Category Archives: News, Reviews & Editorials

Advanced Topics in Homicide

December 1-3, 2014
Location: HCSO Training Facility
Time: 9:00am-5:30pm

USF-HCSO is co-hosting a 3-day workshop (24 hour training) for detectives, crime scene personnel, death investigators, prosecutors and defense attorneys, as well as other forensic specialists who work in the area of violent crime investigations.

This course will focus on the following themes: long-term unsolved cold cases; clandestine grave search and recovery; child victims from abduction to homicide; and sexual homicide. The Dozier Reform School investigation will be discussed in-depth, as a case study for field methods used for grave search and recovery.

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CSI Training

The International Crime Scene Investigators Association will he holding a training conference in Little Rock, AR. May 13-15, 2014.  This is truly an international conference with presenters and attendees from across the US, Caribbean and the UK to name a few.

There is still space available, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity.

You can find out more on the conference website: http://www.icsia.org/conference

Interview Training Cruise Tentatively Scheduled for 2014

“Lies & Lie Detection; Navigating your way to the Truth within Interviews and Interrogations”

This will be a 5 day/4 night cruise from New York City to St. John in Canada during which there will be 12 training sessions from professionals within the field covering topics such as; Detecting Deception and the Psychology of Deceit, Human Memory and Truthful Recall of Information; Investigative Interviewing Foundation and Key Principles  Obtaining Information through Cognitive Interviewing/MCI; Language and Lying within Statements & Interviews; Statement Analysis Workshops; Micro Expressions & Emotions within Interviews; Body Language and Detecting Deception; Forced-Choice Testing; Persuasive Interviewing – Ethical Tactics and Strategies; False Confessions – Causes and Prevention; Directing and Supervising the Interview Process.

Tentative dates: August 28th through September 1st, 2014.

Click Here to Learn More

Forensic Science Hollywood Style

Just what is the impression of forensic science held by members of the general public (our pool of jurors)? If they believe everything they see on TV or in the movies, they are being sadly misled. Our local attorneys believe that, at the very least they have been generally misinformed about the likelihood of finding fingerprints by exposure to the media. Because of this I will be in court in the coming weeks giving testimony on the difficulties of recovering fingerprints from duct tape… Of course the same attorney moments later mentioned how unusual it is to recover fingerprints from guns- Which he felt had good surfaces for recovering fingerprints. (I re-educated him on this point, as guns have generally lousy surfaces, not to mention all the handling involved in firing/recovering/and making safe prior to processing).

It has been my experience that not only do members of the general public have a lack of understanding of forensic science, but that police officers, detectives, prosecutors and judges are often not much better. I think this trend is likely to continue as long as forensics is misrepresented in the media. People tend to refer to personal experience when assessing the value of new information, and when the personal experience with forensic science is “I was watching Law and Order on TV the other night and they…. ” Continue reading

61st District Court v Heisenberg et. al.

“Wizard’s First Rule: people are stupid…given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true.”
-Terry Goodkind, Wizard’s First Rule,Tor Books, 1994.

“To a jury about to convict a man of a capital crime, any doubt is reasonable.”
-Commentary on the O.J. Simpson trial.

In recent months I have had two different District court judges, lower two different counts of Home Invasion to either Unlawful entry, or Trespassing. Their reasoning? One said that even though we identified the defendant’s fingerprints on an item in the residence which was handled, but not taken. Even though he had no business being in the residence- because there were other fingerprints which we did not identify (we eliminated a number of prints belonging to the owner and his family) we could not show that the defendant had any intent to commit a larceny, one of the “unidentified” persons could have committed the larceny. Continue reading

How to Enter a Crime Scene

By Dean H. Garrison, Jr.

This editorial originally appeared in “The Scene”, the newsletter of the Association for Crime Scene Reconstruction.

The yellow tape is up. There are cops everywhere, and maybe even some emergency vehicles. Your Lieutenant or Sergeant or Captain called you on the phone. If they were excited and out-of-breath on the phone, you just know they’re new at this. Somebody’s dead–Oh, my God!–and how soon can you get there? It’s an ungodly hour, of course, and you’re half asleep. Or else it’s early, and all your plans for the rest of the day are shot. And, speaking of shot, there’s a dead guy on the floor somewhere, and he’s shot or stabbed or hit with a lamp or a bottle or a pipe, and he or she is dead or dying or enroute to the emergency room or Dead Right There on the lawn or sprawled out on the bed, or he’s the newest face on the barroom floor. In any case, there’s no need to get overly excited and start flying off in all directions. It’s a homicide, for goodness sake! It’s already too late for somebody. Continue reading

The Death Penalty on Trial

by Bill Kurtis
Interviewed by Daryl W. Clemens

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Bill Kurtis about his new book “The Death Penalty on Trial- Crisis in American Justice”. The book outlines the current state of affairs with regards to the death penalty, and the reasons why its opponents say it doesn’t work. DNA results have called numerous cases into question, and prompted a moratorium in Illinois. Death row inmates in Illinois have now had their sentences commuted to life in prison. Continue reading

Review: Cracking Cases

Review by Julie Sobocinski for Crime and Clues

In Cracking Cases, Dr. Lee abandons the style of his previous publications, and instead introduces the reader to a new format. In contrast to a manual of instruction (Henry Lee’s Crime Scene Handbook and Physical Evidence in Forensic Science), this text is an account of Lee’s involvement in, and interpretation of five independent homicide investigations. Continue reading

Fingerprints: The Origins of Crime Detection and the Murder Case that Launched Forensic Science

Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, this book is sure to appeal to people in the fingerprint profession, and to those who love history. The book centers around “The Shocking Tragedy at Deptford”, the murder case which became the first in the United Kingdom which was solved through the use of fingerprint evidence. (There were earlier cases in other countries, and an account of one from Argentina is also included in the text).

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