109th SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Spring 2007)
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINALISTS
May 7-11, 2007
Orange County, California
IT'S A REALLY SMALL WORLD: PROPERTIES AND APPLICATIONS OF NANO-STRUCTURED MATERIALS
Asst. Prof. Javier Garay, School of Engineering, University of California, Riverside,
The fundamental differences in the characteristics and behavior of materials at the nanometer scale compared with their bulk counterparts will be discussed. Current and future applications of these materials such as for sensors, fluid and mechanical manipulators, drug delivery, and hi-tech materials will be surveyed. Ways and techniques for distinguishing and characterizing these materials beyond elemental and chemical analysis will be touched upon. The promise and limitation of the technologies will be briefly critiqued.
DETECTION OF TRACE ORGANIC EXPLOSIVES ON BOMB SQUAD EQUIPMENT BY ION-TRAP GC-MS USING ELECTRON IMPACT (EI) AND NEGATIVE ION CHEMICAL IONIZATION (NICI)
Aletha Basconcillo,Graduate Student, Pace University, Intern, Orange Co. Sheriff-Coroner
Contributing Author(s): Wayne Moorehead, Orange Co. Sheriff-Coroner Department
The focus of this study was to see if detectable amounts of high explosive residue could be found on bomb squad equipment using an ion trap gas chromatograph mass spectrometer. Two issues were examined. 1) whether trace amounts of explosive residue on bomb squad equipment can be detected by instrumental analysis and 2) if this residue is significant enough to be transferred onto evidence during collection. An ion trap GC/MS was chosen over a quadrupole GC/MS because of better sensitivity as well as use of negative ion chemical ionization (NICI) and tandem mass spectrometry capabilities (MS/MS). Samples were acquired from bomb squad equipment and the hands of several bomb squad members by swabbing various surfaces with cotton swabs and monitoring for several high explosives using electron impact ionization (EI) and NICI. A demonstration of using tandem mass spectrometry for the detection of several explosives standards in a complex matrix was included in the study. Explosive residues were not detected in the any of the samples from the bomb squad. Therefore, evidence from bombing scenes will not likely be contaminated through the use of bomb squad equipment and handling.
A CASE STUDY: THE KENNY K. WILSON HOMICIDE - VEHICLE SEARCH TO COURTROOM
Elizabeth Swanson,Los Angeles Police Department
Contributing Author(s): Daniel Rubin, Los Angeles PD
April 1999, a routine vehicle search requested by Northeast Division LAPD detectives investigating the murder of a young African-American, Kenny Wilson, initiated the examination of a 1984 Fleetwood Cadillac for the collection of evidence. The victim had been shot and killed inside the vehicle. After an initial visual assessment of the Cadillac, the search was expanded to include trajectory documentation by a firearms Criminalist. Multiple projectile impacts were observed and projectile fragments were located throughout the vehicle. The Kenny Wilson homicide was included in a ground-breaking civil rights case brought forth by the U.S. Department of Justice. Wilson's murder was one of four racially motivated homicides perpetrated by four Hispanic gang members who targeted African-Americans and which were tried by the U.S. Attorney in August, 2006. In retrospect, the most routine fieldwork can have profound effects in the judicial system.
MICROSCOPIC EXAMINATION OF HAIRS TO DETERMINE SUITABILITY FOR NUCLEAR DNA ANALYSIS
Kimberly Sylvester, Santa Clara County DA Crime Lab
Contributing Author(s): Brooke Barloewen, Santa Clara Co. District Attorney
Human hairs are often recovered as biological forensic evidence from various crime scenes. For nuclear DNA analysis, the condition of the hair root is essential. The growth stage and amount of tissue adhering to the root bulb can suggest its potential nuclear DNA content prior to DNA analysis testing. Each hair sample was temporarily mounted in sterile water, and the root was viewed using polarized light microscopy at 100X. The root was classified depending on its growth stage and if any adhering tissue were present. Next, the sample was carefully rinsed with distilled water, trying to prevent the possible removal of any tissue around the bulb. The root was then cut from the hair shaft and subjected to nuclear DNA analysis via organic extraction, quantification with RT-PCR, amplification, and STR analysis. All roots in the beginning stages (anagen and catagen) of the hair growth cycle produced either full or partial profiles. Hair roots in the resting stage (telogen) with no adhering tissue produced no typeable results approximately 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time, only a few single alleles (between 1-5) were obtained. Therefore on a routine basis, telogen roots with no adhering tissue will not be subjected to nuclear DNA analysis. Anagen/ catagen roots or telogen roots with tissue attached are better candidates for nuclear DNA-typing.
PHOSPHINE GENERATION FROM CLANDESTINE METHAMPHETAMINE LABORATORY WASTE
Rochelle Hranac, Arizona Department of Public Safety
Contributing Authors: Donald Land, Chemistry Dept., Univ. of Calif., Davis; Charles Salocks, Calif. EPA / OEHHA; Scott Stanley, Equine Center, UC Davis
This small lab-scale study was designed to test amorphous red phosphorus for the creation of phosphine (PH3) gas. These results can assist the training of first responders and officers so they may know what dangers can exist in a methamphetamine cook. Some current cleaning methods rely on the presence of methamphetamine in a lab cook area, where as the other chemicals, like iodine or red phosphorus, may still be present in the area. The study subjected red phosphorus to four different relative humidity levels at four different temperatures and also to three metal oxides that the red phosphorus may come in contact with at a methamphetamine lab cook. These temperatures were 20, 25, 30, and 40°C with relative humidity levels of 20%, 40%, 60% and 80%. The three metal oxides were copper (I) oxide, iron (III) oxide, and aluminum oxide. Phosphine gas formed in all temperature and relative humidity exposures with the lowest at 20°C/20% relative humidity with 0.1611 +/- 0.0205 mg PH3/ml N2. Phosphine was most abundant at 40°C/80% relative humidity with 0.6810 +/- 0.0302 mg PH3/ml N2. The NIOSH has the IDLH levels of phosphine set at 70 mg/m3. Even the lowest levels exceeded the IDLH levels.
COMMAND AND CONTROL ON THE WITNESS STAND: EMPLOYING THE PRINCIPLES OF THE O.O.D.A. LOOP
Raymond J. Davis, CourtSkills
The first part of the presentation will cover the principle elements contained in the OODA Loop developed by Colonel John Boyd. Boyd was an Air Force fighter pilot who served at the end of World War II, the Korean War, and in Vietnam. He developed fighter pilot strategies that were adopted by the military and used most notably in the first Gulf War. His talent for elucidating the steps required for obtaining and maintaining control in an adversarial/confrontational situation has also been used in every facet of human enterprise. The second part will cover how the OODA Loop functions to provide the expert witness with a high degree of command and control on the witness stand. The third part will cover examples from the author's experience of 1600 courtroom trials. Specifically, how the principles inherent in the OODA Loop reduced confrontations on cross examination, shortened time on the witness stand, increased juror appreciation, and increased credibility as an expert witness.
EVALUATION OF ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION ABSORBING COMPOUNDS IN TEXTILE FIBERS UTILIZING HIGH PERFORMANCE LIQUID CHROMATOGRAPHY AND ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE IONIZATION MASS SPECTROMETRY (HPLC-MS)
Trevor Wilson, Sacramento County District Attorney Laboratory of Forensic Services
Contributing Author(s): Sara S. Wiltshire, Forensic Science Graduate Group, University of California, Davis & Sacramento Co. District Attorney Office; Faye Springer - Sacramento Co. District Attorney Office
Classical fiber dye analysis involves the use of various extraction solutions and thin-layer chromatography to compare dyes from fiber samples. The information provided is limited and cannot be applied in instances of pale colors or small samples. High performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) has been shown to be a technique that does not suffer from these limitations while also providing the ability to identify dyes by their mass spectra. Recently, the Sacramento County Laboratory of Forensic Services analyzed fiber evidence using a HPLC-MS. Some of the samples displayed differences in the ultraviolet region when compared to the known samples. The source of these differences, as well as their relevance, could not be determined. A research project was designed to evaluate possible causes with HPLC-MS. Three possible sources of variation were pursued: inherent variability in the dying of commercial fibers, environmental exposure, and consumer impact. The current data indicates no inherent variation in the extracted fiber dye components in the acrylic or polyester fibers. Samples collected and analyzed from interior radiation sources show little to no obvious changes in their spectra. The samples subjected to weather and natural light show a decrease in intensity of the visible components and in some cases, the dye components are no longer detected. The impact of consumer products is currently being evaluated.
MUZZLE FLASH: WHY MANY SEE IT AND A FEW DO NOT
Lucien C. Haag, Forensic Science Service
Witnesses often report seeing flashes of light when certain firearms are discharged in low light conditions and the propensity for a recovered firearm and ammunition combination to produce a noticeable muzzle flash can and has been documented in the laboratory. One such case still stands out in the author's memory and that was a situation where two seemingly honest and credible witnesses both claimed to have been looking in the direction of a nighttime gunshot but only one of these witnesses saw a muzzle flash. Subsequent examination of the gun and ammunition associated with this incident was found to consistently produce a large red-orange fireball just forward of the muzzle. This presentation demonstrates a method to document the occurrence and appearance of firearms muzzle flash as well as a method for measuring the approximate duration of such events with the finding that the time intervals for small arms muzzle flashes are often much shorter than the duration of our normal, spontaneous eye blinks.
WORDS WE USE AND WHAT THEY TELL US ABOUT OUR THINKING
Lucien C. Haag, Forensic Science Service
The words we use to describe our work, what we observed and what opinions we derived from these observations should be chosen with great care. Our personal biases (we all have them), likes and dislikes can quickly creep into our reports and testimony as evidenced by our choice of words. This brief presentation will illustrate some examples of language this writer has observed in reports, trials and depositions and subsequently given much thought to over the years. It is hoped that the attendees will do likewise and make every effort to carefully craft their reports and testimony in a concise and objective manner in all their future efforts.
REPORT ON THE REGIONAL ROUNDTABLES ON SCIENCE AND THE LAW
Coordinator: Peter Barnett, Forensic Science Associates
Other Panelists: John DeHaan, Fire-Ex Forensics, Inc.; Dean M. Gialamas, Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Dept.; Fred Tulleners, University of California, Davis
Moderator: Peter De Forest, John Jay College
The California Judicial Council is the policymaking body for the Court system in California. Through an assortment of Advisory Committees and Task Forces, the Judicial Council develops policies and procedures utilized by California courts. The Science and The Law Task Force "develops recommendations regarding science, technology, and the law to facilitate a comprehensive, statewide approach to addressing these issues through collaboration with Judicial Council advisory committees." In furtherance of this responsibility, the Task Force sponsored three roundtable discussions in which members of the judiciary and legal communities, along with various representatives of science, technology, and medical professions, who are involved in judicial matters, met for daylong sessions to discuss matters of mutual concern and interest. We attended these meetings and will report on matters of interest to criminalists that were discussed at those meetings. These matters include such topics as admissibility of scientific evidence, qualifications of expert witnesses, uses of technology in courtroom presentations, better education of the judiciary, and use of court experts. Working criminalists need to be aware of the role of the Judicial Council and seek ways to better inform and influence the deliberations the Council on matters of our concern.
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: ANIMAL DNA ANALYSIS IN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS
Elizabeth Wictum, Veterinary Genetics Forensic Laboratory, UC Davis
The molecular analysis of human biological material is widely accepted, but the use of animal DNA in crime-scene investigations is largely underutilized. Once considered a curiosity, animal DNA evidence is receiving increased recognition and acceptance by law enforcement officers and the court system. There are an estimated 65 million pet dogs and 78 million pet cats in the United States. The close relationship between pets and their owners provides for abundant biological material and the potential for evidence transfer in the form of hair, saliva, urine, feces, and blood. Animal DNA results have been used to link a perpetrator to a crime scene or victim in instances of homicide, burglary, arson, and sexual assault. Where the animal was the victim, we have used DNA to illustrate a pattern of abuse and to associate a weapon with an individual animal. When the animal has been the aggressor, we have used DNA to illustrate the manner of the attack and identify the animal(s) responsible. Here we present an overview of cases where animal crime-scene evidence was successfully used to charge and prosecute offenders.
APPLICATIONS OF FORENSIC ENTOMOLOGY
David K. Faulkner, Forensic Entomology Services
Most of the attention given to Forensic Entomology involves interpreting a minimal Post-mortem interval based on insect development and succession on animal remains. However, it usefulness extends to cases of food contamination, environmental law, and cases of possible child and elder abuse. The presentation will briefly cover these topics.
AN AMAZING ADVENTURE IN TAIWAN
Michael Haag, Forensic Science Consultants
In 2004, on the eve of the Taiwan Presidential election, while trailing several points in the polls, incumbent President Chen Shui-ban was traveling in a motorcade when he and the Vice President were shot. Both survived, and President Chen Shui-ban went on to win the election the next day by a narrow margin. Political parties suggested that the shooting was a "set up" to win a sympathy vote. At the request of persons in Taiwan, Dr. Henry Lee assembled a team of three Forensic Scientists to travel immediately to Taiwan to assess the validity of this claim. This paper covers some history of Taiwan, and how it led up to the suspected shooting at a very pivotal political moment.
THE RECOVERY OF DNA FROM BIOLOGICAL STAINS SUBMERGED IN OCEAN SALT WATER
Elana Quinones, Long Beach Police Department
Contributing Author(s): Ashley Kowalski, Graduate Studies, Calif .State Univ., Los Angeles & Los Angeles County Sheriff Department; Kathryn Roberts, Calif. State Univ., Los Angeles; Don Johnson, Calif. State Univ., Los Angeles; Gregory Wong, Los Angeles County Sheriff Department.
The focus of this study was to evaluate the recovery of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from blood and semen stains submerged in an ocean salt water environment. Blood and semen were deposited onto denim, jeans, and cotton. Prior to DNA analysis, presumptive color tests were performed on the stains. The stains were extracted by Chelex. Stain extracts were then quantified by ABI Quantifiler. Mitochondrial DNA was typed by Roche Linear Array and nuclear STRs were typed using ABI's COfiler kit. Semen yielded STR profiles but not mito haplotypes and blood the opposite.
THE RECOVERY, DEVELOPMENT, AND INDIVIDUALIZATION OF LATENT FINGERPRINTS SUBMERGED IN SALT WATER
Elana Quinones, Long Beach Police Department
Contributing Author(s): Carmen Mancure, Long Beach Police Department; Sarah Bernard, Long Beach Police Department
The focus of this study was to evaluate the recovery capabilities, processing techniques and identification of latent prints deposited on common types of encountered evidence (firearms, knives, glass, plastic bags, and duct tape) that have been submerged in a saltwater environment. Fingerprints were composed of sweat and oil and were deposited upon the various substrates. All items were then completely submerged in saltwater. After designated time intervals, items were removed, evaluated, processed for latent prints, and comparisons performed. Latent prints were recoverable and identifiable.
POOL TABLETS AND ALCOHOL DON'T MIX
Donald J. Petka - Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department
This presentation provides a unique combination of materials in a post-blast explosives case where ordinary household products were used to create an explosive devise. Traditionally pool chlorinators used calcium hypochlorite as the active ingredient.
Currently pool tablets manufacturers have replaced calcium hypochlorite with chlorinated isocyanurates. The reactivity of calcium hypochlorite with glycol containing products has been well documented but not the chlorinated isocyanurates. Additionally, the post reaction products of chlorinated isocyanurates have not been well known. This presentation will explore the post-blast reaction products with isocyanuric acid as the major constituent detected in one brand of pool tablet.
LEGAL AND POLICY ISSUES RELATED TO DNA DATABASES
William C. Thompson, Dept. of Criminology, Law & Society, University of California, Irvine
The continued expansion of DNA databases for the purpose of criminal identification raises some important social and legal issues. Although the potential crime solving benefits of databases are clear, there has been insufficient public discussion of such important questions as who should be in these databases, what risks they might pose to innocent persons, what negative social consequences might arise from racial and ethnic disparities in database membership, who should have access to information in the databases, and which governmental agencies should operate them. This presentation will analyze these questions from a legal and social perspective. Special attention will be given to the growth of local databases that exist outside the framework of state law, to recent litigation over defense access to databases, and to the shifting (and contradictory) positions of civil rights organizations on all of these questions.
SEXUAL ASSAULT AND THE FORENSIC NURSE
Malinda Wheeler, Forensic Nurse Specialists
The roll of the forensic nurse in sexual assault investigations will be presented. Injury detection and documentation and evidence collection techniques will be discussed. Two interesting and informative case scenarios will be presented.
HURRICANE KATRINA: TRAINING GROUND FOR THE DNA CO-OP
Juli Buckenberger, Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department
In January of 2006, an e-mail was sent out to the US forensic DNA community from the Louisiana State Crime Lab Manager (DNA). Hurricane Katrina had come and gone, and Louisiana was faced with a mass casualty emergency. The email was sent in search of forensic DNA scientists willing to volunteer their time and skills in an effort to help identify the remains of many of Katrina's victims. The devastation that Katrina left behind provided a training ground for scientists to gain first-hand experience working a mass fatality. With this training experience, these scientists would then be ideal candidates for recruitment to form a government supported DNA Co-Op. The DNA Co-Op is a vision modeled after the DMORT program; it would comprise teams of forensic DNA analysts with specialized mass fatality training, ready to mobilize at the scene of future mass casualties. This is my experience as one of the program's first participants.
FORENSIC ASPECTS OF TASER DEVICE-RELATED INVESTIGATIONS
Andrew Hinz, TASER, Int'l
The objective is to provide information, technical data, and evidence collection techniques for TASER device-related investigations. The information contained will mostly benefit forensic scientists, crime scene technicians, homicide investigators, internal affairs investigators, and administrators. This will include, but is not limited to: Instruction on how TASER devices record firing data, firing data analysis and troubleshooting, information on what evidence to collect, how to properly interpret and store TASER device evidence, TASER cartridge wire and probe analysis, and TASER device event reconstruction.
EZ1 BIOROBOT AND ABI REAL-TIME QUANTIFILER KIT INTERNAL VALIDATION STUDIES SHED LIGHT ON UNUSUAL SPECIMENS
Laura Silva, Oakland Police Department
Contributing Authors: Chani Sentiwany, Oakland PD; Walianna Wong, Oakland PD; Jennifer Mihalovich, Oakland PD.
The objective of the internal validation studies for the EZ1 robot and Quantifiler kits was to define parameters of DNA detection and quantitation on unusual specimens. These specimens included mixed male/female DNA, cigarette butts and plucked hair. It is important to understand the true limitations of each instrument within a working crime laboratory with respect to these unusual specimens. Varying concentrations and ratios of male/female DNA were prepared, quantitated, and typed using Identifiler. The ability to detect male DNA in male/female mixtures depends more so on the total amount of male DNA present rather than an excess of female DNA as described in the developmental validation study for Quantifiler Human and Y kits. These results illustrate the importance of male/female DNA ratios within the context of total DNA and provide guidelines for DNA ratios that result in male DNA typing results when there is limited DNA. Cigarette butts and hairs were microscopically examined followed by DNA extraction and quantitation. Successful results were obtained from these specimens.
PARTNERING TO ENSURE PUBLIC SAFETY
Frank Fitzpatrick, National Forensic Science Technology Center; Author: David Epstein, National Forensic Science Technology Center
An overview of current and future products that are designed to assist the crime laboratory community will be presented. The NFSTC is a not-for-profit corporation that focuses on training, technical assistance, and quality systems support in furtherance of its mission.
PHARMACEUTICAL FORENSICS - AN INTRODUCTION
Duane L. Mauzey, Forensic Science Program, National University
Pharmaceutical forensics is the study of suspected counterfeit prescription drugs. Typically, the counterfeit prescription drugs include only high value drugs such as Lipitor ™, Crestor™, and Viagra™. As both the drug product and the drug packaging are counterfeit, forensic examinations of questioned prescription drugs include the techniques of questioned document examination as well as both qualitative and quantitative drug analysis. International criminal organizations are involved in the trafficking of counterfeit drugs, including the Russian mafia and Latin American drug cartels. The total estimated dollar volume of this trafficking is in excess of $15 billion. Most counterfeit drugs originate in India or China, and are distributed world-wide. It is estimated that 1 to 3 percent of US prescription drugs are counterfeit, but the number rises to 25% in Latin America, and 50% in Africa and parts of Asia. A number of deaths in the U.S. have been attributed to counterfeit drugs. It is not unlikely that a criminalist may encounter these counterfeit drugs in a death investigation where cause of death is not apparent. Examples of counterfeit drugs will be used to illustrate the analytical approach to demonstrating that a prescription drug is counterfeit. Resources will be described.
BRAND IDENTIFICATION OF CANISTER SMOKELESS POWDERS - PART 2: USING MORPHOLOGY AND GC/MS
Wayne Moorehead, Orange Co. Sheriff-Coroner Dept.
Contributing Author(s): Annie Tibbets, Intern, Orange Co. Sheriff Dept.; Aletha Basconcillo - Intern, Orange Co. SD
Smokeless powders are one of the most used low explosives in pipe bombs. When sufficient unexploded smokeless powder remains after rendering the explosive device safe or if powder is found without its original container, the powder may be able to be associated with a particular brand of smokeless powder or a small number of possible powders. Brand identification is useful in providing investigative information or for adjudication. This presentation, part two of a two part series, uses morphology and GC/MS to characterize 148 powders toward brand identification of unknown powders. After a morphological category is determined, three to ten kernels of powder are extracted with a solvent to obtain any soluble non-nitrocellulose components present in the powder. The GC/MS is used to characterize the extracted components and compared against like morphologies. A side-by-side comparison or micrometry (dimensional measurement of the intact kernels) may further help to resolve brand identification.
RECOVERING TRACE DNA FROM KNIVES: A COMPARISON OF TWO COLLECTION TECHNIQUES
Melissa Mercurio, Graduate Studies, University of California Davis, Extension
Contributing Author(s): Robert Rice, Environ. Toxicology, Univ. of Calif., Davis; Theresa F. Spear, Forensic Sciences Program, Univ. of Calif., Davis
The goals of this research were to: (1) compare the ability of two different swabbing techniques (dry sterile swabs versus swabs moistened with deionized water followed by a dry swab (double swab)) to recover typable amounts of DNA from pocket and kitchen knives, (2) determine how much DNA can be obtained from specific locations on these knives and (3) to evaluate the quality of the DNA profile obtained. Pairs of pocket knives were carried by study participants for 45 days and the knives were sampled for DNA. Pairs of kitchen knives were held by study participants for approximately 3 minutes and DNA samples were collected. The paired knife handles and blades were swabbed separately using the two techniques. Additional pocket knives were purchased and sampled for DNA using the double swab technique to determine if any DNA was present. Quantifiable amounts of DNA were detected for all pocket knife samples and most kitchen knife handles, and STR profiles were obtained for most samples. Complete STR profiles were obtained from the additional pocket knives tested, possibly contributing to the DNA collected during the experiment. In conclusion, the double swab technique should be used for collecting DNA from knives because it consistently generated a more complete profile of the last holder with less additional alleles from other sources.