
A CASE OF IMMACULATE PATERNAL CONCEPTION
Edward T. Blake, D. Crim., Forensic Science Associates, 3053 Research Drive, Richmond, CA 94806
No Abstract Submitted.
THE DOG DID IT
Laurie Rawlinson, Serological Research Institute, 3053 Research Drive, Richmond, CA 94806
A 1987 Child Assault case from Arizona in which the defendant placed blame on the family dog. Analysis of evidence collected from the victim, scene and dog showed the presence of canine spermatozoa with no detectable human semen.
RECONSTRUCTION: THE BLOODY HAND
Charles V. Morton, IFS/Criminalistics Laboratory, 2945 Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94609
The role and the hazards of "reconstruction" of a crime by the Criminalist are discussed and illustrated with several cases including one based on a "bloody handprint." This "bloody handprint" turned out not to be blood at all. This talk will explore the potential for the process of "reconstruction" to blind the criminalist to the need for additional tests or to bias his/her interpretation of the tests performed. It will ask the question: Should the Criminalist "reconstruct" a crime?
YOU WIN SOME AND YOU LOSE SOME (WOULDN'T THAT BE NICE)
Raymond Davis, Quantum Analytical Laboratory, Suite 5, 150 Twelfth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122
This paper will explore the lessons learned in an unusual first degree assault case. Forensic scientists must be vigilant in the pursuit of doing "good science" and seeking the truth. Not the truth that best fits a particular theory in a case but the Truth of what really happened. Prosecution and defense attorneys often seek the best possible theory for their cases, bending the truth of what really occurred to support their theories. The case at hand involves a juvenile who was charged with shooting another youth in the torso with a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun. The police and private investigation, gang emergence in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area, the Juvenile Court Judge and the involvement of the State Crime Laboratory intertwine to set the stage for this writer's no-win experience.
DISCUSSION OF BIZARRE CASES IN SAN FRANCISCO
Dr. Boyd Stephens, Chief Medical Examiner, City and County of San Francisco
No Abstract Submitted.
CRIMINAL PROFILING AND UNUSUAL CASES
Michael J. Prodan, California Department of Justice
No Abstract Submitted.
DETERMINATION OF ESTERASE D FROM VAGINAL SECRETION STAINS
Sangetta Joshi, Ph.D Candidate, Forensic Science Department, Punjabi University, Patiala, India;
Vijay K. Sharma, Lecturer, Punjabi University, Patia, India;
Ashi R. Sarin, M.D., Professor and Head of Gynecology Department, Rajindra Hospital,
Vaginal secretion stains are encountered in cases of sexual assaults. In such cases, these are often found contaminated with semen; hence there is a need to identify certain parameters which are either present in one secretion or easily separated from the mixture of two body fluids. 100 semen-free vaginal secretion stains and 50 post-coital vaginal secretion stains were analyzed by using agarose gel electrophoresis for EsD isozymes. 43 percent activity could be detected in semen-free vaginal secretion stains. Activity persisted for a longer period in the samples stored in the deep freezer. Type of male could be detected in only 12 percent of the post-coital samples. Samples taken 8 hours after coitus did not show any seminal EsD activity. It is concluded that the finding of the present study will help the Forensic Scientist for the proper characterization of the non-coital and post-coital vaginal secretion samples in sexual assault cases.
RAPID DETERMINATION OF GENDER USING THE POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION
Rebecca Reynolds, Ph.D., Cetus Corporation, 1400 53rd Street, Emeryville, CA 94608
The ability to determine gender of the donor of a particular biological sample can be of significant investigative use. Most DNA-based gender assays involve a Y-chromosome-specific sequence in which a positive result indicates "male" and a negative result indicates "female". However, other factors can contribute to a negative result and appropriate controls must be employed to prevent misidentification. In this paper, a PCR-based gender identification assay will be described. A single primer pair allows amplification of a specific 209 base pair region on both the X and Y chromosomes. The X and Y sequences are distinguished by Hae III digestion of the PCR products. Results of sensitivity, mixed sample and blind trial studies will be presented. In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of this and other PCR-based gender identification systems will be discussed.
DETECTION OF DQ-ALPHA GENOGYPES IN DNA MIXTURES
Jennifer Super-Mihalovich and Edward T. Blake, DCrim, Forensic Science Associates, 3053 Research Drive, Richmond, CA 94806;
Sean Walsh, Cetus Corporation, 1400 53rd Street, Emeryville, CA 94608
Biological evidence can consist of a mixture of tissue and/or bodily fluids from more than one donor. Such mixtures may make the interpretation of the genetic analysis difficult. The interpretation of mixtures involves identifying the different genotypes that are present in the mixture. In this study, two purified DNA samples of different genotypes were mixed in a serial dilution with one another. These mixtures were amplified and typed using the reverse dot blot DQ Alpha system. This study indicates that the mixtures in which the concentration of the two components is sufficiently different can often be interpreted and the contributing genotypes identified.
A COLLABORATIVE STUDY OF DQ-ALPHA TYPING BY PCR ON SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE
Alan Keel, Oakland Police Department, 455 7th Street, Room 608, Oakland, CA 94607;
Gary Sims and Martin Buoncristiani, California Department of Justice, DNA Laboratory, c/o Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, MS 934-47A, Berkeley, CA 94720
A critical aspect of the reliability of any analytical procedure is the reproducibility of results. As part of validating the PCR DQ Alpha typing procedure in our laboratories, we performed a collaborative study on sexual assault evidence using casework samples that were no longer of judicial interest. Samples (swabs, reference bloods, etc.) were split between our labs. The study was conducted blind, using organic and Chelex extracts and the Cetus Amplitype kit. Concordance of DQ Alpha types was obtained between our two labs for epithelial and sperm cell fractions from vaginal and penile swabs. Intra-individual samples also show concordance of type. Of notable interest was the detection of foreign DNA in the epithelial fractions from suspect penile swabs. This study allows comparison and evaluation of the efficacy of DNA extraction protocols, cell recovery, DNA yields, PCR product yields and DQ Alpha type determinations.
DNA - PCR BUND TRIAL RESULTS
Edward T. Blake, DCrim and Jennifer Super-Mihalovich, Forensic Science Associates, 3053 Research Drive, Richmond, CA 94806
Four blind trials using PCR DNA amplification and typing have been conducted on 119 samples. Two trials, of 50 samples each, were organized by the California Association of Crime Laboratory Directors and the other two trials were organized by trials courts in conjunction with the cases being tried. The samples consisted of blood stains, semen stains and hair exposed to various environmental conditions, for various lengths of time and on various substrates. All samples were analyzed using DQ Alpha amplification and typing. The first set of 50 samples utilized the dot blot format and the remaining samples utilized the reverse dot blot format. 118 of the samples were correctly typed and one sample from the first set was incorrectly typed. The error may be attributed to the failure to immobilized the PCR product of the sample on the membrane. This type of error is eliminated in the reverse dot blot format on which probes are immobilized on the membrane. The sample has been correctly typed using the reverse dot blot format. Alternatively, the incorrect typing of the sample may have been due to preferential amplification of the DQA4 allele. Preferential amplification due to the differential thermal stability of the DQA1 and DQAL4 alleles can be eliminated by maintaining a temperature of 90 C and 96 C during the denaturation step of the amplification.
DNA: THE HIGH TECH SLEUTH
May Alvaren, 119 Ravenwood Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080
This is historical research done on DNA: Genetic Fingerprinting and the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). The slide presentation consists of interviews with experts on the field. Specific cases are also discussed, especially the Quentanilla case that is presently pending at the Redwood City Superior Court. Controversial issues such as the reliability of the data due to some discrepancies in the laboratory procedures and the constitutionality of the methods were also investigated.
FORENSIC STUDY OF BLOOD DNA DEGRADATION ON FABRIC SUBSTRATES
May Alvaren, 119 Ravenwood Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080
This research was designed to investigate possible degradation of human genomic deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) on different substrates (100% combed cotton, 50% cotton/50% polyester, 100% cotton denim and China silk), as well as, the time at which the DNA is too degraded for DNA profiling.
PART I - The blood samples were exposed in the trunk of my car. Samples of each bloodstained fabric were taken every two weeks for twelve weeks and stored in a -80 C freezer. It was found that there were no conclusive differences in degradation between fabrics. Partial degradation could be seen starting at the zero time point, but there was no dramatic difference in the degradation between the two week intervals.
PART II - I was given some reference samples by Forensic Science Associates. The bloodstained samples were on 100% cotton, ranged from one to ten years old (1981 -1991, 1 sample/year) and were exposed at room temperature. To determine degradation, the DNA was extracted from the fabrics using chloroform-phenol extraction and run through a 1% agarose gel electrophoresis. The second part of the research showed that there was a considerable difference in degradation of DNA over a period of ten years. In conclusion, high molecular weigh (HMW) DNA could be found after twelve weeks of exposure and, therefore, a Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) test could be performed. However, after nine years of exposure, only low molecular weight (LMW) DNA was discerned, which could not be used for an RFLP analysis, and so, the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) would become useful for forensic purposes.
DNA ELECTROPHORESIS TANK EVALUATION
Michele E. Home, California Department of Justice, DNA Laboratory, c/o Lawrence Berkeley, Labs, MS 934-47A, Berkeley, CA 94720
DNA electrophoresis tanks from six different manufacturers were evaluated. None of the tanks had external recirculation, however, one tank was designed to produce passive recirculation. All tanks were run with 1 X TAE buffer at an actual rate of 1.25 V/cm for 16 hours. Each gel was then stained and photographed using Polaroid 55 positive/negative film. The gels were visually inspected for "curvature", edge effects and any other abnormalities. The negatives were then evaluated using the Ambis Imaging System. The results indicated that the tank with passive recirculation produced a gel with more uniformity across the lanes than the non-recirculated tanks.
DNA IMPLEMENTATION IN CALIFORNIA: AN UPDATE
Jan S. Bashinski, Calfornia Department of Justice, DNA Laboratory, c/o Lawrence Berkeley Labs, MS 934-47A, Berkeley, CA 94720
This presentation will briefly review the current status and future plans for DNA testing in California public agencies, with particular attention to the California Department of Justice DNA Program. The missions of the DOJ DNA Laboratory are (1) to analyze DNA evidence for the BFS Laboratory system, (2) to develop and validate state of the art methods for DNA profiling and train analysts throughout the state in their use and (3) to establish a data bank of DNA profiling data from violent felons. Because of the statewide impact of its research, training and data base functions, the DNA Laboratory must also provide leadership in coordinating standardization of DNA testing within the state. In 1990, DOJ established a Technical Advisory Committee (TAG) composed of representatives from the CAC and CACLD. The TAC is designed to complement the national Technical Working Group on DNA Analysis Method (TWGDAM) at the state level and to assist the Attorney General's DNA Advisory board with scientific and professional issues. The TAC provides a forum for development of standards for the statewide DNA offender identification data base and for addressing other areas of mutual interest to DNA analysts in California crime laboratories.
FORENSIC DNA ANALYSIS IN ARIZONA: A PRELIMINARY REPORT ON POPULATION DATA FROM FIVE VNTR LOCI IN ARIZONA BLACKS, CAUCASIANS, HISPANICS AND NATIVE AMERICANS
Susan D. Narveson, Arizona Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory, 2310 N. 20th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85009
In May of 1991, the Arizona Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory System will begin performing DNA analysis on selected samples from cases submitted for serological examination. In order to provide a statistical interpretation of the DNA profiling results obtained, it was necessary to compile a DNA Population Data Base for each of the four major ethnic groups found in Arizona. This paper will present a preliminary report on the current DNA Population Data Base for Arizona Blacks, Caucasians, Hispanics and Native Americans obtained by probing over 400 DNA samples with the DNA probes: D2S44, D17S79, D1S7, D4S139 and D10S28. The DNA was extracted from Data Bases samples and analyzed via the FBI RFLP DNA Analysis Procedure. Alleles were sized and frequency distributions were determined utilizing the FBI designed Image Analysis System and software. Differences in allele frequency distributions were noted and data will be presented comparing the allele frequencies obtained for each ethnic group and each of the five DNA probes.