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Science & Justice
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.033
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 443  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1355-0306
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3206 journals]
  • To take care of those on the front line against Covid-19: Is it possible
           to limit medical liability'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 May 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Pamela Tozzo, Caterina Politi, Andrea Gabbin, Luciana Caenazzo
  • Is human identification by dental comparison a scientifically valid
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 May 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Catherine A. Sims, John Berketa, Denice Higgins
  • BM2: Council Information
    • Abstract: Publication date: May 2020Source: Science & Justice, Volume 60, Issue 3Author(s):
  • Prelim 3: Contents
    • Abstract: Publication date: May 2020Source: Science & Justice, Volume 60, Issue 3Author(s):
  • IFC: Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: May 2020Source: Science & Justice, Volume 60, Issue 3Author(s):
  • BM1: Events Guide
    • Abstract: Publication date: May 2020Source: Science & Justice, Volume 60, Issue 3Author(s):
  • Conceptualising, evaluating and communicating uncertainty in forensic
           science: Identifying commonly used tools through an interdisciplinary
           configurative review
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 April 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): N. Georgiou, R.M. Morgan, J.C. French
  • Letter to the Editor: Commentary on “Is it possible to predict the
           origin of epithelial cells' – A comparison of secondary transfer of
           skin epithelial cells versus vaginal mucous membrane cells by direct
           contact, M.M. Bouzga et al., Science & Justice,
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 April 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Alex Biedermann
  • Chemical fingerprinting of petrochemicals for arson investigations using
           two-dimensional gas chromatography - flame ionisation detection and
           multivariate analysis
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 April 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Jessica Pandohee, Jeff G. Hughes, James R. Pearson, Oliver A.H Jones
  • Gaughran vs the UK and public acceptability of forensic
           biometrics retention
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 7 April 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Aaron Amankwaa, Carole McCartney
  • Direct PCR: a review of use and limitations
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 April 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Belinda Martin, Adrian Linacre
  • Assessing the performance of quantity and quality metrics using the QIAGEN
           Investigator® Quantiplex® Pro RGQ kit
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 26 March 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Jack Morrison, Suzzanne McColl, Jari Louhelainen, Kayleigh Sheppard, Ashley May, Linus Girdland-Flink, Giles Watts, Nick Dawnay
  • Forensic Implications of Foot Arch Index Comparison between Dynamic Bare
           Footprints and Shoe Insole Foot Impressions
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 March 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Michael Nirenberg, Elizabeth Ansert, Jackie Campbell, Michael Curran
  • BM2: Council Information
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Science & Justice, Volume 60, Issue 2Author(s):
  • Prelim 3: Contents
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Science & Justice, Volume 60, Issue 2Author(s):
  • IFC: Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Science & Justice, Volume 60, Issue 2Author(s):
  • BM1: Events Guide
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Science & Justice, Volume 60, Issue 2Author(s):
  • Opinion Evidence in Cell Site Analysis
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 26 February 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Matt Tart
  • Communicating forensic science opinion: An examination of expert reporting
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 December 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Agnes S. Bali, Gary Edmond, Kaye N. Ballantyne, Richard I. Kemp, Kristy A. Martire
  • Evaluation of ninhydrin as a fingermark visualisation method – A
           comparison between different procedures as an outcome of the 2017
           collaborative exercise of the ENFSI Fingerprint Working Group
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 December 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Francesco Zampa, Monika Hilgert, Jonas Malmborg, Maria Svensson, Lothar Schwarz, Aldo Mattei, On behalf of the ENFSI Fingerprint Working Group
  • Preliminary investigation into the use of Micro-CT scanning on impact
           damage to fabric, tissue and bone caused by both round and flat nosed
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 25 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Jayne Newton, Anne Savage, Neil Coupar, Joanna Fraser
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 February 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): M.M. Bouzga, G. Dørum, K. Gundersen, P. Kohler, P. Hoff-Olsen, A.E. Fonneløp
  • Assessing zygomatic shape and size for estimating sex and ancestry in a
           South African sample
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 February 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Tafadzwa Tawha, Elizabeth Dinkele, Calvin Mole, Victoria E. GibbonAbstractUnidentified, decomposed and skeletonised human remains are frequently found in South Africa, therefore, standardised, reliable and relevant sex and ancestry estimation methods are required for forensic identification. This study assessed sex and ancestral variation in zygomatic size and shape in a South African population using geometric morphometric analyses. The zygoma of 158 South African individuals were sampled. Eight zygomatic landmarks were captured in 3-dimensions using a Microscribe G2 digitiser and assessed using procrustean geometric morphometrics. Shape and size differences were analysed using multivariate linear regression, discriminant function and canonical variate analyses. Males had significantly larger zygomas than females. Significant shape variation was found between ancestral groups. Bantu-speaking and Mixed ancestry individuals had narrower, shorter and more anteriorly projecting orbital margins, whilst Europeans had vertically elongated and receded orbital margins. European ancestral groups were most discernible from Bantu-speakers and Mixed ancestral groups. Ancestry estimation accuracies improved when ancestry was aggregated with sex. Pairwise ancestry-linked comparisons in females were as follows; Bantu-speakers (76%) from Europeans (72%), Bantu-speakers (71%) from Mixed ancestry (59%) and European (72%) from Mixed ancestry (63%). Similarly, ancestry-linked comparisons in males were as follows; Bantu-speakers (77%) from Europeans (81%), Bantu-speakers (53%) from Mixed ancestry (59%) and European (72%) from Mixed ancestry (82%). Size differences are putatively linked to variations in hormone-regulated growth and muscular robusticity between males and females. Shape variations between ancestral groups are likely attributable to the heterogenous genetic and ancestral origins of the South African population. It is challenging to distinguish between South Africa Bantu speakers and Mixed ancestry people due to Mixed ancestry individuals having variable genetic contributions from Khoesan, Bantu-speakers, Europeans and Asians. Bantu-speaking and Mixed ancestry people had zygomatic morphologies consistent with historical thermoregulatory adaptations to sub-Saharan climates, reported in African-descendants. Zygomatic morphology in European descendants suggests ancestral origins from colder climatic regions. This study demonstrated the utility of the zygoma in distinguishing between ancestral groups in South Africa, but further research is required to develop population-specific standards to distinguish between South African populations with shared African ancestry. The zygoma shows a promising ability to estimate sex and ancestry in South Africans, suggesting population specific standards for this bone may be of forensic interest.
  • Detecting Latent DNA in Wildlife Forensic Science Investigations
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 February 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Piyamas Kanokwongnuwut, K. Paul Kirkbride, Adrian Linacre
  • Forensic touch DNA recovery from metal surfaces – a review
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 January 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Dan Osei Mensah Bonsu, Denice Higgins, Jeremy J. AustinAbstractTrace evidence such as touch (also known as contact) DNA has probative value as a vital forensic investigative tool that can lead to the identification and apprehension of a criminal. While the volume of touch DNA evidence items submitted to forensic laboratories has significantly increased, recovery and amplification of DNA from these items, especially from metal surfaces, remains challenging. Currently little is understood with regards to the underlying mechanisms of metal-DNA interactions in the context of forensic science and how this may impact on DNA recovery. An increased understanding of these mechanisms would allow optimisation of methods to improve outcomes when sampling these materials. This paper reviews the basis of DNA binding to metal substrates, the merits and limitations of current methods and future perspectives of improving recovery and amplification of touch DNA from metal surfaces of forensic interest.
  • On the spectroscopic cum chemometric approach for differentiation and
           classification of inkjet, laser and photocopier printed documents
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 January 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Raj Kumar, Avantika Samkaria, Vishal SharmaThe potential of ATR-FTIR spectroscopy combined with chemometric methods is explored for the rapid and no-destructive forensic investigation of inkjet, laser and photocopier printed documents. The aim of the present study is to ascertain the source of origin of unknown printed documents, i.e., whether it belongs to the laser or inkjet or photocopier devices and also to visualize the intra-variations present in the same types of printed documents. It is observed that these printing inks contain polystyrene, bisphenol A, methyl acrylate and aromatic ethers as the main chemical constituents. The standard normal variate normalization is performed in order to eliminate the differences caused by the amount of toner powder/inks. The discrimination among printed documents is achieved by using chemometric methods including hierarchal cluster analysis and principal component analysis. Further, linear discriminant analysis is used to classify the unknown printed documents into its respective class of printing devices. The present methodology provides robust, non-destructive, reproducible, and simultaneous identification methods for printed documents.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • The potential of collaborative learning as a tool for forensic students:
           application to signature examination
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 January 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Cadola Liv, Sarah Hochholdinger, Anne Bannwarth, Romain Voisard, Raymond Marquis, Céline WeyermannTransferring theoretical knowledge to practical skills remains a big challenge in forensic science, especially in questioned documents. The examination of handwriting and signatures requires years of practice to develop the necessary skills. While students (and to some extent the general population) often have the impression that it is easy to differentiate handwriting from different persons, in practice, particularly when dealing with simulated signatures, there is a high risk of reaching a wrong conclusion when questioned document experts do not use a systematic approach and/or are not sufficiently experienced (see for example the famous French Dreyfus case). Thus, a novel teaching approach, based on collaborative learning, has been introduced in a theoretical handwriting class to improve the students’ theoretical knowledge, and additionally make them aware of the limitations of their practical skills and give them tools to improve them in their future practice. Through five activities, the students took the roles of victims, forgers, teachers and experts and created their own learning materials (i.e. signatures and mock casework). During those interactive activities, they learned to describe their signature’s characteristics, intra-variability and complexity, and thus evaluate their own signature’s vulnerability (as potential victims). They learned techniques to simulate signatures and detect the resulting forgeries’ characteristics (in the role of forgers). In the role of teachers, they prepared mock casework scenarios and gave feedback to their colleague’s examination of the produced material. As experts, they carried out signature examination as they would in a proficiency test and were exposed to the difficulties an actual expert may encounter in practice. The evaluation of this novel teaching scenario was very positive, as students learned more extensively the possibilities and limitations of signature comparison. They were more active and motivated in their learning experiences. The teaching team also had an improved experience. Some students complained of an increased workload and imprecise instructions. Improvements were tested and are discussed in this paper.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Cognitive Biases in the Peer Review of Bullet and Cartridge Case
           Comparison Casework: A Field Study
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 28 January 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Erwin J.A.T. Mattijssen, Cilia L.M. Witteman, Charles E.H. Berger, Reinoud D. StoelAbstractObjectiveForensic judgments and their peer review are often the result of human assessment and are thus subjective and prone to bias. This study examined whether bias affects forensic peer review.HypothesesWe hypothesized that the probability of disagreement between two forensic examiners about the proposed conclusion would be higher with “blind” peer review (reviewer saw only the first examiner’s comparison photos) than with “non-blind” peer review (reviewer also saw the first examiner’s interpretation and proposed conclusion). We also hypothesized that examiners with a higher perceived professional status would have a larger effect on the reported conclusion than examiner with a lower status.MethodWe acquired data during a non-blind and a blind peer review procedure in a naturalistic, covert study with eight examiners (3-26 years of experience). We acquired 97 conclusions of bullet and cartridge case comparisons in the blind and 471 in the non-blind peer review procedure.ResultsThe odds of disagreement between examiners about the evidential strength of a comparison were approximately five times larger (95%-CI [3.06, 8.50]) in the blind than in the non-blind procedure, with disagreement about 12.5% and 42.3% of the proposed conclusions, respectively. Also, the odds that their proposed conclusion was reported as the final conclusion were approximately 2.5 higher for the higher-status examiners than for lower-status examiners.ConclusionsOur results support both the hypothesis that bias occurs during non-blind forensic peer review and the hypothesis that higher-status examiners determine the outcome of a discussion more than lower-status examiners. We conclude that blind peer review may reduce the probability of bias and that status effects have an impact on the peer reviewing process.
  • Public Beliefs About the Accuracy and Importance of Forensic Evidence in
           the United States
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 January 2020Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Jacob Kaplan, Shichun Ling, Maria CuellarAbstractRecent advances, especially the use of DNA technology, have revealed that faulty forensic analyses may have contributed to miscarriages of justice. In this study we build on recent research on the general public’s perceptions of the accuracy of 10 forensic science techniques and of each stage in the investigation process. We find that individuals in the United States hold a pessimistic view of the forensic science investigation process, believing that an error can occur about half of the time at each stage of the process. We find that respondents believe that forensics are far from perfect, with accuracy rates ranging from a low of 55% for voice analysis to a high of 83% for DNA analysis, with most techniques being considered between 65-75% accurate. Respondents still believe that forensic evidence is a key part of a criminal case with nearly 30% of respondents believing that the absence of forensic evidence is sufficient for a prosecutor to drop the case and nearly 40% believing that the presence of forensic evidence, even if other forms of evidence suggest that the defendant is not guilty, is enough to convict the defendant.
  • How to share and utilise expertise in a police forensic department through
           externalisation and mutualisation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 26 December 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Emmanuelle Erne, Mauro Cherubini, Olivier DelémontAbstractThe technique of fire investigation is a forensic domain in which expertise and analogies play a central role. To learn how fire investigators use these analogies to support their work, we conducted an ethnographic study in a Swiss forensic police department. To propose a suitable knowledge-management strategy, we also evaluated the knowledge conservation and sharing within the department. Our results highlighted that actionable knowledge is registered mainly in the investigators’ memories of a few, very experienced, individuals. Without experience with fire-incident investigations, an agent generally requires help from a more experienced colleague, who will then use his memory to find a similar case, which can contribute to the solution of the ongoing one. The research also established that knowledge is exchanged orally during on-site investigations and that knowledge receivers are generally those who are present on the scene. Using these findings, we suggest building a case library to support the externalisation and sharing of knowledge.
  • Evaluation of 19 short tandem repeat markers for individualization of
           Papaver somniferum
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 December 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Blake Young, Madeline G. Roman, Bobby LaRue, David Gangitano, Rachel HoustonAbstractPapaver somniferum, commonly known as opium poppy, is the source of natural opiates, which are used as analgesics or as precursors in the creation of semi-synthetic opioids such as heroin. An increase in opioid addiction in the United States has resulted in high rates of illicit opioid use and overdoses. It has recently been shown that P. somniferum DNA suitable for genetic analysis can be recovered from heroin samples. The development of a comprehensive genetic individualization tool for opium poppy could serve to link cases and strengthen programs such as the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Heroin Signature Program, which seeks to combat rising opioid use.The purpose of this study was to develop a quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) method for the quantification of opium poppy DNA, compare three commercial DNA extraction kits for their ability to isolate DNA from poppy seeds, and evaluate nineteen opium poppy short tandem repeat (STR) markers for their use in a forensic identification panel. Such a panel could be used for individualizing samples and determining the geographic origin in heroin or poppy seed tea cases. The qPCR method was proven to be reproducible and reliable, specific for P. somniferum, and sensitive enough for forensic case-type samples. Of the three kits tested, the nexttec™ one-step DNA Isolation Kit for Plants was the optimal method and facilitated rapid extraction of DNA from poppy seeds. The majority of evaluated STR primer sets were unreliable or had low discriminatory power, limiting their use for individualization of poppy samples. A six-locus STR multiplex was developed and evaluated according to Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) and International Society of Forensic Genetics (ISFG) guidelines, including the use of a sequenced allelic ladder. The multiplex was found to have low discriminatory power, with greater than two-thirds of samples analyzed having just two different genotypes. The multiplex was determined to be unsuitable for individualization; however, a genotype map was developed as a proof of concept that these markers may be useful for determining the biogeographical origin of samples. Searching the poppy genome for new STR markers and developing new primer sets may be necessary for the creation of a powerful genetic tool for the individualization of P. somniferum.
  • Molecular identification of forensically important fly species in Spain
           using COI barcodes
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 December 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Alberto Fuentes-López, Carlos Ruiz, José Galián, Elena RomeraAbstractSpecies identification with DNA barcodes has been proven to be effective on different organisms and, particularly, has become a routinely used and quite accurate tool in forensic entomology to study necrophagous Diptera species. In this study, we analysed 215 specimens belonging to 42 species of 17 genera, from 9 different Diptera families. Flies were collected in 39 Spanish localities of the Iberian Peninsula sampled across three years in the four seasons. Intraspecific variation ranged from 0 to 2.46% whereas interspecific variation fluctuated from 3.07 to 14.59%, measuring 651 pb of the cytochrome oxidase subunit one (COI) gene. Neighbour-Joining analysis was carried out to investigate the molecular identification capabilities of the barcoding region, recovering almost all species as distinct monophyletic groups. The species groupings were generally consistent with morphological and molecular identifications. This work, which is the first with this intensive and extensive sampling in this area, shows that the COI barcode is an appropriate marker for unambiguous identification of forensically important Diptera in Spain.
  • A survey of bacteria associated with various life stages of primary
           colonizers: Lucilia sericata and Phormia regina
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 December 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Denise Wohlfahrt, M. Shane Woolf, Baneshwar SinghAbstractBlow flies are common primary colonizers of carrion, play an important role in the transfer of microbes between environments, and serve as a vector for many human pathogens. While some investigation has begun regarding the bacteria associated with different life stages of blow flies, a well replicated study is currently not available for the majority of blow flies. This study investigated bacteria associated with successive life stages of blow fly species Lucilia sericata and Phormia regina. A total of 38 samples were collected from four true replicates of L. sericata and P. regina. Variable region four (V4) of 16S ribosomal DNA (16S rDNA) was amplified and sequenced on MiSeq FGx sequencing platform using universal 16S rDNA primers and dual-index sequencing strategy. Bacterial communities associated with different life stages of L. sericata and P. regina didn't differ significantly from each other. In both blow fly species, Bacilli (e.g., Lactococcus) and Gammaproteobacteria (e.g., Providencia) constituted>95% of all bacterial classes across all life stages. At the genus level, Vagococcus and Leuconostoc were present at relatively high abundances in L. sericata whereas Yersinia and Proteus were present at comparatively high abundances in P. regina. Overall, information on bacterial structures associated with various life stages of blow flies can help scientists in better understanding or management of vector-borne pathogen dispersal and in increasing the accuracy of microbial evidence based postmortem interval (PMI) prediction models.
  • Two-dimensional metric comparisons between dynamic bare footprints and
           insole foot impressions-forensic implications
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 December 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Michael S. Nirenberg, Elizabeth Ansert, Kewal Krishan, Tanuj KanchanAbstractFootwear may be found at crime scenes as physical evidence. Such footwear often has impression features of the wearer’s foot on the insole of the shoe. Scientific research and literature have established that footprints are distinct. This study compares two-dimensional measurements on bare footprints to foot impressions on insoles to determine if significant differences or similarities exist. Dynamic footprints were collected from 51 donors using the Identicator® Inkless Shoe Print Model LE 25P system. Seven foot length and width measurements were taken based on the Reel linear measurement method. Footprint measurements between bare footprints and foot impressions on the insoles were compared. Only two differences (p > 0.05) were observed between the various bare footprint and insole foot impression measurements on the right and left side for most of the measurements, CALC (p 
  • Analyzing degraded DNA and challenging samples using the ForenSeq™
           DNA Signature Prep Kit
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 November 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Vishakha Sharma, Diana A. van der Plaat, Yuexun Liu, Elisa WurmbachAbstractTyping short tandem repeats (STRs) is the basis for human identification in current forensic testing. The standard method uses capillary electrophoresis (CE) to separate amplicons by length and fluorescent labeling. In recent years new methods, including massively parallel sequencing (MPS), have been developed which increased the discriminative power of STRs through sequencing. MPS also offers the opportunity to test more genetic markers in a run than is possible with standard CE technology. Verogen’s ForenSeq™ DNA Signature Prep kit includes over 150 genetic markers [STRs and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)]. Further, MPS separation depends on sequences rather than lengths; therefore, amplicons can be small or even of the same lengths. These improvements are advantageous when testing challenging forensic samples that could be severely degraded.This study tested the ForenSeq™ DNA Signature Prep kit in repeated experimental runs on series of degraded DNA samples, ranging from mild to severe degradation, as well as 24 mock case-type samples, derived from bones, blood cards, and teeth. Despite passing the quality metrics, positive controls (2800M) showed drop-outs at some loci, mostly SNPs. Sequencing DNA samples repeatedly in two experimental runs as well as sequencing one pooled library in triplicate led to the assumption that spurious alleles of the Y-STRs in this study were not a result of sequencing artifacts but could be due to sequence structures (e.g. duplications, palindromes) of the Y-chromosome and/or might be accumulated during library preparation.Two sets of serially degraded DNA samples revealed that dropped-out loci were primarily loci with long amplicons as well as low read numbers (coverage), e.g. PentaE, DXS8378, and rs1736442. STRs started to drop out at degradation indices (DIs)>4. However, severely degraded DNA (DI: 44) still resulted in 90% of the 20 CODIS loci, while only 35% were obtained using Promega’s PowerPlex® Fusion kit, a current standard CE kit. Mock case-type samples confirmed these results. ForenSeq™ DNA Signature Prep kit demonstrated that it can be successfully used on degraded DNA samples. This study may be helpful for other laboratories assessing and validating MPS technologies.
  • How Do Latent Print Examiners Perceive Proficiency Testing' An
           Analysis of Examiner Perceptions, Performance, and Print Quality
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 November 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Sharon Kelley, Brett O. Gardner, Daniel C. Murrie, Karen D. H. Pan, Karen KafadarAbstractProficiency testing has the potential to serve several important purposes for crime laboratories and forensic science disciplines. Scholars and other stakeholders, however, have criticized standard proficiency testing procedures since their implementation in laboratories across the United States. Specifically, many experts label current proficiency tests as non-representative of actual casework, at least in part because they are not sufficiently challenging (e.g., [10], [12], [15], [21]. In the current study, we surveyed latent print examiners (n = 322) after they completed a Collaborative Testing Services proficiency test about their perceptions of test items. We also evaluated respondents’ test performance and used a quality metric algorithm (LQMetrics) to obtain objective indicators of print quality on the test. Results were generally consistent with experts’ concerns about proficiency testing. The low observed error rate, examiner perceptions of relative ease, and high objective print quality metrics together suggest that latent print proficiency testing is not especially challenging. Further, examiners indicated that the test items that most closely resembled real-world casework were also the most difficult and contained prints of the lowest quality. Study findings suggest that including prints of lower quality may increase both the difficulty and representativeness of proficiency testing in latent print examination.
  • Human Olfactory Detection of Packaged Cannabis
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 November 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Avery N. Gilbert, Joseph A. DiVerdiAbstractOlfactory detection of cannabis aroma by police officers can be the basis for warrantless searches of motor vehicles in many jurisdictions in the United States. The odor source is these cases is often dried cannabis flower contained in various casual wrappings as well as in more elaborate packaging. Here we investigate whether packaging format alters the detectability of the cannabis. Two cannabis strains and five packaging formats were evaluated. Untrained observers were presented with two containers and asked to identify, based only on smell, the container that held a sample of packaged cannabis (the other container held identical, but empty, packaging material). The results showed that open and casually packaged cannabis was identified with high accuracy, while material packaged in doubly vacuum-sealed plastic was correctly identified at rates no different from chance. The results may help address issues involving the detectability of cannabis aroma in law enforcement and other scenarios.
  • The optimisation of fingermark enhancement by VMD and Lumicyano™ on
           thermal paper
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Paul B. Sherriffs, Kevin J. Farrugia, Joanna M. Fraser, Benjamin J. JonesAbstractThe enhancement of fingermarks on thermal paper can be challenging due to background staining caused by polar solvents used in fingermark enhancement techniques such as ninhydrin. This study explored a commercial one-step superglue fuming process, Lumicyano™, and Vacuum Metal Deposition (VMD) to develop fingermarks on this substrate and overcome this issue. Different sequential treatments involving Lumicyano™ and a combination of VMD methods were investigated with varying degrees of success with some sequences being highly sensitive. The VMD processes, however, were observed to generally be more effective at enhancing marks, whereas Lumicyano™ provided little or no benefit on this paper type. The results indicate that Lumicyano™ is only beneficial as a pre-treatment when the entire sequence of gold/zinc and silver/zinc is taken to completion. The gold/zinc and silver/zinc VMD processes were optimised on five different thermal papers, and the optimised techniques were then directly compared to determine which was more successful on each thermal paper type as a single treatment.
  • Geomatic Techniques in Forensic Science: A Review
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Victoria Berezowski, Xanthé Mallett, Ian MoffatAbstractThe purpose of this review paper is to highlight various geomatic techniques that crime scene reconstructionists or forensic practitioners can use to document different kinds of scenes, highlighting the advantages, disadvantages, and when best to use each technology. This paper explores geomatic techniques such as a total station, photogrammetry, laser scanners and structured light scanners and how they can be used to reconstruct crime scenes. The goal of this paper is not to discredit manual methods, as they are long standing and reliable, but instead to shed light on alternative methods that may produce equally or more accurate results with a more visually appealing final product. It is important for law enforcement and forensic professionals to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each technique, knowing when certain techniques should be used (and when they should not), and being able to revert to traditional methods if required.
  • Establishing phone-pair co-usage by comparing mobility patterns
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Wauter Bosma, Sander Dalm, Erwin van Eijk, Rachid el Harchaoui, Edwin Rijgersberg, Hannah Tereza Tops, Alle Veenstra, Rolf YpmaAbstractIn forensic investigations it is often of value to establish whether two phones were used by the same person during a given time period. We present a method that uses time and location of cell tower registrations of mobile phones to assess the strength of evidence that any pair of phones were used by the same person. The method is transparant as it uses logistic regression to discriminate between the hypotheses of same and different user, and a standard kernel density estimation to quantify the weight of evidence in terms of a likelihood ratio. We further add to previous theoretical work by training and validating our method on real world data, paving the way for application in practice. The method shows good performance under different modelling choices and robustness under lower quantity or quality of data. We discuss practical usage in court.
  • Communicating forensic scientific expertise: An analysis of expert reports
           and corresponding testimony in Tasmanian courts
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Carmen A. Reid, Loene M. HowesAbstractForensic criminology examines the use of forensic science in society. Justice can be hampered, for example, if the communication of forensic scientific findings is unclear or misleading, even if unintentionally. Although various recommendations guide the communication of forensic science, it is unclear whether they are reflected in practice. This study explored the communication of forensic biology in 10 cases of major crimes against the person heard in the Tasmanian Supreme Court, where the standard practice is to issue brief summary reports in the first instance. The content of expert reports and corresponding testimony was analysed to determine its adherence to recommendations outlined in standards, practice notes, and research. While reports were found to be very brief, testimony elaborated on all major elements. Mostly elicited by the prosecution, some elements were volunteered by expert witnesses, or raised by defence. Overall, expert evidence in courts—but not reports (due to the use of brief summary reports)—largely adhered to recommendations. Further research is needed to determine the prevalence and effectiveness of alternative approaches to communication that were identified in certain cases.
  • Estimating the quantity of transferred DNA in primary and secondary
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Lydie Samie, Franco Taroni, Christophe Champod
  • Prevalence of organic gunshot residues in police vehicles
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Anne-Laure Gassner, Céline WeyermannAbstractThe present study investigated the organic gunshot residue (OGSR) background level of police vehicles in Switzerland. Specimens from 64 vehicles belonging to two regional police services were collected and analysed by LC-MS in positive mode. The driver’s and back seats were sampled separately to monitor potential differences between locations and to assess the risks of a suspect being contaminated by OGSR during transportation to a police station.The results showed that most of the 64 vehicles were uncontaminated (44 driver’s seats and 38 back seats respectively). Up to six of the seven targeted compounds were detected in a single sample, once on a driver’s seat and twice on back seats. The contamination frequency generally decreased as the number of compounds detected together increased. The amounts detected were in the low ng range and less than amounts generally detected just after discharge on a shooter. Our data indicated that detecting a combination of four or more compounds on a police vehicle seat appears to be a relatively rare occurrence. The background contamination observed was most probably due to secondary transfer from police officers (e.g. through recent participation in a shooting session or firearm manipulation) or from firearms stored in the vehicles. The present results might be used as a recommendation to minimize contact of a suspect with contaminated surfaces if OGSR is implemented in routine work in parallel to IGSR analysis.
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