123rd SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Spring 2014)
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINALISTS
May 6-9, 2014
San Diego, California
EVALUATION OF CASE HISTORY OF SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS DETECTED IN ELEVEN CASES IN ORANGE COUNTY, CA AS SCREENED BY IMMUNALYSIS® K2 (SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS-1) DIRECT ELISA KIT
Dani Mata - Orange County Crime Lab
In March 2011, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency banned five synthetic cannabinoids: JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP47,497 (C7), and CP47,497 (C8). Many more have been banned since that time either on a federal or state-by-state level. Drug manufacturers and distributors are constantly updating the contents of the herbal blends in order to stay ahead of local and federal legislation. Toxicological screening for an ever changing list of synthetic cannabinoids continues to present a challenge to forensic laboratories as they try to keep up with what is currently on the streets. The Orange County Crime Lab screened over 1300 antemortem and post-mortem cases, from 2011 and 2012, using Immunalysis® K2 (Synthetic Cannabinoids-1) Direct ELISA Kit to determine if there is a need to include synthetic cannabinoids in routine screening. There were 9 positive cases and 2 cases just below the limit of detection that were sent to NMS labs for confirmation. Once confirmation of the presence of synthetic cannabinoids was obtained, the police or coroner's reports were gathered. The symptomology or the cause of death for all individuals found to have synthetic cannabinoids in their blood will be discussed in this presentation. If field sobriety tests were performed for the antemortem cases, those results will also be shared.
TOP-SHELF OR ANY SHELF: A BLOOD ALCOHOL STORAGE STUDY
Chelsea Carter and Raegan Carter - San Diego Sheriff's Department Crime Lab
The San Diego Sheriff's Regional Crime Laboratory Forensic Alcohol section receives 12,000 blood samples a year for alcohol and/or toxicology testing. This presentation will examine storage conditions of blood samples as well as the time between collection and analysis in hopes of addressing some common defense challenges. They will discuss issues of fermentation, 'CSI sampling', varied storage conditions, as well as taking a look at long term storage of samples and the effect on ethanol concentration.
RAMAN SPECTROSCOPY: A NEW ANALYTICAL TOOL AT THE SDPD CRIME LABORATORY
Lisa Merzwski - San Diego Police Department Crime Lab
Raman spectroscopy can provide rapid, non-destructive analysis of a variety of drug types. This instrument is an independent analytical technique for chemical identification as supported by the Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs (SWGDRUG), analogous to GC/MS and FT- infrared spectroscopy instrumentation. The San Diego Police Department Crime Laboratory recently purchased and validated a Raman instrument for the analysis of controlled substances - the DXR SmartRaman Spectrometer manufactured by Thermo Scientific.
A unique feature of the DXR SmartRaman spectrometer is that it is suitable for analyzing solids and liquids in a variety of packaging and container types. This allows an analyst to simply place the packaged drug onto the platform of the instrument without having to break the evidence seal. Providing the sample gives a strong vibrational spectrum, the container type is of little importance. Unlike infrared spectroscopy, Raman is useful in the analysis of mixtures. This is significant, as street drug samples can have many compounds present other than the drug of abuse. Cocaine samples that are not typically suitable for infrared spectroscopy analysis in the SDPD laboratory due to the addition of inositol can be analyzed using the Raman spectroscopy subtraction feature. This presentation will cover briefly how the Raman spectroscopy instrument works, the types of packaging that can be used to house controlled substances, and how mixtures can be analyzed by the instrument.
ANALYZING & COMPARING LARGE FORMAT IMPRESSION EVIDENCE RECORDINGS ON SCREEN IN REAL TIME
Greg Laskowski - Criminalistics Services International, LLC
Standard methods for evaluating and comparing impression evidence case samples such as footwear and tire track imprints and impressions generally require hard copy photographs and control inked imprints either on opaque material or transparent media. Using the Mideo Systems CASEWORKSeis (CWS) system, images can be entered and recorded into the system digitally. These digital images whether they be photographs, imprints on opaque media or transparencies can be stored and adjusted for size so long as a proper scale is present. Large format digital images (raw, bitmap, jpeg, etc.) can be sized, enhanced, and compared either in side by side mode on a single screen, multiple screens or as transparencies. The degree of transparency of the control imprint or the question imprint/impression can be adjusted, rotated and enhanced for contrast and size on the fly. Each step of image adjustment is recorded and stored as a metadata file to ensure security and record and photo manipulation. Images can be marked up using a variety of markup tools. Images can be printed in any size or retained for onscreen viewing.
The system is compatible with most Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) and meets the ever evolving standards for ISO, ASCLD/LAB, SWIGIT, and SWGFAST. The examiner has total control of how to prepare, evaluate and compare evidence to evidence and evidence to knowns. All this can be done in real time thus saving photo developing costs, printing costs and most important the examiner's time.
Demonstration of the Mideo Systems CASEWORKSeis CWS system using real images will be presented.
OBTAINING DNA FROM UNFIRED FIREARMS CARTRIDGES AND FIRED CARTRIDGE CASINGS
Shawn Monpetit - San Diego Police Department Crime Lab
Shooting incidents often yield cartridge casings as potential evidence items. Historically, cartridge casing evidence has been used to link firearms with particular crimes, or separate crimes to a single firearm. The success of "touch DNA" analysis has prompted questions of using DNA on the surfaces of cartridge casings to identify potential shooters. This short presentation will include a discussion of the success rates from an in-house research project and recent casework. The presentation will also serve to provide points of consideration and context for other agencies that are considering conducting DNA analysis on this type of evidence.
BERNAL / MCCAULEY 7-11 SHOOTING
Janet Ryzdynski - San Diego Sheriff's Department & Jim Romo - San Diego DA's Office
OVERVIEW OF THE ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY DNA DATABASE PROGRAM
Jody Hynds & Scott Scoville - Orange County District Attorney's Office
In 2007, OCDA's Office received approval from the OC Board of Supervisors to start a local DNA Database separate from the OC Crime Lab's LDIS. Since commencement, the OCDA DNA Database has collected over 105,000 samples from individuals who have pending criminal matters. Additionally, over 50,000 state/CODIS samples have been submitted to Cal-DOJ as part of OCDA DNA program. This presentation will provide an overview of the implemented policies and procedures from sample collection to notification. Additionally, the presentation will discuss how the OCDA DNA Database anticipates the use of data from the Rapid DNA instrument to provide real-time investigative leads to law enforcement.
THE JOHN GARDNER INVESTIGATION: REMEMBERING CHELSEA KING AND AMBER DUBOIS
Scott Enyeart & Mark Palmer - San Diego Sheriff's Department Homicide
ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE: WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Peter Barnett - Forensic Analytical Sciences, Inc.
As a consequence as of the NAS Report, the NIST Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC), the recently introduced Federal legislation, the Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Reform Act (S. 2177), and the DOJ/NIST Memorandum of Understanding significant, maybe even monumental, changes in the operation of forensic laboratories is occurring and will continue to evolve under the auspices of the NIST oversight process. Part of these changes will be in the area of ethics and standards of practice for forensic scientists. In addition to all of the above there are many institutional players who have a stake in any developments: Forensic accreditation and certification bodies (ASCLD&ASCLD-Lab, FQS, ABC, etc.), professional organizations (AAFS, CAC, et al.), individual agencies which operate forensic laboratories, and individual practitioners (employees of law enforcement labs, private labs, individual practitioners, academics, etc.). Most of these groups have in place Codes of Ethics or Standards of Professional Practice. The NIST Quality Infrastructure Committee "composed of up to 10 standards experts, quality systems managers, and accreditation and certification specialists" is charged with development of a "Forensic Science Code of Practice." What will this document be? Is it something like a SWGs document published as a ASTM? Is it more like the ISO Standards, or more like the Code of Ethics of the CAC? What will be the consequences of national "Forensic Science Code of Practice?"
UNLEASHING NEXT GENERATION FORENSIC TRACE EVIDENCE ANALYSIS: INFERENCES AND QUANTITATIVE ASSOCIATIONS FROM PARTICLE COMBINATIONS
David Stoney - Stoney Forensic, Inc., Chantilly, VA
Particle Combination Analysis is a new approach that uses co-occurring particles to test alternative attribution hypotheses. Simply put, Particle Combination Analysis exploits the particles in dusts, which are ubiquitous and in infinitely varying combinations, to solve a wide range of problems with varying case specifics. This approach can provide a game-changing capability to forensic investigators, working alongside existing investigative methods and using portions of evidence that are typically discarded or ignored.
As associative evidence, trace evidence can be of extremely high value in specific cases, but its overall impact is limited by two important factors. Firstly, only a few frequently occurring particle types (e.g. fibers, glass, paint) are typically collected and analyzed. This restricts the number of cases where trace evidence is used. Secondly, as pointed out by the 2009 NAS Report, the probative value attainable using these mass-produced commodities is restricted to class associations. This is a fundamental limitation to probative value, and quantitative associations are effectively prohibited because of related confounding statistical uncertainties.
To overcome these limitations, our NIJ-funded research is exploiting trace evidence resulting from combinations of many particle types (Particle Combination Analysis). Fine dust particles are found adhering to virtually any object and within virtually any product. These very small particles (VSP) are the result of the object's unique history of exposure. They are present in all cases (removing the first limitation) and they are not predetermined by manufacture (removing the second).
One application of Particle Combination Analysis is the exploitation of the thousands of VSP found in and on items of evidence to test associations and enhance probative value. The combinations of VSP are so complex that until recently there was no practical method to identify and interpret these combinations. Application of high-throughput individual particle analysis, together with increasingly sophisticated data analysis, now allows the exploitation of these complex particle sets.
Two examples of the use of VSP for associations are (1) utilization of the VSP "riding piggy-back" on the surfaces of carpet fibers as a form of multiple-transfer evidence, and (2) the use of searchable VSP particle profiles to identify links between different crimes, events and people.
There are also important inferential investigative applications of Particle Combination Analysis that efficiently exploit the available specimen to address case-specific questions. These are enabled by avoiding predetermined restrictions on the analytical methods that will be used and the components of the specimen that will be analyzed. Examples are (1) rapidly narrowing a search so investigators can focus activity on a small area, (2) identifying characteristics of the nearby environment that will aid in a search, and (3) inferring the origins and assembly sites of items of interest.
This project was supported by Awards No. 2010-DN-BX-K244 and 2012-DN-BX-K041 awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.
ALTERNATIVE METHOD FOR GLASSES IDENTIFICATION: PCA BASE COMPOSITIONAL PROFILING BY MICRO-XRF
Sergey Mamedov - Horiba Scientific, Edison, NJ
X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy is useful tool for identification substances and confirming their identity with little or no sample preparation. New capabilities of the energy dispersive XRF analytical microscope (micro-XRF) enable the recording not only spectra of small glass particles (as small as 50-100 microns) but also hyper-spectral image of any object with high spatial resolution. The data can be mined for unsuspected elements after the measurements have been made, and statistical method (multivariate analysis) can produce chemical distributions of the elements and/or material classification based on Principal Component Analysis, in particular, with association between elements that can aid in identification of bonded phases. For example, statistical analysis of micro-XRF data for glasses can be used to locate the make, model, and year of car by analyzing a glass chip. This presentation will provide practical insights into the application of the micro-XRF to the analysis of glasses and soil.
We collected and analyzed spectra of the glass from several cars manufactures and commercial glasses (microscope slides, window glasses, fuse glass) in the range of 1.00-40.96 keV (<400 spectra). Because the only few spectra have an additional features in the energy range above 15 keV, spectra were truncated and analysis was done in spectral range of 1.00 - 15 keV. Standard FPM algorithm without any correction and/or calibration was used to calculate concentration of Na₂O, MgO, Al₂O₃, SiO₂, K₂O, CaO, TiO₂, MnO₂, Fe₂O₃, As₂O₅, CeO₂ in all samples. We used this set of concentration to build a data set for PCA. All spectra and concentration data sets were scaled before Principal Component Analysis was applied. We will show correlation between classification based on spectral analysis and concentration analysis.
HAIR CHALK - A NEW TYPE OF TRACE EVIDENCE
Hair chalk is the latest fad among teenagers and young women. It's easy to apply; is nonpermanent, and easily washes off. It typically lasts three days or less. It will last longer if after application you spray the hair with hair spray. Should a sexual assault or abduction victim be using hair chalk as a part of her makeup, in the course of the struggle it is likely traces of hair chalk and/or individual chalk-bearing hairs will be exchanged between victim/assailant/crime scene. But except for color, isn't it all pretty much alike? No! This presentation will show how greatly the composition of different brands vary and how the surface analysis method, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), can detect and characterize hair chalk traces on individual hairs or on transfers to clothing items.
STABILITY OF SELECT REFRACTIVE INDEX LIQUIDS-PART 1: CARGILLE LABS SERIES A AND AA
Wayne Moorehead - Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Crime Lab
Cargille refractive index liquids are used for characterization and identification of unknown materials and trace evidence. Due to the expense of refractive index liquids for most Trace sections of the forensic laboratory, the liquids are typically not replaced on a regular basis.
Because the liquids are used for elimination as well as identification of unknown substances, the analyst should have an understanding of how stable the stored liquids are in the normal laboratory environment. In this part of the study, two full sets (30 liquids each), one half set (15 liquids), and select extra bottles from Series AA and seven full sets (91 liquids each) and one half set (46 liquids) of Series A were evaluated. Based on the lot numbers, the age of the liquids was up to 31 years for Series AA and 33 years for Series A. Both sets retained reasonable stability over that time span. If the value of a refractive index liquid is a critical measurement, then the liquid should be checked with a refractometer.
AUTOMATING THE DIFFERENTIAL DIGESTION PROCESS IN THE ANALYSIS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE USING SELECTIVE DEGRADATION
Helena Wong - Oakland Police Department Crime Lab
An automated differential digestion protocol was developed using selective degradation. The current differential digestion process requires multiple wash and centrifugation steps to remove residual epithelial DNA from the sperm fraction. The selective degradation technique replaces these labor intensive steps by using a degradative agent, DNase I, to digest the remaining epithelial DNA. The use of DNase on evidence samples and its effect on DNA yield and DNA typing quality was assessed. Studies were performed on semen stains stored for an extended period of time (up to 60 years) and on semen samples subjected to heat, humidity and multiple freeze/thaw cycles to evaluate the effects of DNase on environmentally compromised sperm samples. The automated protocol utilized 96-well plates for high efficiency and incorporated microscope slide preparations for the confirmation of the presence of sperm. Through the use of the selective degradation method, automation of the differential digestion process was achieved without having to compromise on the quantity and quality of the DNA obtained.
REFLECTIONS: 25 YEARS OF TEACHING THE COURTROOM TESTIMONY CLASS
Raymond Davis - Courtskills
This presentation will cover five main topics. First, the genesis of the courtroom training course which began in 1972, the development of the course material from 1972 to 1989, extraordinary classroom events over the past 25 years, copywriting of the course material and last, recognition of the individuals who have made the course a great success.
The Courtroom Presentation of Evidence course was first presented at the California Criminalistics Institute in the Spring of 1991 through the efforts of Louis Maucieri, then program manager at CCI. It was his desire to offer a course on courtroom testimony which provided the spark for launching Raymond's course which continues to provide timely training to forensic experts across the United States.
The Courtroom Presentation of Evidence course is a POST certified course and Raymond Davis is a POST certified instructor. The Courtroom presentation of Evidence course is the highest rated course ever conducted at CCI. Through 200 classes, Raymond has trained over six thousand forensic scientists, CSI experts, SART nurses and police officers the skills to survive and thrive in the courtroom. This course has been presented to members of the FBI, ATF, Customs & Border Protection Labs, to numerous forensic science associations: NWAFS, SWAFS, CAC, NEAFS, SAFS, SWAFDE, IAI and AAFS. As well as numerous city, county and state crime labs in seventeen states.
THE MURDER BOOK: HOW TO TURN CRIMES INTO NARRATIVE NON-FICTION
Caitlin Rother - New York Time Bestselling Author
New York Times bestselling author Caitlin Rother has written or co-authored nine books for HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Wiley and Kensington/Pinnacle, including POISONED LOVE, LOST GIRLS, and her latest, I'LL TAKE CARE OF YOU. Rother will talk about how she conducts in-depth research and uses fiction techniques to write true stories about murder, criminal investigations, the justice system, and the psychology behind the stories. As a writing instructor, book doctor, and coach/consultant, she will also discuss how she helps others do research, conduct interviews, shape and write their stories, and get publishing contracts.
FURENSICS: EVERY DOG HAS ITS DAY - IN COURT
Christina Lindquist - UC Davis, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Forensic Unit
As the only crime laboratory in the world ASCLD/LAB accredited for analysis of DNA from domestic animals, the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory Forensic Unit at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine serves federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies as well as the general public. The majority of our cases are from the U.S. and Canada with occasional cases arriving from Great Britain, South America, Australia and Japan as investigators reach out for assistance on hard-to-solve cases.
While VGL-Forensics has databases available for dogs, cats, horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, deer, elk, wolves, coyotes, bear, llamas and alpacas, the majority of our casework is canine. A thorough look at the DogFiler and Mini-DogFiler panels developed at VGL-Forensics will be presented. These panels were published in 2012 and have been utilized to establish our database of over 2000 dogs, wolves and coyotes. A combination of the DogFiler panel and the ISAG dog markers (a total of 38 markers) has been integral in the development of our wolf- and coyote-hybrid tests.
Case examples from Southern California and the international community will also be presented.
NIST ORGANIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC AREA COMMITTEES (OSAC): INPUT RECEIVED AND PROPOSED PLAN DEVELOPMENT
Robert M. Thompson - National Institute of Standards & Technology
The development of a quality infrastructure for forensic science was a key component of some of the reforms anticipated in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report. In response to the report, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the US Department of Justice signed a bilateral agency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in March 2013 which specified the establishment of "Guidance Groups" now termed Scientific Area Committees (SACs).
NIST created the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) model to promulgate NIST's responsibility to administer and coordinate support for the discipline-specific SACs. In September 2013, NIST issued in the Federal Register a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) to obtain national and international input on the establishment and structure of governance models. Eighty-two submissions were received in response to the NOI. NIST envisions uniform administration of development, promulgation and adoption of standards through the OSAC as well as supporting communication flow between the SACs and the forensic science community. The plan design intends to bring structure, scientific rigor and increased communication among forensic scientists, research scientists, academicians, statisticians, attorneys, managers and quality assurance specialists.
STRANGER/ACQUAINTANCE RAPE: A DNA CASE PRESENTATION
Adam Dutra - San Diego Police Department Crime Lab
This presentation highlights a sexual assault that occurred in San Diego. The scenario, DNA results, and statistical approaches will be detailed. The strength of the DNA evidence was improved following consultation with the detective.
GETTING RESULTS IN NON-TRADITIONAL DNA CASES - URIAH COURTNEY CASE EXAMPLE
Alissa Bjerkoel & Alexander Simpson - California Innocence Project
The exonerations of hundreds of American citizens have proven eyewitness identifications are far from perfect. Of our nation's documented DNA exonerations, 71% involved misidentification. The case of Uriah Courtney is a classic misidentification case where DNA proved his innocence of a sexual assault. In 2004, a man attacked Erika as she walked to a friend's house in Lemon Grove. He grabbed her, threw her down to the ground, ripped her underwear, and digitally penetrated her. Erika fought vigorously with her attacker and broke free, escaping into a passing car. She later identified Uriah from a six-pick lineup as her attacker. In 2005, the San Diego Sheriff's Department performed DNA testing, but did not obtain any meaningful results. Uriah was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Subsequent DNA testing by Bode Technologies in 2012 revealed a full STR male profile on the victim's shirt from which Uriah was excluded, a location where the San Diego Sheriff's Department refused to test. The profile was run through CODIS by the Orange County Crime Lab and a match was obtained to a local man with a history of sexual assaults. That man lived near the crime scene and had a striking resemblance to Uriah. Based on this evidence, Uriah's conviction was reversed and he was freed.
THE CAT'S MEOW: THE STORY OF HANNAH ANDERSON
Christi Licudine & Glenn Giannantonio - San Diego Sheriff's Department Homicide
James DiMaggio was a close family friend of Brett and Christina Anderson, considered an uncle to their two children - 16 year old Hannah and 8 year old Ethan. The Anderson's divorced in 2012 and Brett moved to Tennessee, but DiMaggio remained in contact with the remaining family in San Diego County. In late July 2013, DiMaggio invited Christina, Hannah, and Ethan over for a get together, as he claimed that his home was in foreclosure and he would soon be moving. They made plans to spend the later part of Saturday, August 3rd at his home. Sometime after noon, Christina, Ethan, and the family dog arrived at the DiMaggio property. James went to pick up Hannah from cheerleading practice later that day. Returning to the property, he told Hannah that her mother and brother were visiting neighbors. Hannah was then held against her will.
Sometime after midnight DiMaggio forced Hannah into his vehicle and departed the house, where a fire was later reported by a neighbor on Sunday, August 4th. The body of Christina Anderson was found in a detached garage and An AMBER alert was broadcast throughout California for Hannah and Ethan Anderson. Sheriff's homicide was called to the scene when Christina's body was found in the garage area. During the homicide investigation, the Anderson's deceased dog and Ethan's charred remains were located. Ethan's remains had not been positively identified at this time.
News outlets from the surrounding states broadcast the AMBER alert information on the local news stations. A tip from Idaho alerted law enforcement to search the heavily wooded area in Cascade. DiMaggio's vehicle was located underneath brush in the forest. On Saturday, August 10, 2013 DiMaggio and Hannah were sighted by a surveillance aircraft, camping near a lake in the Cascade area. At about 1721 hours, FBI Hostage Rescue Team members confronted DiMaggio. DiMaggio fired two rounds from a long rifle in the direction of the agents. DiMaggio was shot and killed by the agents. Hannah was rescued and returned to her father in San Diego.
LOST BUT FOUND: MELDING FORENSIC SCIENCE EDUCATION WITH REAL CASE EXPERIENCE
Dana Kollman - Towson University, Towson, Maryland
Towson University's Forensic Science Student Organization has created partnerships with several law enforcement agencies and has assisted them in the search for human remains when police recruit classes are unavailable or cases have gone cold. Focusing on two cases, this talk will address the many challenges faced by university-level educators in the forensic sciences and the benefit of students providing basic forensic services to the community.