Forensics Mid-Term Review

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Sciences involved in criminalistics

Biology, Geology, Chemistry, & Physics

Rigor Mortis

stiffness of death


"father of forensic toxicology"


approximate # of crime labs in the US (federal, state, & country)

LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department)

oldest forensic lab in the US


first used fingerprints for the conviction of a murderer


established the comparison microscope as the indispensable tool of the modern firearms examiner


exchange of evidence principle


bite marks would not be likely to be found in a _________ case

Explanation for the rapid growth of crime labs during the last 25 years...

-advent of DNA profiling
-Supreme Court decisions in the 1960s
-staggering increase in crime rates in the US

1-1.5 degrees

post mortem, the body loses _________ degrees per hour until it reaches environmental temperature

Gender of victim

does not affect the rate of cooling of a dead body

7 hours

A corpse was discovered in an apartment last November. It was that of a 50-year-old male who died of a heart attack. At the time of sicovery, the body temperature was determined to be 89 degrees Farenheit. What is the probable post mortem interval?

An expert witness must be able to demonstrate...

-education in his/her area of expertise
-skill in trade or profession of interest to the court
-significant experience in a relevant field


final evaluator of forensic evidence

As the post mortem interval increases...

the concentration of potassium in the vitreous humor of the eye decreases

Forensic science

the application of science to both criminal and civil lawsthe

Frye Standard

relates to the concept of "general acceptance"


undertook the first definitive study of fingerprints as a method of personal identification


largest crime lab in the world


trial judge

Toxicology Unit

responsible for the examination of body fluids and organs for the presence of drugs and poisons

Biology Unit

-semen analysis
-comparison of hairs
-DNA profiling


developed the system of anthropometry

Blow Fly

first "witness" to arrive at a crime scene

Foensic Odontology

the study of teeth


established the first workable crime lab in Lyons, France


wrote the first treatise describing the application of science to the field of criminal investigation


creator of Sherlock Holmes

Pennsylvania Court System

[Supreme Court]
[Superior Court] [Commonwealth Court]
[Common Pleas Court]________________________________________________
1[Magisterial District Judges] 3[Philadelphia Traffic Court]
2[Philadelphia Municipal Court] 4[Pittsburgh Municipal Court]

Law Enforcement & Corrections at the Federal Level

Executive Branch (President)
D.O.Justice D.O.Treasury D.O. Homeland Security
-Attorney -FCEN -US Customs Service General -TSA
_______ -USCIS
-DEA -Secret Service
-ATF -Coast Guard
-US Marshals
-Bureau of Prisons
-US Parole Comission


Federal Bureau of Investigation


Drug Enforcement Administrations


Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms


Financial Crimes Enforcement Network


US Citizenship & Immigration Services


Transportation Security Administration


Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

Doctor Paul Kirk

headed one of the first crime science divisions in Berkeley

Hans Gross

-wrote the first treatise describing the application of scientific disciplines to the field of criminal investigation in 1893
-"Archiv fur Kriminal Anthropologie und Kriminalistik"
*serves as a medium for reporting improved methods of scientific crime detection

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

-wrote Sherlock Holmes
-"A Study in Scarlett"
*test for determining human & animal blood

Calvin Goddard

-established the comparison microscope as the indispensable tool of the modern firearms examiner

Leone Lattes

-devised a relatively simple procedure for determining the blood group of a dried bloodstain, a technique that he immediately in criminal investigations

Edgar Allan Poe

-wrote the first detective story
*Murder in the Rue Morgue

Al Capone

-head of the mob (organized crime)
-Valentine's Day Massacre (1929)

Matthieu J.B. Orfila

-first expert witness to use the Marsh Test in court (to convict La farge)

Francis Galton

-started writing and research on hand prints

Walter C. McCrone

-world's preeminent microscopist
-used microscopy often in conjunction with other analytical methodologies to examine evidence in thousands of criminal & civil cases throughout a long & illustrious career

August Vollmer

-police chief in Berkeley, CA
-asked Berkeley professor to help identify poison
-headed the first US university institute for crimonology & criminalistics at University of California at Berkeley
*US LAPD (1923)

Doctor Karl Landsteiner

-4 blood groups

Sir William Herschel

-personalization of hand print

Juan Vucetich

-used finger prints to convict someone of murder

Paul Uhlenhuth

-studied the differences of blood among species

Albert S. Osborn

-wrote "Questioned Documents"
-developed fundamental principles of document examination
-responsible for the acceptance of documents as scientific evidence by the courts

Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain)

-wrote about Forensic techniques before they were used

Alphonse Bertillon

-french officer & biometrics researcher who created anthropometry, an identification system based on physical measurements (Bertillionage)

Edmond Locard

-started the first forensics lab in Lyons, France
-student of Bertillon
-Locard Exchange Principle
*when any one person comes into contact with another person or object, cross transfer of physical evidence occurs


The metal added in the second step of the three-part chemical reaction mechanism of the Marsh Test



Commonwealth Court

appellate court that reviews cases concerning criminal offenses

Sketch of the suspect(s)

not necessarily included in a rough sketch

Procedure of physical evidence

bloodstained garments should be packaged separately in paper bags

depict injuries and weapons at the scene

If the crime scene includes a dead body, the photographer should...

The most basic methods of crime scene recording

-note taking

A victim's bloodied clothing should not be packaged in...

-sealed, airtight containers
-plastic Ziploc bags

Physical evidence at a hit-and-run scene could include...

-glass fragments
-fabric impressions
-fiber & tissue

secure the scene

the first officer arriving at a crime scene, after providing or obtaining medical assistance for the injured and effecting an arrest of suspects (if possible) should immediately...

skill of personnel processing the crime scene

success in the recognition and collection of physical evidence is determined primarily by the...

produce a finished crime scene sketch

CAD programs enhance the ability to...

Disposition of items after collection

is not necessarily included in the note taking at a crime scene

Mincey v. Arizona

-heard in the Supreme Court, dealt with the impropriety of the warantless collection of physical evidence at a homicide scene

AIDS and Hepatitis B

The presence of blood and semen at crime scenes exposes investigators to...


pattern that would absolutely require more than one investigator at a crime scene

in the process of a legal arrest

police aren't required to obtain a search warrant if they are...

permit comparisons to be made with the evidence

The collection of standard reference samples at the crime scene is important because they...

Trial Judge

A properly maintained chain of custody isn't the responsibilty of the...


The removal of any evidence from a person or from the scene of a crime must be done in conformity with the privileges of the ___ Amendment to the Constitution

the manner in which the evidence is collected and preserved

The successful outcome of a criminal investigation is almost always directly related to...

determining the natural variations that exist in evidence

The evidence collecter is not concerned with...

Physical evidence can be collected from...

-the victim
-the crime scene
-the suspect

Bloodstained clothing

cannot be placed in an airtight container

1st officer at the scene

The obligation to maintain the integrity of the evidence belongs to the...

the standard reference sample (control) doesn't share characteristics with evidence at the crime scene

Physical evidence can't be used to exonerate of exclude a person from suspicion if...


Evidence with _______ characteristics can lead to a determination of commo origin (single source)

greater than

The likelihood of finding class physical evidence is ________ the likelihood of finding physical evidence with individual characteristics

greater value

Physical evidence is considered to have _______ as that of eyewitness (testimonial) evidence

support other investigative findings

the corroborative use of physical evidence means that it can be used to...

Trial Judge

Crime scene reconstruction does not involove the...


The combined DNA index system became fully operational in...

Dental impressions

aren't maintained in forensics databases

Livor Mortis

Evidence of tampering with the body after death can be obtained by evaluating...


Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System


Automated Integrated Fingerprint Identification System


Combined DNA Index System


National Integrated Ballistics Information Network


International Forensic Automative Point Data Query


Shoeprint Image Capture And Retrieval

Crime scene reconstruction requires the piecing together of...

-accounts given by witness and suspects
-input from the medical examiner
-the story told by evidence recovered at the crime scene
-the laboratory results obtained by the criminalist working on the case


If the lab can piece broken glass from a window or headlight together then the evidence has ________ characteristics

whether they have a common origin

A comparitive analysis subjects a suspect specimen and a control specimen to the same tests and examination for the ultimate purpose of determining...

this definitely demonstrates common origin when a match is made

The "jigsaw fit" of known and questioned fragments is important for court presentation primarily because...

Physical evidence that can be used to aid in crime scene reconstruction includes...

-blood splatter
-gunshot residue
-glass fragments


Evidence associated with a group and not to a single source is said to possess _____________ characteristics


The # and type of tests needed to identify a substance must be sufficient to ________ all other substances from consideration

Product Rule

was used to calculate the frequency for blood proteins in the Nicole Brown Simpson case

Green River Killer

was convicted because of the physical evidence presented on paint


basic metric unit of mass


formula for finding the frequency of a wavelength

100 degrees C

boiling point of water


physical state that has both volume and shape


At present, about ________ elements have been found

Properties of a physical substance...

-boiling point
-melting point


is defined as mass per unit volume

Less than

A piece of glass is emersed in a liquid. It proceeds to float on the liquid's surface. This shows that the density of glass is _________ the density of the liquid

Refractive Index & Density

The two most important physical properties of glass for forensic comparisons

The exit side of the glass

The larger opening of a crater-shaped hole in glass made by the penetration of a projectile indicates...

Silicon Dioxide (SiO2)

chemical composition of glass

Radial Lines

The fracture pattern of glass usually has...

Perpendicular to the side on which the force was applied

Stress marks on the edge of a radial crack near the point of impact are...

Soda Ash

Peoples from the ancient times have been making glass objects. If they live near the sea, what ingredient did they add so they could melt the sand...


shortest wavelength of the electromagetic spectrum


amount of matter an object contains


Glass that can be physically pieced together has _______ characteristics


solids that don't have an orderly arrangement of atoms


If an object is imersed in a liquid of lesser density, it'll...


the bending of light waves due to differences in velocity through mediums


A fracture line in glass ___________ terminate at an existing line fracture


larger soil particle than silt


difference between indices of refraction of crystal calcite


approximate # of shades of soil

Becke Lines

When glass is immersed in a liquid and it appears invisible, according to refractive terms, its ___________ disappears


added to glass to give it more sparkle and hardness particularly if it is to be carved

Marshall Chart

used to distinguish soil colors

Types of glass

-Lead Crystal
-Tempered (auto)


absorption spectrum equal to a "fingerprint"

Simple Spectrophotometer

-radiation source
-smaple cell
-CCD camera

all colors

If a subatance appears black ________ are absorbed

Thin Film

TLC uses ______ as its moving phase


Gas chromatography suffers a big drawback in that it doesn't produce specific identication. This is overcome by connecting the GC to...


used to analyze organic explosives and heat sensitive drugs

Rf fomula


behavior of light

a particle fashion and a wave motion


known as the retention factor of how fast a substance moves within a chromatic system


techniques used to separate or distinguish mixtures

Spectrophotometry utilizes...

-visible light
-ultraviolet light
-infrared light


usually the carrier gas in gas chromatography

Gas & Liquid

have no shape


can be used to analyze

Qualitative Analysis

will reveal the identity of a sample

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