95th SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Spring 2000)
May 8-12, 2000
Napa, California

A. D. Barclay, MSc, National Crime Faculty Bramshill, Hook Hants RG27 OJW, UK

The UK National Crime Faculty (NCF) provides a support service for detectives in the most serious crimes of violence such as stranger murders and rape series. The author has been attached to NCF as forensic coordinator for the last three years and has provided a scientific overview in 97 murder incidents involving 147 deaths. "Cold cases" go back to the 1970's. Whilst new scientific techniques are valuable, even in current cases the majority of additional evidence/information has been found to arise from previously overlooked possibilities and incomplete scene interpretations. In the UK the system did not encourage investigative problem solving by scientists, and forensic science was focussed on obtaining evidence rather than clarifying the whole of the crime. The concepts of physical profiling (analogous to psychological profiling), crime assessment (rather than crime scene assessment) and construction of a 'sceneline' are defined. These concepts can highlight anomalies in existing investigative hypotheses, and identify opportunities to gain further information. They facilitate a forensic overview which works from the investigation context down into the physical items and interpretations, rather than from test results up. Illustrative case examples are provided.

Dr. C. M. Milroy, University of Sheffield, The Medico-Legal Centre

In the 1960's, with Glob publication "The bog people," the phenomenon of preservation of bodies on peat bogs was brought to wide attention. Tollund man, Grauballe man and other bodies became internationally famous. These bodies appeared to date from the Iron Age, but were remarkably well preserved. Preservation of bodies in peat was first recorded in the scientific literature in the early 18th century. Many bodies have now been recovered from peat bogs across Northern Europe, which have been carbon dated to burial times of hundreds to thousands of years.

Many of these bodies have first required forensic investigation, because of the uncertainty of the time the bodies have lain in the earth, but have been identified by carbon dating or artifacts found with the body.

Very little has been recorded, however, on bodies buried in peat bogs for a few years only. This paper examines cases of bodies found in peat bogs that required a full homicide investigation. The reasons for preservation in peat are reviewed and the pathological investigations discussed along with an analysis of the historical cases.

Dr. James M. Curran, Department of Statistics, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Modern methods for assessing sampling variation in match frequencies presented in forensic DNA testimony are compared. The bootstrap and the lognormal approximation method appear to be performing credibly whereas a Bayesian support interval method does not appear to have the properties desired. A new method for assessing sampling error in forensic DNA testimony is given and compared to those previously suggested. It has excellent sampling properties and the ability to handle situations where the alleles in the profile in question have been previously unobserved in the relevant population. A short demonstration of software implementing the bootstrap and the new method for ANY case will be given.

Marie Samples, Mechthild Prinz, Maribel J. Sansone, Howard J. Baum, Robert C. Shaler; Department of Forensic Biology, New York, NY

The Department of Forensic biology, part of the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner, has been performing Y STR analysis on forensic casework since April 1998. The Y amplification is done in the form of a multiplex (YM1) containing the loci DYS19, DYS3891, DYS38911, and DYS390; an AB1 377 sequencer is used for typing of the amplified product.

Because Y STR typing yields a haplotype, the statistical information is limited by the "counting method" of reporting match probabilities. Even so, Y STR typing can yield valuable information in many cases. Such cases include those where there is a mixture of semen donors, a failure to detect autosomal alleles foreign to a female victim or a mixture of male body fluids. Examples from casework will be used to illustrate the usefulness of Y STR typing as another tool in the forensic DNA toolbox.

Hazel Johnson BSc MSc LLB Cbiol, Forensic Science Service, Birmingham, England

In September 1970 the body of 18 year old Rita Sawyer was found in a field near the town of Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England. Despite extensive Police enquiries at the time, her killer was never found. In 1997 the case was reexamined using new Police and Forensic techniques resulting in some interesting new leads and eventually the solving of the case.

Learden Logan, Paul Colman, Ph.D; Los Angeles County Sheriff

The following studies were performed as internal validation for the use of the PE ABI Profiler Plus and COfiler amplification kits with the Prism 310 Genetic Analyzer: Sensitivity, Stutter Peak height, Allele balance, Precision, Mixtures, Concordance and Non-template directed nucleotide addition.
Precision: Instrument precision in estimating base pair sizes and peak heights in RFUs was evaluated using the Profiler Plus and COfiler allelic ladders in 17 replicate injections. Precision analysis demonstrated the coefficient of variation of the base pair measurements at all analyzed ladder peaks ranged from 0.01 % to 0.09%. The coefficient of variation of the peak height measurements at all analyzed peaks ranged from 3.17% to 8.69%. The precision of base pair measurements using the 250 base pair peak in the Genescan ROX 500 internal sizing standard was evaluated from 20 randomly selected samples over a 10 month period. The coefficient of variation in base pair sizing was 0.204%.
Stutter Peak Height: Stutter peaks detected in the analysis of 77 samples were measured and the mean percent stutter plus 3 standard deviations in 9.93%. The maximum percent stutter plus 3 standard deviations was observed at D18S51 at 13.99%, and the minimum was observed at TPOX at 4.99%.
Sensitivity: For pristine DNA, quantities as low as 250 picograms were sufficient to allow for the detection of alleles at each loci in Profiler Plus and COfiler amplification kits using 75 RFUs as the limit threshold of detection.

Pin T. Kyo, California Department of Justice, Berkeley DNA Laboratory

At the Berkeley DNA Laboratory, Convicted Offender Databank staff has a goal to conduct Short Tandem Repeat (STR) Analysis of all backlogged sex and violent offender samples by June 30, 2001. Since 1984, we have received over 140,000 samples, and additional 60,000 samples are expected to be received by June 30, 2001. These samples are being preserved as well as extracted through an automated robotic process developed at the Berkeley DNA Laboratory. The strategy to analyze samples has been shifted from a capillary electrophoresis based system (ABI-310) to a gel electrophoresis based system (ABI-377). While the ABI-310 takes 54 hours to run 96 samples, the ABI-377 can run the same number in two and one-half hours. The biggest challenge facing this project is the last step of the analysis of the raw data produced by the instruments. To deal with this labor-intensive step, additional software is being evaluated which will automatically analyze the data. Other software has been developed in-house to track and upload the profiles to CODIS. Also, additional staff has been hired and is being trained to accomplish the goal of this project. With high throughput technology, our dedicated, trained staff is working hard to accomplish the goal by June 30, 2001.

Alan Keel, Ed Blake, Jennifer Mihalovich; Forensic Science Associates

A total of 36 cases, examined from 1988 to the present in which fingernail scrapings and/or clippings were submitted as physical evidence were reviewed. Biological materials found associated with fingernails included blood, skin, hair, epithelial cells, and sperm. As much as 1250 ng of DNA was recovered from a fingernail specimen. PCR-based genetic information was obtained from all of eight (100%) scrapings submissions, 20 of 25 (80%) clippings submissions, and three of three (100%) found nail submissions. The five clippings cases in which no typing results were obtained were from PCRs in 1991 or earlier. Failure to obtain results from these specimens likely reflected PCR inhibition. Recently, a complete 10-locus STR profile was obtained from fingernail scrapings that were over 30 years old and stored at room temperature. Of those with typing results, foreign DNA was detected in 13% of the scrapings and in 50% of the clippings submissions. Multiplexed STR analysis (i.e. Profiler Plus) provided highly discriminating foreign DNA profiles in four of four (100%) clippings submissions that were subject to STR analysis.

These successes with biological materials recovered from fingernail scrapings and clippings indicate that clippings from victim fingernails (living or dead) are more likely to yield informative genetic data than are fingernail scrapings. This is so because body fluids such as saliva and semen coat both the top and under surfaces of the nail. Scraping only the under surface fails to adequately capture these dried fluids. Fingernail clippings also allow the scientist more flexibility in specimen sampling. For example, areas of concentrated blood on fingernail clippings can be avoided during sampling. Also, it is impractical to attempt to separate debris scraped from under fingernails that is usually pooled in a bindle or on the same scraping tool. Therefore, we recommend the routine collection of fingernail clippings from both dead and living victims as a more efficient procedure for obtaining fingernail-related evidence.

Keith Hadley, Forensic Science Service, UK

In 1963 Paul Kirk in his paper 'The Ontogeny of Criminalistics' made clear his views on training and competence in forensic science and the need for some form of licensing or certification for practitioners.

In the UK the Forensic Science Community working with the Forensic Science Sector Committee supported by the Science Technology and Mathematics National Training Organization is beginning to move away from the assumption that training guarantees competence and to develop some form of agreed 'hallmark' for the competence of forensic practitioners. The Sector Committee is supporting a program whereby nationally agreed occupational standards are the basis for an externally monitored assessment protocol.

This work is being driven by the nascent Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners (CRFP). The paper will describe the principles on which this work is based.

Lucien C. Haag, Carefree, AZ

This PowerPoint and video-presentation illustrates some factual and fictional examples of bloodstain pattern interpretation long before it was published and accepted in the United States. Most noteworthy and entertaining is the 1936 20th Century Fox film Charlie Chan at the Race Track starring Warner Oland as the famous Honolulu Police Department detective. In the opening scene of this film, Charlie gives a reasonably accurate lecture and demonstration of bloodstain morphology and spatter characteristics then later applies these principles to show that what first appeared to be a tragic accidental death was, in fact, a clever attempt to disguise a murder.

Supplementing this fictional dramatization will be cites and examples of bloodstain pattern interpretation from the Soviet forensic literature of the 1920's and 1930's.

J. G. Fraser, Bsc (Hons), C Bioi MI Bioi MI Mgt, Head of Forensic Investigation, Kent County Constabulary, Police HQ, Maidstowe, UK; S. D. Davies, Digital Imaging Specialist, Kent County Constabulary

BPA is a valuable tool, particularly in the investigation of homicide and other violent crimes. Training of non-specialists, who require an understanding of the potential investigative value of BPA, presents challenges in two main areas: the presentation of three dimensional crime scene information and the illustration of the logical framework required for crime scene interpretation. This paper describes an interactive CD ROM based training package for non-specialists, designed to overcome these problems. This is done by using specialist presentation and animation software in a package developed by the authors. The package explains main principles of BPA in a graphic and simplified manner. Additionally, the use of a 3D crime scene animation, for interpretation by the student, describes and demonstrates the process of crime scene reconstruction, explaining the significance of logical processes, contextual information and the evaluation of alternative hypotheses. During development, the package was tested on a wide range of non-specialists and found to be a highly effective training tool.

Lucien C. Haag

Substantial quantities of ammunition in 7.62x39mm have been, and continue to be imported into the United States from a number of countries due to the large number of firearms chambered in this caliber.

Some novel design and construction features have taken place over the last few years among former Soviet-Russian manufacturers of military ammunition. Careful examination and disassembly of cartridges in 7.62x39mm imported into the U.S. during this period has revealed features that sets them apart from other sources of ammunition in this caliber and even distinguish the factory of origin in the present day Russian Republic.

The recognition of these features by the laboratory examiner stands to provide useful information to both the laboratory and investigators confronted with crimes involving such ammunition.

Robert D. Blackledge, Patricia Dawn Sorenson, NCISRFL, San Diego, CA

A recent suspected drug submission to NCISRFL-San Diego consisted of a baggy containing vegetable matter upon which (and also mixed throughout) was a powdery substance. Stereobinocular examination disclosed that the vegetable matter was a mixture of marijuana and tobacco, and that the powder consisted of yellow pieces, opaque white pieces, and colorless translucent pieces. Examination of extracts by GC/MS indicated nicotine, ephedrine/pseudoephedrine, acetaminophen, diazepam, cannabinol, delta 9-THC, hydrocodone, cannabidiol, and oxycodone.

What made this sample interesting was that under the GC/MS temperature program we routinely used for drug analysis the delta 9-THC and the hydrocodone virtually co-elute. Both have a base peak of 299, and also share other mass spectral features. Hydrocodone if dissolved in a volatile solvent and than added to marijuana could produce a virtual drug proficiency test nightmare. After showing the samples and instrumental data, a "political" rather than "chemical" solution to this and similar potential drug proficiency test nightmares will be offered.

Dr C. M. Milroy, University of Sheffield, The Medico-Legal Centre, Sheffield, UK

Ecstasy is the commonest street name for 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). It was first manufactured in 1912 and patented in 1914, but never marketed. In the 1950's the US army examined its potential for psychological warfare. In 1965 Alexander Shulgin manufactured MDMA and in the 1970's began to be used as a recreational drug and in psychotherapy. Its use in the UK was outlawed in 1977.

The first report of deaths associated with MDMA use appeared in the USA. Deaths from MDMA in the UK did not appear until the 1990's, where the drug had become widely used in the "Rave" movement, which had first started in Ibiza in 1988. Deaths in the USA appeared to be cardiac related, but deaths in the UK had a different mechanism. First deaths from hyperpyrexia were seen, followed by deaths from water intoxication and liver disease. These deaths appeared to be directly associated with the combination of MDMA use and prolonged dancing at raves. MDMA is known to have effects on serotonin release, which alters mood, but also has a role in thermoregulation. MDMA has also been shown to cause inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which combined with excessive water intake, appears to account for deaths from water intoxication. Liver damage appears to be an idiosyncratic reaction. MDMA continues to be widely used in the UK. Variants of MDMA, such as MBDB and MDEA are also encountered. Long term effects of MDMA have yet to be evaluated, but as MDMA damages serotonin nerve fibres, there are concerns over long term psychiatric effects.

Cory S. Koger, Michael F. Grosto, Fred A. Tulleners, California Criminalistics Institute

Idealized tool mark impressions, examined by both comparison light and scanning electron microscope (SEM), were evaluated to obtain a statistical comparison between the two techniques. This research was done to determine whether the higher magnification and resolution available with SEM provided a more robust statistical evaluation than light microscopic evaluation. Briefly, consecutive impressions from the same firearm extractor were made in brass cartridge casings. Comparison was accomplished by analyzing line patterns and count for light microscope images. These results were compared with statistical data obtained, at higher magnification, using scanning electron microscope comparison. Impressions from different extractors were also compared in the same manner. This study provides evidence that under these ideal conditions, with no differences in sample preparation, SEM shows a higher frequency of consecutive matching striae than light microscopy, and nearly twice the number of individual striae. However the two methods offer similar statistical results for the total percentage of matching striae, validating both methods as appropriate for most firearm/toolmark comparisons.

Tara Fruchtenicht

There has been little information published on the examination and identification of impression or impact-type tool marks. The ability to match a specific mark to the tool that created it is very valuable to the Criminalist. Based on the principle that no two tools can create the same mark, a double-blind study was conducted using six different hammers, which shared the same general class characteristics.

A series of impression-type tool marks were created on brass plates. The resulting marks were examined using the Scopeman™ MS-803US Video Microscope Inspection System (supplied by Moritex, USA, Inc.) and the Boeckeler VIA-170 Video Measuring System (supplied by Boeckeler Inc.). The hammerheads were examined by making casts in Mikrosil™. The ability to match the marks with the tool that created them was then examined.

Lyn Fereday, Forensic Science Service, Reading, UK

An overview of the current position of Forensic Science in the UK with particular reference to the development of DNA services and partnerships with police, courts and other customers.

Dr. C. M. Milroy, Department of Forensic Pathology, University of Sheffield; Professor A. R. W. Forrest, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, The Medico-Legal Centre, Sheffield, UK

Methadone is widely used as a substitute for heroin in opiate addiction programmes. In the UK, methadone is usually prescribed as an oral suspension, but may be prescribed in tablet form and in ampoules for injection. Concerns have been expressed about the diagnosis of methadone poisoning because of the apparent overlap between concentrations recommended for maintenance (400 ~g/L) and those reported at autopsy. In the UK there has also been concern about methadone being diverted to people not in maintenance programmes.

111 deaths were analysed. In 55 cases methadone poisoning was given as the sole cause of death. 50 victims were adults, age range 17-51 years (median 23 years) with 5 victims under 14 years of age. The mean methadone concentration in the adult deaths was 584 ~g/L, median value 435 ~g/L, range 84-2700 ~g/L. In 56 cases, age range 1-49 years, (median 28 years), death was ascribed to a combination of methadone and other drugs. The mean methadone concentration in these deaths was 576 ~g/L, median 294 ~g/L, range 49-2440 ~g/L. In 26 cases multiple site sampling was performed. This revealed that there could be a 100% discrepancy between methadone concentrations, and other drugs, in samples collected in different sites in the same body. There is an overlap between quoted therapeutic methadone concentrations and methadone concentrations seen in fatalities. However those dying from methadone poisoning may not be the same as those in a methadone programme. A degree to caution must be exercised in determining a fatal concentration because of the phenomenon of post-mortem redistribution. Methadone is particularly dangerous if given to children.

A.R.W. Forrest LLM, Assistant Deputy Coroner, Office of HM Coroner, Medico-Legal Centre, Sheffield, UK

"In every county let coroners be elected. . .." De Officio Coronatoris S.2 1275.
"The Office of Coroner is abolished." S.11 (A) Model Post-Mortem Examinations Act 1954.
As Forensic Science comes of age, does a system of death investigation established in 12th century England still have any real place or should it be consigned to the dustbin of legal history, along with other arcane remnants of the middle ages that still adorn our legal systems. I will review the three systems of death investigation; coroners, medical examiners and procurators Fiscal, currently extant in common law systems and will demonstrate that there remains a very real role for a Coronial system of death investigation and that it can have significant advantages over a medical examiner based system, provided persons with appropriate skills and training can be found and appointed to the Office of Coroner.

John D. DeHaan, Fire-Ex Forensics, Inc.

In May 1996 a series of four furnished cubicles were burned during the CAC Seminar at San Jose, with data on temperatures collected via thermal imaging infrared video. In 1998, a series of eight furnished cubicles were burned by the Washington State Patrol Arson Unit, with thermocouple array data collection. This paper will present the videotaped results of both series of tests and will contrast the data gathered by infrared video with the static data gathered via thermocouple array. The development of the high temperatures and turbulent air flows associated with flashover and post-flashover compartment fires are dramatically illustrated. Temperatures of 1800-2000°F were measured in post flashover fires, extending from floor to ceiling. The time internals between ignition, spread and flashover are also examined.

Professor Brian Caddy, Forensic Science Society

This paper is concerned with an approach to trace analysis which covers the scene and laboratory work and emphasizes the importance of procedures to control contamination as a source of error when processing such cases. There will be a short review of the methodologies used for this type of work and issues will be raised concerning the interpretation of the analytical results in the context of casework and the presentation of court evidence.

Robert D. Blackledge, NCISRFL

In the book, Six Thinking Hats, Edward De Bono introduces a method of compartmentalized thinking as an alternative to the traditional argumentative western approach. Each of the six hats has a different color and each represents a different way of thinking:

Although introduced as a better method of reaching business management decisions, the device has tremendous potential for assisting in criminal investigations. Using an actual (and very controversial) fire investigation case(2) as an example, the speaker will illustrate how this approach is likely to produce a better outcome.

(1) Six Thinking Hats, Edward De Bono, Little, Brown & Company, New York, 1985, 85-81445
(2) http://www.news-observer.com/daily/1998/11/15/ncOO.html

Gregory E. Laskowski, Kern County Regional Criminalistics Laboratory

Over a period of three years, the rural area surrounding the City of Bakersfield, California was subjected to a series of range fires. Fire investigators recovered a series of similarly constructed ignition devices from the various scenes. Due to the fact that a death to a civilian occurred in addition to a serious injury resulting to a firefighter during his valiant effort to protect residences in the path of a fire, a multi-agency task force was formed in an attempt to catch the suspected arsonist. After months of surveillance, a suspect was developed. Physical evidence including fire impressions and partially consumed ignition devices played a major role in identifying the suspect known as the "Northeast Arsonist."

This paper will discuss the use of tire track databases used to identify the tire manufacturer and the vehicle manufacturer as well as a description of the unique ignition devices that played a major role in identifying the suspect to multiple fire scenes. The reasons for setting the fires will be highlighted as well.

Robert N. Anderson, PhD*, Los Altos Hills, CA; Ralph Crawford, BSEE*, Palo Alto, CA; John D. DeHaan, PhD, Vallejo, CA; Michael Mayda, Sacramento, CA; Patrick McGinley, Lafayette Hill, PA; Donald J. Myronuk, PhD, San Jose, CA; Eleanor Posey, PE, Birmingham, AL; Robert Purington, Arnold, CA; Marc Rezin, Mountain View, CA; Joseph B. Zickerman, PhD, Berkeley, CA;
*Presenting Authors

On the night of August 22, 1913, the nearly completed home of author Jack London burned, leaving only the stone walls three stories high and six fireplace chimneys standing. The home was located in the Valley of the Moon in Glen Ellen, California and was called Wolf House by London. The home was never rebuilt and the structure was left to stand as it was after the fire. In 1960 the remains were passed from the family to the California State Park System. Since 1960 the Jack London State Park has exhibited the structure behind the safety of a fence.

Jack London believed he was building Wolf House to last a thousand years. He had designed steel straps to reinforce the walls against seismic shock. He had treated the wood with preservatives available at the time. However, his open design, along with the large use of unfinished timbers and high stone wall made any fire once started burn rapidly. Witnesses reported that on their arrival, the entire structure was involved.

The cause of the fire has never been known. There were suspicions that an arsonist had set it, perhaps a fired ranch hand, or the abusive husband of Jack's sister, or a socialist disturbed by Jack's renunciation of socialism. There also was speculation that the cause of the fire was accidental. With the intent to examine the remains of Wolf House for any clues as to the cause of the fire, a multidisciplinary team of ten experts in fire investigation met in Glen Ellen in May 1995 and spent four days going through the remains of the 15,000 square foot structure.

Pieces of charred wood timbers remaining in the notched pockets in the stone walls were studied to determine the most likely progression of the fire. From these and other clues, the area of origin appeared to be in the dining area located on the ground floor under the library and study.

A complete review of the design and construction documents; witnesses statements and historical records were considered, along with a computer recreation of the structure, in order to determine the most probable cause of the fire.

Peter D. Barnett, Forensic Science Associates

The principal mechanism by which forensic scientists communicate the results of their investigations to those who utilize the information is by way of a written report (Some would argue that the appropriate vehicle for this information is oral testimony at trial. This notion is rejected for the simple reason that most decisions about the resolution of a legal matter are not made in trial, and the process of questions and answer, direct and cross examination, is not an efficient method of obtaining a full explication of the details of a scientific investigation.). When making decisions about further investigations, charges to be filed, persons to arrest, cases to dismiss, jury instructions to be read, sentences to pronounce, plea bargains to offer or accept, or further laboratory work to be done, then decisions are made based on the work of the forensic scientist by other forensic scientists, investigators, attorneys, judges, and litigants. There has been very little discussion in the profession about appropriate report content or format there is certainly no universally agreed upon report format, and in the United States report formats vary widely from one jurisdiction to the next. The few standards for reporting that do exist (ASTM Committee E30, for example, has published some report guidelines) are not always followed - and may not even be generally applicable. While it is not necessary that every forensic report follow some highly specific format, forensic reports, like scientific journal publications, stock prospectuses, and legal pleadings, must have certain features to allow them to be readily understood and utilized by those for whom they are intended.

By comparing reports from laboratories from different jurisdictions, in the US and other countries, perhaps some consensus can be developed as to what should be included in a forensic laboratory report and what style of report works best.

Anthony Longetti, Criminal Justice Department, California State University, Los Angeles

The 70's, 80's and 90's............. and the events that led up to, and gave impetus to, ASCLD/LAB's accreditation program.
Year 2000: How has the program evolved? How many laboratories are accredited?
The "aughts"................ an ASCLD/LAB office, administrative assistance, staff inspectors, "crime scene" as a discipline, what to do with databases, etc.

David Manos Morris, Industrial Light & Magic, San Rafael, CA

Mr. Morris joined Industrial Light & Magic in 1994 on the feature film The Flintstones. A graduate of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1987, he has worked steadily in the computer effects industry. Prior to joining ILM, Mr. Morris helped design and implement the digital ink-and-paint system for Steven Spielberg's animated film We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story. He also worked extensively through American Film Technologies Inc. on various animated projects for film, television and video.

Mr. Morris has contributed to the production of other projects including The Mask, Forrest Gump, Star Wars: Special Edition, and Return of the Jedi: Special Edition; and received a Clio in 1998 for working on the Sun Diamond Walnuts 'Cookie Jar' commercial, which won the Silver Clio Award for computer animation. A member of MENSA, Mr. Morris has provided presentations of ILM's work to this society and other schools and organizations.

Kevin Andera, Mark Traughber

This talk will be an overview of the new CAC web site and the philosophy behind it. We will explain:

Also discussed will be the possibilities of web technology and the Internet to benefit our profession in the future.

Jan Bashinski, California Department of Justice, Bureau of Forensic Services

Forensic services in California are provided by a diverse network of city, county and state level crime laboratories. Collectively, these laboratories serve all jurisdictions in California and address the basic forensic science needs of the entire criminal justice system. The ability of various agencies to support the infrastructure of their laboratories varies widely across the state-serious deficiencies exist in facilities, staffing and/or equipment in many locations. Recognizing that the forensic services "system" in California has many unmet needs and challenges, Attorney General Lockyer has established a Task Force on Forensic Services to assess the current status and needs of the system and develop a prioritized "master plan" for improvement. The Task Force includes representatives from the DOJ, CAC, CACLD, COM, Sheriffs, Chiefs, League of Cities, Counties Association, the Legislature, and the Governor's Office. Its work is expected to take at least a year to accomplish. By documenting the needs of the system and informing policy makers of the priority of those needs, this Task Force has the potential to obtain additional resources for the crime laboratories and to help them improve their effectiveness.

Peter D. Barnett, Forensic Science Associates

At the end of the 20th century it seems not unreasonable to claim that one of the enduring problems of law enforcement, the identification of the perpetrator of a crime, has reached the point where future scientific improvements in the process are difficult to anticipate. In principle, we can identify anything a perpetrator has come into contact with based on impressions, we can identify anything the perpetrator has left based on DNA in the material left behind, and it is not too hard to imagine the ability to identify the "essence" of a perpetrator by the odor left by the perpetrator at the crime scene. There will certainly be situations in which none of these techniques are capable of identifying the perpetrator, but one can expect that identification of the perpetrator to be less and less of an issue in the future.