118th SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Fall 2011)
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINALISTS
October 24-28, 2011
BRADY V. MARYLAND (1963) 373 U.S. 83
Michael Chamberlain, Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice
Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83, continues to require disclosure to the defense of all material, exculpatory information possessed by the prosecution and its investigating agencies. As an investigating agency, the crime laboratory that worked on the case has an obligation to make the prosecutor aware of all potential Brady material in its files -- which could include both casework files and personnel files. If Brady material is missed, it could jeopardize the criminal conviction.
Michael Chamberlain will discuss Brady and its legal progeny. The talk will examine what information actually falls under Brady, when, how, and where crime-laboratory staff should look for it, and what to do with information that may implicate Brady.
PROTEOMIC ANALYSIS OF HAIR EVIDENCE
Robert Rice*, Ph.D., Environmental Toxicology Dept, UC Davis
The possibility merits exploration that proteomic analysis of human hair recovered at crime scenes can provide probative information, increasing its value as evidence. Analysis of the protein composition of hair is now greatly improved thanks to recent advances in mass spectrometry coupled with protein database searching. Hair proteins solubilized under strongly denaturing conditions, primarily keratins and keratin-associated proteins, are amenable to standard biochemical analysis. Identities of the insoluble proteins, however, intractable due to their isopeptide cross-links mediated by transglutaminase activity, have been mysterious until their recent elucidation by shotgun proteomics. Variation in hair structure evidently exists. For example, individuals suffering from a deficiency in transglutaminase activity exhibit defects in hair shaft and nail plate structure (as well as scaly skin). With proper technique, more than 100 proteins can now be routinely identified from human and mouse hair shaft. Nail plate is amenable to similar analysis. While quantitation of absolute protein amounts by this method is difficult, relative amounts in parallel samples can be compared. Using this approach with inbred mice has revealed that different strains are distinguishable by the patterns of proteins in their pelage fur. Since inbred mouse strains resemble individual humans as samplings of populations, we hypothesize on this basis that proteomic analysis has the potential to distinguish ethnic origins and perhaps even individuals among human hair donors.
CREATION AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF A FORENSIC INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
Wayne Moorehead*, forensicTRACE, Rancho Santa Margarita
Over the past 26 years, the OC Crime Lab has accepted a number of interns to help accomplish projects typically outside the ability of the working forensic scientist to complete. Pressure to reduce a backlog of cases, court testimony, training, and other issues often inhibits the scientist from initiating or completing a project.
After selection, interns are provided adequate training for their projects. As projects successfully progress, interns are permitted to job-shadow in each laboratory section, attend an autopsy, listen to forensic scientists provide testimony, observe forensic specialists perform routine crime scene investigations, read criminalistics journals and texts, attend local professional meetings, and be mentored by a forensic scientist. Some of the projects are presentation- or publication-worthy and the intern may be included as an author, while other projects simply provide better resources to the laboratory. The ratio of the amount of time the intern spends completing a project compared to the time the forensic scientist spends training and evaluating his or her work can be 3:1 to 35:1. No longer is heard "I don't have time for an intern" but "When does our section get an intern, I have a project."
EMPLOYING A SWOT ANALYSIS IN PREPARATION FOR INTERVIEWING
Raymond Davis*, Courtskills, Eagle, Idaho
A SWOT analysis is a business model that has applications for interviewing. The acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Successful businesses routinely use this model to increase sales, and improve customer service and customer retention. The analysis is often conducted with a business professional providing objective feedback on the company.
I have interviewed about 100 candidates during my career with five different Bay Area crime labs. These laboratories have all used uniform interviewing methodologies seeking the best candidates for their respective laboratory. One quality I have found lacking in the majority of the applicants was a failure to adequately communicate their strengths and weaknesses and how to position themselves among the other applicants. Utilizing a SWOT analysis can provide a helpful guide in preparing for and conducting an interview.
I will present a SWOT analysis of a typical resume and show how it can be used effectively in preparing for an interview.
VARIABILITY AMONG PATHOLOGISTS EXAMINATIONS IN SUSPECTED RAPE-HOMICIDE CASES
Gillian Currie*, UC Davis
There is much debate regarding the frequency of rapehomicides occurring in the United States each year, with reported figures ranging from as low as 0.1% of homicides with a rape component to as high as 17%. California statistics showed that rape was identified as a circumstance of homicide in only 0.1% of cases. Several factors may contribute to the discrepancies in these statistics, including varying definitions and documentation techniques, a lack of standardized protocols, and operational differences in the three death investigation systems in California. This study collected information on the investigation and autopsy practices of female homicide victims (18 and older) in California to compare methods and techniques used to establish if rape was a component. The purpose of this information was to help determine whether some rape-homicide cases are overlooked due to differences in procedure, to determine if there was variability across pathologists' examinations of suspected rape-homicide cases and, if so, the nature of that variability.
Information was collected via survey that was distributed to forensic pathologists across California via email and regular mail. Responses were collected and analyzed using an online survey tool (SurveyMonkey). Of 29 surveys distributed, 19 responses were completed and valid for use in the study, giving a 68% return rate.
Results showed a range of variability in pathologists' examinations of suspected rape-homicide cases with a number of inconsistencies. The actual number of sexual assault work-ups performed per total cases per year was 1.2%, which is significantly higher than the 0.1% of homicides with a rape component reported by the state. The subjective nature of the decision to perform a sexual assault examination was made apparent, especially in the criteria reported for determining when to employ a rape kit and when swabs of visible stains were collected. Fifty-three percent of offices also reported relying on law enforcement or on criminalists to supply an alternate light source. Potential bias in these results is possible due to the relatively low response rate. Overall, this study illustrated a lack of standardization of practices in the California coroner system, which could be a contributing factor in the low number of female homicides with a rape component reported in the state.
FORENSIC SCIENCE LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT TRAINING AT UC DAVIS
Fred Tulleners*, Forensic Science Graduate Program and Gene Crumley, Business & Technology, UC Davis Extension
The University of California at Davis and its UCD Medical Center in Sacramento have more than 220 different and diverse laboratories that conduct research and various types of technical analysis. Several years ago, the UCD Office of Research realized that there was a significant need to educate the professional scientist who would become a laboratory supervisor or manger. While these new supervisors/managers had excellent technical skills they had little or no concept of the management and leadership skills needed for a functional laboratory. Nor did they have the skill set to interact with subordinate staff in order to formulate unit goals and objectives. Because of this, UC Davis devoted considerable effort to develop an in-depth three-week laboratory management and leadership course that was presented as a series of one week classes over the period of a year. If one looks at the various forensic science crime laboratories in a state, they have the same management needs and lack of relevant available training. In fact, because most are part of a local agency, they have very little, if any, recourse to advanced management and leadership training because the local city or county governments do not have the laboratory expertise or resources to fund such training.
The UC Davis Graduate Forensic Science Program proposed a curriculum to the National Institute of Justice to build on the expertise of the UC Davis Laboratory Management and Leadership curriculum, incorporate most of its key elements, instructors, and focus on the needs of the modern crime laboratory. Subsequently, NIJ funded this proposal for fiscal years 2011 and 2012. The curriculum is called "Forensic Science Crime Laboratory Leadership and Management Certificate Program" and is presented in three one-week classes, each year, for a two-year period. Upon completion of all three classes, the recipient obtains a certificate and 14 units of continuing education. The curriculum would be reviewed and approved by a committee of senior forensic science crime laboratory managers. We will utilize instructors from UC Davis and the major labs in the forensic science community. These instructors will have expertise in business, research lab operations, analytical lab operations, medical laboratory operations, staff and professional development, and leadership techniques.
Robert Kimsey, Professor, UC Davis, Davis
Arthropods, their biology, succession, development and population biology in matters of criminal prosecution. Emphasis on understanding the nature of entomological evidence, how to recognize it and how to collect and preserve it for further analysis.
MOLECULAR TECHNIQUE FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF BLOODSTAIN PATTERNS
Donald Johnson*, Cheryl Andersen, Katherine Scriven, Amberly Klein, and Cindy Carroll, California State University, Los Angeles
The body of a homicide victim is oftentimes removed from the primary scene by the perpetrator and disposed of elsewhere. The location of the murder then becomes an important fact to establish in the investigation. Knowing where the murder took place can assist investigators in identifying suspects. Murders often result in significant bloodshed, which can allow investigators to establish the location of the murder based on bloodstain pattern interpretation. However, the circumstances of other homicide cases are such that little blood is shed or even discovered due to the nature of the injuries or the act of cleaning by the perpetrator. Additionally, the suspected murder scene is often a place where the victim is known to have a history of physical activities - sometimes the suspected murder scene is the victim's residence. These circumstances can complicate investigations, because if small amounts victim's blood are found at the victim's residence or at a place where the victim visits, then the question becomes whether the bloodstains are related to the homicide or the result of some prior accidental injury. Unfortunately, current forensic methods used to correlate bloodstains with injuries are greatly limited when dealing with trace amounts of blood or bloodstains that have uninformative patterns. We hypothesized that trace quantities of wound-track cells are present in evidentiary bloodstains. The detection of these cells requires a method that is sensitive and specific. Sensitivity and specificity are properties of current forensic DNA typing methods; therefore, this research investigated a molecular approach to correlate bloodstains with injuries.
We here report on the development of a PCR-based technique to detect trace amounts of wound cells in bloodstains. In this proof-of-concept study, we used the laboratory rat as a model to investigate the use of tissue-specific micro-Ribonucleic Acid (miRNA) markers to distinguish bloodstains originating from different wounds. Specifically, we examined the miRNA species, Rn_miR-124a_1, as a marker for rat brain tissue. The basic procedure for the miRNA assay consisted of the following steps: 1) extraction of total miRNA from simulated head wound bloodstains using a rat blood-brain mixtures using QIAGEN's miRNeasy mini kit; 2) synthesis of cDNA from miRNA with QIAGEN miScript Reverse Transcriptase Mix; 3) amplification of the target miR124a-1 with Taq polymerase and oligonucleotide primers from QIAGEN miScript Universal Primer, and miScript Primer Assay; and 4) identification of the miR124a-1 cDNA using the QuantiTect SYBR Green PCR Master mix fluorescence detection with the Rotor-Gene Q Real-Time PCR Detection System.
Preliminary studies included the optimization of the detection assay and the evaluation of the specificity of the marker. We additionally examined a procedure for the collection of bloodstains for use by this assay, and the stability of the marker under different environmental conditions. Proof-of-principle was achieved by the ability to distinguish bloodstains produced by a gunshot wound to the head versus bloodstains produced by a gunshot wound to the chest with use of the assay.
COLLECTING VOLATILE DATA
Timothy Lott, The Search Group
Historically, when dealing with crime scenes, law enforcement personnel have gathered potential digital evidence with the mind set: shut it down, tag it, bag it, and take it to the forensic analyst. However this mindset does not take into account the vast amount of volatile data that can be permanently deleted by using this procedure.
Random Access Memory (RAM) is memory that is stored inside a computer and is available as long as the computer stays on. Computers utilize RAM to help them run more efficiently. The computer uses RAM as a form of a digital clipboard constantly swapping the information in and out to assist in running programs. The more RAM a computer, has the better it operates. Most computers today come with a minimum of 2GB of RAM. This is enough to store approximately 200 images.
The information that can be contained in the computer's RAM may include evidence of a virus, chat logs, portions of email, image files, video files, passwords and networking information. All of this data may be pertinent to the case.
FAMILIAL SEARCHING - RECENT CASES
Gary Sims, Criminalist Manager, California Department of Justice, Jan Bashinski DNA Lab, Richmond
The California Department of Justice initiated its familial search program in 2008. As of early September 2011, the DNA Data Bank at the Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory had conducted 28 familial searches. From these 28 searches, there have been two familial "hits" to convicted offenders that, coupled with additional investigation, led to direct matches between a relative and the crime scene evidence profile. This presentation will discuss the DOJ familial search policy and procedures, with special reference to how these activities played out in the two successful hits.
USING SELECTIVE DEGRADATION TO IMPROVE DIFFERENTIAL EXTRACTION QUALITY AND THROUGHPUT
Michelle Beckwith, PTC Laboratories, Columbia, Missouri
Sexual assault evidentiary samples often result in sperm fraction DNA mixtures. The mixture profiles are difficult to deal with statistically and they can make courtroom explanations much more complicated than testifying to a single-source profile. National Institute of Justice-funded research has facilitated the development of a new differential extraction method, and ultimately, a kit that can be used to greatly improve the results obtained during differential extraction.
The Erase Sperm Isolation Kit eliminates mixtures in nearly all samples by using a technique called selective degradation. After separation of the epithelial and sperm cells by a preferential lysis, most of the aqueous layer is removed for epithelial fraction DNA analysis. The remaining epithelial DNA in the sperm fraction is destroyed using a nuclease. Only DNA from intact sperm cells remains.
Even when there are relatively few sperm cells and overwhelming quantities of epithelial DNA, this method produces a single-source male profile. When the standard differential extraction method is only able to obtain trace profiles of the male along with a predominately epithelial profile, using the Erase method will often result in a full male profile with no, or negligible, epithelial contamination. This method requires little hands-on time for individual tube preparation and is very adaptable to automation with basic liquid handling robots.
WHEN YOUR COLD CASE TURNS HOT, HOT, HOT!
Pamela Hofsass*, Inspector, San Francisco Police Department
Cold Case investigations are not your average cup of Joe. Once the DNA Hit report arrives in the mail or by phone, the wheels of justice begin to turn or not. Each case presents its own challenges and obstacles to overcome. Spend some time on the Internet, and you can find all kinds of resources to assist in the positive resolution of your case - think the President's DNA Initiative or the Denver DA's Cold Case Project.
This presentation aims to provide a unique perspective from a detective who has worked the field (CSI), the bench (DNA Unit) and the desk (Sex Crimes Cold Case Unit and Homicide). Three DNA cold cases will be presented and reviewed. Some of the shoulda, coulda, woulda slides will be included for good measure as well as the successful outcomes of these types of cases.
IGNORANCE IS BLISS! OR IS IT? THE LEGISLATIVE BILL ANALYSIS PROCESS AND FORENSIC SCIENCE
Torrey Johnson, Program Manager, California Criminalistics Institute, Sacramento
Forensic science requires the application of science to matters of law. The forensic scientist is subjected to sometimes conflicting demands of science, the criminal justice system and the legislative branch of government. We can only respond to many of these challenges, but in the area of legislation, we can and, perhaps, should be proactive. Because poorly conceived or poorly worded legislation can have long term technical and fiscal effects, the California Department of Justice has a formalized legislation review and analysis program. This program will be discussed, with special attention to problems in the analysis of pending legislation. Several specific examples of legislation, both current and historical, particularly in the areas related to firearm examination, will be used to illustrate the types of issues involved and the results of enacting flawed legislation.
SHOOTING INCIDENT DYNAMICS: THE FORENSIC ELEMENTS
Alexander Jason, Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst, Pinole
A central element in any analysis of a shooting incident is the realization that all shootings involve time and motion: From visual perceptions, decision processes, neural transmissions, to muscle movement during the "squeeze" of the trigger, bullet travel, and gross defensive or offensive movements of the shooter and person being shot. Along with this understanding, the analysis and reconstruction of shooting incidents often requires consideration of several forensic and human performance components including wound ballistics, psycho-neurological factors, bullet flight dynamics, terminal ballistics, gunshot residue characteristics, firearms operation, and other associated areas of knowledge such as blood-spatter interpretation. The integration of the data from these areas can be extremely useful in any forensic examination of a shooting incident - particularly when multiple shots are involved.
A case review by the author of actual shooting incidents has established that in many shooting incident analyses, the movements of shooters - and particularly - the person(s) being shot are inappropriately ignored. Research on the actual movements of participants in shooting incidents was performed and the results demonstrate that a consideration of body movements during the incident can provide significant data directly useful in the analysis, reconstruction of shooting incidents and in the legal determination (adjudication) of the incident.
CARTRIDGE CASE SIGNATURE IDENTIFICATION USING TOPOGRAPHY MEASUREMENTS AND CORRELATIONS; UNIFICATION OF MICROSCOPIC AND MATHEMATICAL COMPARISONS
Alan Zheng*, Robert Thompson, James Yen, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland
A comparison microscope employing the standard optical-comparison method and confocal microscopy with subsequent cross correlation mathematical analysis were used to correctly identify cases fired from a set of 10 consecutively made pistol slides. A Nipkow disc confocal microscope was used to gather the 3D topography data from the breech face area of each case.
A total of 1,600 correlations was performed in a 40x40 matrix. Using statistical analysis from the known match and known non-match correlations, a baseline cross-correlation function was established to identify matches. The mathematical identifications were based on the breech face impression without the firing-pin aperture shear marks. Fifteen unknown cases were compared to test-fired cases sets from the consecutively manufactured slides. In addition, five "persistence cases" were also compared to the slides.
BULLET SIGNATURE IDENTIFICATION USING TOPOGRAPHY MEASUREMENTS AND CORRELATIONS; THE UNIFICATION OF MICROSCOPIC AND MATHEMATICAL COMPARISONS
Alan Zheng*, Robert Thompson, Wei Chu, John Song, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland
Current firearm identification is based on image comparisons using optical-comparison microscopes. The ability to produce an accurate identification depends on image quality, which is largely affected by lighting conditions. A 2D and 3D Topography Measurement and Correlation System was developed at NIST for certification of NIST Standard Reference Material (SRM) 2460/2461 Bullets and Cartridge Cases. Based on this system, a prototype system for signature measurement and correlation of fired bullets has been recently developed at NIST for bullet identifications. The 3D topography data of the land-engraved areas (LEAs) of fired bullets are captured by a commercial confocal microscope. The LEAs were processed by the "edge detection" method to determine the "striation density" by which the surface area with low striation density on the LEA could be masked out from correlation. The modified 3D micro-topography data on the remaining "valid correlation areas" are compressed into a 2D profile that represents the 2D ballistics signature of the LEA. A correlation program using two methods has been developed for matching the paired profile signatures: the Consecutive Matching Striae method, used by many firearms examiners, and the cross correlation function maximum method developed by National Institute of Science and Technology based on analysis methods in surface metrology.
FAST FOURIER TRANSFORM (FFT) AS A MEANS OF ISOLATING PROMINENT STRIA
Stephan Shaffer*, Forensic Science Graduate Student, UC Davis
In this research, we examine the Fast Fourier Transform as implemented in Microsoft® Excel® as a means of filtering and smoothing bullet-profile data to locate key primary peaks in the profile. We then continue analysis of the peaks by measuring peak locations and peak spacing ratios. This is part of a broader research effort to develop a fast, efficient, database system for storing, searching, and retrieving bullet-profile data from a large number of samples.
After a search of the literature and on-line resources, we selected an FFT analysis template available through an online public domain software site as a starting point for our testing. The spreadsheet was selected because it contained a convenient template for conducting forward and backward FFT analyses and because it readily accepted data in a form convenient to our needs. The spreadsheet was then edited and enhanced to meet our specific needs, including the development of multiple versions to accommodate different lengths of input data.
FFT filter parameters were tested to determine optimal settings. An FFT-domain high frequency of 0.020 was found to be optimal for removing form and waviness from the data. A low frequency of 0.060 was found to be optimal for removing fine detail and noise. Using these parameters, the FFT filter yields approximately 37 prominent peaks/mm from a source file that originally contained approximately 330 peaks/mm. The selected parameters and the resultant peak density approximate the level of detail seen using established bullet-comparison microscopy protocols.
We validated the FFT-filter process by comparing the filtered spectrum to the original source data to ensure that it contained all of the prominent peaks or groups of peaks while introducing no extraneous peaks. We found accurate and reproducible results but did identify possible anomalous data at the extreme ends of the filtered profile. Correcting this is the subject of an on-going effort.
Following isolation of key peak locations, we developed an application to determine the length of the gap between adjacent peaks. We took each successive six-peak group and determined the relative spacing of the first, second, fourth, and fifth peak intervals to the third interval, yielding a five digit string of numeric values that represent that six-peak sequence.
Doing this for each six-group peak sequence, we develop a series of five-digit codes that represent the entire measured profile.
In conclusion, we found that Microsoft® Excel® combined with our spreadsheet template are suitable for further use in single-line profile analysis of fired bullets. Further, we found that it is possible to develop a relatively short series of number sequences to represent all of the peak locations in a profile. This numeric sequence is suitable for inclusion in a database of bullet-profile characteristics. Further research is in progress to determine if such a database may be suitable for search and retrieval among a very large number of entries.
FOURIER AND CURVATURE CORRECTIONS IN CONFOCAL MICROSCOPY
Ashley Chu*, Forensic Science, UC Davis
Confocal microscopy combined with Mountainsmap software has been used to produce profiles of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Standard Reference Material (SRM) 2460 standard bullet. Data files from a Zeiss CSM 700 confocal microscope were exported to Mountainsmap. Line profiles were then extracted from the data files using Mountainsmap. Raw data collected from various objectives were compared, and we found that 20X (NA 0.6) and 50X (NA 0.8 and 0.95) objectives provided good quality data that compare favorably in character to NIST's published profile for SRM 2460. We also collected good quality data using a 50X objective while rotating the bullet at one-degree increments through a range of 0 to 10 degrees. When rotating bullets, we found that features in the raw profile data quickly became unrecognizable. However, when the same data were compared following leveling and FFT processing in Mountainsmap to flatten and smooth the data, we found good correlation between files. We conclude that confocal microscopy and Mountainsmap software can produce good quality raw data that compares well with published data for the NIST SRM 2460. We further conclude that FFT is a suitable means for revealing consistent profile detail which is independent of rotational position within limits of at least +/- 10 degrees.
QUANTITATIVE COMPARISON OF BLOOD SPATTER PATTERNS RESULTING FROM BULLET AND BLUNT FORCE IMPACTS
Sonja Siu* and Jennifer Saifi*, UC Davis
Due to the lack of set quantitative boundaries distinguishing different bloodstain patterns, the analysis of bloodstain patterns can be rather subjective. Results are being based on qualitative classifications rather than quantitative, causing them to be controversial. This project aims to determine whether quantitative boundaries between medium- and high-velocity impact spatters can be established along with what those boundaries are. A high-speed video camera will be used to capture and calculate various impact velocities using different blunt weapons and caliber bullets, while the distance to the vertical target surface will be varied. The generated patterns will be analyzed to produce a collection of statistical data, looking at size and spatial distribution, which will allow for the determination of a quantitative classification for medium- and high-velocity impact-spatter patterns. The overall mean drop size of the pattern should decrease and the spatial distribution of the drops should become less sparse as the impact velocity increases. For future studies, we will conduct a double-blind survey with the patterns generated in the experiments, assessed by trained analysts and students, to obtain error rates in the identification of medium- versus high-velocity impact spatter patterns.
RECONSTRUCTION OF AN UNUSUAL OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING: A MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH
Eric Collins*, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff, Martinez
In late 2005, an officer-involved shooting occurred outside a bar in the city of Vallejo. The initial shooting investigation indicated that the suspect's gun, a Raven Arms .25 Auto semiautomatic pistol, had been shot out of his hand and disabled by one of the officers during the incident. The subsequent reconstruction of this event proved daunting due to the unusual and complex nature of the incident, as well as issues raised by the defense's firearms expert. Ultimately, this case study reinforces the importance of trace evidence and the application of the scientific method in shooting reconstruction cases, while highlighting the significance, or lack thereof, of the absence of blood on bullets that have passed through human tissue.
SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS AND BATH SALTS (BY REMOTE)
Jason Nawyn, U.S. Army Laboratory, Forest Park, Georgia
Over the past few years, police agencies have recorded a spike in uses of new, supposedly legal ways for drug-users to get high. From the synthetic cannabinoids of the "Spice" craze to the bath salts containing Mephedrone and MDPV, users are devising new ways to get high while skirting some common drug laws. This discussion will focus mainly on the synthetic cannabinoids and their history, chemistry, legal issues, common objections, and then it will delve into what new compounds may be seen next.
FT-IR ATR DETERMINATION AND NON-DESTRUCTIVE ANALYSIS OF SODIUM GAMMA-HYDROXYBUTYRIC ACID (NAGHB) IMPREGNATED IN DENIM FABRIC
Phillip Brooke*, UC Davis
Forensic laboratories are often tasked with analyzing samples that are suspected of containing a chemical residue. One reason for analyzing this type of sample is to prove or disprove the presence of a substance. The information collected from this type of analysis may be the only evidence available from a legal standpoint. Forensic drug chemistry is one area of study that routinely analyzes residues of controlled substances. Residues of controlled substances can be present on many different substrates including textile fabric, drug paraphernalia, glassware and any other surface capable of adsorbing small amounts of organic material. In this study, FT-IR ATR spectroscopy was tested as a non-destructive preliminary screen for analyzing a suspected chemical residue. That is, the method was tested to see if it may serve as an initial guide in making appropriate decisions for further sampling and chemical analysis. A variation of this idea was investigated by focusing on a particular controlled substance and a single type of textile fabric. More specifically, solutions containing sodium gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (NaGHB) were applied to samples of denim fabric and allowed to dry. FT-IR ATR spectroscopy was used to analyze the NaGHB residue in order to determine whether this method may aid in the sampling of material and selection of analytical techniques for the remainder of the identification process. By monitoring the carboxyl salt stretching band, residues of NaGHB could be detected at nominal concentrations relevant to a forensic setting. The forensic context of analyzing a NaGHB residue and the uniqueness of the spectra are discussed.
SYNTHESIS AND INTERMEDIATE/BY-PRODUCT ANALYSIS OF BROMO-DRAGONFLY, A DIHYDROBENZOFURAN ANALOGUE OF PHENETHYLAMINE HALLUCINOGENS
Brittany Huntington*, UC Davis
In 1998 and 2001, two articles were published by the Nichols lab (Purdue University) providing the synthesis for (R)-(-)-1-(8- Bromobenzo[1,2-b;4,5-b']difuran-4-yl)-2-aminopropane hydrochloride (bromo-dragonfly). Since that time, bromo-dragonfly has become a hot topic in the drug community, with both users and analysts alike. Fairly pure samples of bromo-dragonfly have been found worldwide, with the one documented sample within the United States being found in Oregon. These samples have investigators wondering when the first clandestine lab will be found, or if it already has been, but overlooked because of a lack of a standard to which it can be compared. No library previously existed for the intermediates, byproducts, and wastes accrued in this synthesis. This research investigates the full synthesis of bromo-dragonfly following the method published in 2001, while also looking at other possible routes and modifications.
A library was created at the Sacramento County District Attorney's Laboratory of Forensic Services, compiling EIGCMS data for each step. The synthesis is difficult and time-consuming, requiring sophisticated equipment and knowledge, as well as liters of solvent and many toxic, atmosphere-sensitive reagents. The synthesis of bromo-dragonfly is far out of the capabilities of the typical clandestine chemist and lab; investigators should be looking at established chemistry labs to be producing samples of the caliber that have been found thus far.
QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF SODIUM GAMMA-HYROXYBUTYRIC ACID (GHB) RESIDUE FROM PLASTIC AND GLASS CONTAINERS USING FT-IR ATR
Esmeraldo Gorecho*, UC Davis
In this work, Fourier transform-infrared attenuated total reflectance (FT-IR ATR) spectroscopy was used to detect and qualitatively analyze gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) residue from plastic and glass cups. Varying amounts of the sodium salt of GHB mixed with water in plastic and glass cups were used. The residues from the cups were collected using cotton swabs and analyzed using FT-IR ATR. The study provides insight on the criteria for an analyst to determine the presence of GHB in a cup using the FT-IR ATR technique as a presumptive test by using a 1550 cm-1 asymmetric carboxylate band as an indicator for NaGHB. The FT-IR ATR method used was also able to detect GHB in a model whiskey drink and discriminate from NaGHB from GBL residue. The FT-IR ATR technique offers several advantages of avoiding sample preparation, shortening analysis time, and being a non-destructive method compared to traditional techniques used for GHB analysis.
TO PEBT OR NOT TO PEBT? THAT IS THE QUESTION
David Koenitzer, Bureau of Forensic Services, California Department of Justice, Sacramento
The California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services (BFS) needed to find a replacement for its aging breath alcohol system, known as "Evidential Portable Alcohol System" (EPAS). BFS embarked on a three-year project with a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to develop, test, validate, and implement a replacement for the EPAS devices. This presentation will recount the many technical and administrative potholes, ruts, and stones along the branching pathway that led to our new system of Portable Evidential Breath Test instruments, as well as our current architecture for data acquisition, storage, and retrieval. Validation studies performed on the new Draeger 7510 instrument will also be discussed.
WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT CAL/OSHA TRAINING REQUIREMENTS
Mark Cameron, CIH, California Criminalistics Institute, Sacramento
Cal/OSHA and other regulatory agencies have myriad training requirements for the workplace, including the crime lab and crime scenes. Injury and illness prevention plans, evacuation, bloodborne pathogens, and clandestine drug lab response are more commonly known areas. But less known areas, such as confined space entry, chemical spill teams, radiation machine, lasers, and many other areas require documented training as well. The lesser known training requirements by Cal/OSHA, Cal/EPA, the Department of Transportation, and other agencies will be presented. Types of acceptable training and where to obtain it will also be discussed.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES FOR BECOMING A PAPERLESS LABORATORY
Barry Miller, Solano County District Attorney, Bureau of Forensic Services, Fairfield
As the trend continues for laboratories to move to a more "green" paperless system, the implementation challenges can appear overwhelming. In this session we will discuss the layout of two "paperless" laboratory systems. The first implementation facet deals strictly with an electronic case record via a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and integrated repository for images and file upload with data from images stored either directly in a SQL Server database or an existing server file structure with electronic pointers stored in the database. The second discussion includes branching to network integration of instruments, general laboratory documentation and records including security, accreditation standards, batch data, document control processes and electronic signatures and data entry.
Lastly, we will discuss novel implementations of Laboratory Information Management Systems and electronic tablet integration through network infrastructure while attempting to maintain Department of Justice requirements for two factor authentication for portable devices.
SWGDRUG UPDATE - FALL 2011
Jerry Massetti, Chemistry Program Manager, California Criminalistics Institute, Sacramento
The Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs (SWGDRUG) continues its efforts to recommend minimum standards for the forensic examination of seized drugs and to seek international acceptance of those standards. SWGDRUG would like to inform CAC members that its website has been updated to reflect recent progress. The latest version of SWGDRUG Recommendations (Version 6.0) is available and includes new recommendations for analysis of clandestine laboratory samples (Part IIIC). "Examples of Measurement Uncertainty for Weight Determinations," the latest revision to its third supplemental document (SD-3), was approved in July 2011 and is posted. A mass spectral library of drugs and drug-related compounds has been compiled. Current projects include: development of Internet-based training resources, development of examples of measurement uncertainty for purity determinations, and development of reporting examples. SWGDRUG requests feedback to assess the value and utility of SWGDRUG recommendations. A future survey is in preparation. Prior survey results are summarized.