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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  [3184 journals]
  • Combining evidence in complex cases - a practical approach to
           interdisciplinary casework
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 September 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Jan A. de Koeijer, Marjan J. Sjerps, Peter Vergeer, Charles E.H. Berger Activity level evaluations, although still a major challenge for many disciplines, bring a wealth of possibilities for a more formal approach to the evaluation of interdisciplinary forensic evidence. This paper proposes a practical methodology for combining evidence from different disciplines within the likelihood ratio framework. Evidence schemes introduced in this paper make the process of combining evidence more insightful and intuitive thereby assisting experts in their interdisciplinairy evaluation and in explaining this process to the courts.When confronted with two opposing scenarios and multiple types of evidence, the likelihood ratio approach allows experts to combine this evidence in a probabilistic manner. Parts of the prosecution and defence scenarios for which forensic science is expected to be informative are identified. For these so called core elements, activity level propositions are formulated. Afterwards evidence schemes are introduced to assist the expert in combining the evidence in a logical manner. Two types of evidence relations are identified: serial and parallel evidence. Practical guidelines are given on how to deal with both types of evidence relations when combining the evidence.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
       
  • A cultural change to enable improved decision-making in forensic science:
           A six phased approach
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 August 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Helen Earwaker, Sherry Nakhaeizadeh, Nadine M. Smit, Ruth M. Morgan There has been an increased engagement by researchers in understanding the decision-making processes that occur within forensic science. There is a rapidly growing evidence base underpinning our understanding of decision-making and human factors and this body of work is the foundation for achieving truly improved decision-making in forensic science. Such an endeavour is necessary to minimise the misinterpretation of scientific evidence and maximize the effectiveness of crime reconstruction approaches and their application within the criminal justice system. This paper proposes and outlines a novel six phased approach for how a broadening and deepening knowledge of decision-making in forensic science can be articulated and incorporated into the spheres of research, practice, education, and policy making within forensic science specifically, and the criminal justice system more generally. Phases 1 and 2 set out the importance of systematic examination of the decisions which play a role throughout forensic reconstruction and legal processes. Phase 3 focuses on how these decisions can, and should, be studied to understand the underlying mechanisms and contribute to reducing the occurrence of misleading decisions. Phase 4 highlights the ways in which the results and implications of this research should be communicated to the forensic community and wider criminal justice system. Lastly, the way in which the forensic science domain can move forwards in managing the challenges of human decision-making and create and embed a culture of acceptance and transparency in research, practice and education (learning and training) are presented in phases 5 and 6. A consideration of all 6 connected phases offers a pathway for a holistic approach to improving the transparency and reproducibility of decision making within forensic science.
       
  • BM2: Council Information
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 5Author(s):
       
  • Prelim 3: Contents
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 5Author(s):
       
  • IFC: Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 5Author(s):
       
  • BM1: Events Guide
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 5Author(s):
       
  • Development of a specific fragmentation pattern-based
           quadrupole-Orbitrap™ mass spectrometry method to screen drugs in illicit
           products
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 August 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ji Hyun Lee, Han Na Park, Nam Sook Kim, Seongsoo Park, Yong-Moon Lee, Hoil Kang Over the past decade, illicit drugs have been founded in marketed products, which pose a risk to public health. In particular, newly designed analogues synthesized by chemical modification of parent compounds to avoid detection by authorities are frequently detected worldwide. Although many analytical methods for determination of drugs have been reported, analytical methods using high-resolution mass spectrometry, which has the advantage of rapid screening and accurate identification of new substances, are necessary to control illicit drugs in marketed products. In this study, a rapid analytical method using an Orbitrap™ mass spectrometer for identification of illicit drugs in marketed products was developed. The 32 drugs were classified as benzodiazepine-, synthetic cannabinoid-, amphetamine- and benzylpiperazine-type drugs according to their chemical structures, and from their fragmentation patterns in tandem mass spectrometry spectra of an established method. The method validation gave a limit of detection of 0.06–5.30 ng/mL and a limit of quantification of 0.18–16.50 ng/mL, high linearity (R2 > 0.994) and mean recoveries of spiked matrix-blank samples ranging from 83.7% to 117.1%. Approximately 71% of 21 samples collected over 3 years were found to individually contain one of four types of benzodiazepines or two different synthetic cannabinoids. In one case, levels as high as 827.2 mg/g were measured suggesting adulteration at high levels, which suggests that potential illicit products containing drugs should be regularly screened to protect public health.
       
  • The value of eye-tracking technology in the analysis and interpretations
           of skeletal remains: A pilot study
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 August 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Sherry Nakhaeizadeh, Ruth M. Morgan, Viktor Olsson, Martin Arvidsson, Tim Thompson This initial study is the first to use eye-trackers as a tool in order to study gaze pattern strategies and decision making processes involved in the assessment of skeletal remains. Three experienced participants were asked to wear eye-tracking glasses (Tobii Pro Glasses 2) when estimating sex and age-at-death of one set of skeletal remains from a known archeological sample. The study assessed participants' fixation points (the features of the skeleton focused on), fixation duration (the total time spent on each assessment and feature) as well as visit count and duration (the total number of visits and the duration of visits to particular areas). The preliminary results of this study identified differences in gaze “strategies” with regards to fixation points, visit duration, and visit counts between the participants. The data generated provide a starting point for assessing how such technologies could be used in order to more fully understand the decision making processes involved in forensic anthropological interpretations and their role in forensic reconstructions.
       
  • Rapid and non-destructive identification of claws using ATR-FTIR
           spectroscopy–A novel approach in wildlife forensics
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 August 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Chandra Prakash Sharma, Sweety Sharma, Vishal Sharma, Rajinder SinghGraphical abstractUnlabelled Image
       
  • Evaluation of a Hot Print System for the development of latent fingermarks
           on thermal paper: A pseudo-operational trial
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 August 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Kiera Robb, Paul Deacon, Laura Fordyce, Rebecca Fennessy, Kevin Farrugia Enhancement of latent fingermarks on thermal paper poses a number of problems when using traditional methods used for porous substrates due to blackening of the thermal layer as a result of polar solvents present within the reagents and high temperatures oxidising the acid/dye complex. Thus, methods which prevent such reactions are favoured for the development of latent prints on said substrates. A comparative pseudo-operational trial using UV, Hot Print System (HPS), ninhydrin and ThermaNIN was performed on 1000 thermal paper substrates gathered from various sources. The results indicated that the most effective method was an acetone pre-wash followed by ninhydrin. The sequence of HPS-ninhydrin was similarly effective when compared to ninhydrin as a sole technique. ThermaNIN produced fewer marks than ninhydrin but was superior to HPS. Whilst the HPS developed some fingermarks, there was only a very small number of marks uniquely developed by it.
       
  • Identification of some factors influencing soil transfer on shoes
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 July 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Denis Werner, Céline Burnier, Yingchao Yu, André R. Marolf, Yuanfeng Wang, Geneviève Massonnet In criminal activities, soil can be transferred from a crime scene to items linked with a perpetrator; for example, shoes, cars or tools. Several parameters will influence the quantity of soil transferred in a given scenario. The knowledge of the most influential factors can help the expert to assess the evidence using a logical approach at the activity level or to predict the amount of soil that can be expected in a given scenario. The influence of five chosen parameters, namely the shoe profile, shoe size, walker's weight, soil type and soil humidity were assessed using Design of Experiment (DOE) in order to understand their influence on soil quantity transferred on shoes.The Faced Central Composite Design (FCCD) using a quadratic model was found to be highly significant, thus they could be adequately used to model and to interpret the amount of soil recovered from one shoe.These designs demonstrate that the characteristics of the donor (soil type and soil humidity), as well as a combination of these two factors have a very significant impact on the soil transfer. The characteristics of the receptor (shoe profile, shoe size and walker's weight) also have an impact on the transfer but to a lesser extent.Globally, this research provides valuable information for the forensic scientist both in investigative mode: evaluation of the soil quantity possibly transferred on shoes, and in the evaluative steps: is the quantity of soil found on the suspect shoes in accordance to the proposition/scenario given by the prosecution and the defence'
       
  • Potential of soil organic matter molecular chemistry determined by
           pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry for forensic investigations
           
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 July 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Josiane M.L. Mazzetto, Vander Freitas Melo, Eloana Janice Bonfleur, Pablo Vidal-Torrado, Jeferson Dieckow Wetlands near urban centers may be more isolated areas and can be chosen for the disposal of bodies or used as a crime scene. The predominant soils in these areas usually have a high content of organic matter (OM), classified as Histosols. Soil organic matter (SOM) is composed of many different compounds that can be identified by pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS). The study aimed to use Py-GC/MS to classify small amounts of organic soil in a forensic context. We sampled Histosols from five representative sites of Curitiba, Brazil. The molecular composition of the samples was determined by byPy-GC/MS. The factor analysis was carried out, and the factor scores showed a clear differentiation between the sites. Compounds indicative of relatively fresh plant material was separated from more recalcitrant and charred material. Py-GC/MS has the potential to be a useful tool to study the composition of SOM in Histosols to track the trace sample collected from a crime suspect.
       
  • A method for calculating the strength of evidence associated with an
           earwitness's claimed recognition of a familiar speaker
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 July 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Claudia Rosas, Jorge Sommerhoff, Geoffrey Stewart Morrison The present paper proposes and demonstrates a method for assessing strength of evidence when an earwitness claims to recognize the voice of a speaker who is familiar to them. The method calculates a Bayes factor that answers the question: What is the probability that the earwitness would claim to recognize the offender as the suspect if the offender was the suspect versus what is the probability that the earwitness would claim to recognize the offender as the suspect if the offender was not the suspect but some other speaker from the relevant population' By “claim” we mean a claim made by a cooperative earwitness not a claim made by an earwitness who is intentionally deceptive. Relevant data are derived from naïve listeners' responses to recordings of familiar speakers presented in a speaker lineup. The method is demonstrated under recording conditions that broadly reflect those of a real case.
       
  • Cross disciplinary collaboration in the current market place
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 July 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ross Donnelly
       
  • A comparative evaluation of the disulfur dinitride process for the
           visualisation of fingermarks on metal surfaces
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 July 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): S.M. Bleay, P.F. Kelly, R.S.P. King, S.G. Thorngate The disulfur dinitride process for fingermark visualisation was first reported a decade ago, with promising results obtained for a range of materials including metals. However, the friction sensitive nature of the material and difficulty of synthesis made routine use difficult. Many of these issues have since been addressed, making equipment and chemicals available to build an understanding of how the effectiveness of disulfur dinitride compares to other fingermark visualisation processes currently used on metal surfaces. This enables more informed advice to be given on selection of processes for treatment of metal items, an area of operational interest that encompasses weapons used in violent crime and the increasing incidence in metal theft. This paper reports a comparative study into the effectiveness of disulfur dinitride, cyanoacrylate fuming, vacuum metal deposition, gun blueing and wet powder suspensions on brass, bronze, copper and stainless steel. Experiments were conducted with the surfaces exposed to a range of environments including long term ageing, water/detergent washing, acetone washing and high temperature exposure. The results indicate that disulfur dinitride is an effective process for fingermark visualisation on metal surfaces, including those exposed to adverse environments, and may offer potential improvements over existing processes for those surfaces. Further work, including pseudo-operational trials, is recommended.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
       
  • Prelim 3: Contents
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 4Author(s):
       
  • BM2: Council Information
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 4Author(s):
       
  • IFC: Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 4Author(s):
       
  • BM1: Events Guide
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 4Author(s):
       
  • Scientific integrity in the forensic sciences: Consumerism, conflicts of
           interest, and transparency
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 25 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Nicholas V. Passalacqua, Marin A. Pilloud, William R. Belcher The goal of this paper is to discuss scientific integrity, consumerism, conflicts of interest, and transparency within the context of forensic science. Forensic scientists play crucial roles within the legal system and are constantly under various pressures when performing analytical work, generating reports based on their analyses, or testifying to the content of these reports. Maintaining the scientific integrity of these actions is paramount to supporting a functional legal system and the practice of good science. Our goal is to discuss the importance of scientific integrity as well as the factors it may compromise, so that forensic practitioners may be better equipped to recognize and avoid conflicts of interest when they arise. In this discussion we define terms, concepts, and professional relationships as well as present three case studies to contextualize these ideas.
       
  • Preparation and characterization of micro-bore wall-coated open-tubular
           capillaries with low phase ratios for fast-gas chromatography–mass
           spectrometry: Application to ignitable liquids and fire debris
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Zackery R. Roberson, John V. Goodpaster Fast Gas Chromatography (GC) allows for analysis times that are a fraction of those seen in traditional capillary GC. Key modifications in fast GC include using narrow, highly efficient columns that can resolve mixtures using a shorter column length. Hence, a typical fast GC column has an inner diameter of 100–180 μm. However, to maintain phase ratios that are consistent with typical GC columns, the film thickness of fast GC stationary phases are also low (e.g., 0.1–0.18 μm). Unfortunately, decreased film thickness leads to columns with very low sample capacity and asymmetric peaks for analytes that are not sufficiently dilute. This paper describes micro-bore (50 μm i.d.) capillary columns with thick films (1.25 μm), and low phase ratios (10). These columns have greater sample capacity yet also achieve minimum plate heights as low as 110 μm. Hence, separation efficiency is much higher than would be obtained using standard GC columns. The capillary columns were prepared in-house using a simple static-coating procedure and their plate counts were determined under isothermal conditions. The columns were then evaluated using temperature programming for fast GC–MS analysis of ignitable liquids and their residues on fire debris exemplars. Temperature ramps of up to 75 °C min−1 could be used and separations of ignitable liquids such as gasoline, E85 fuel, and lighter fluid (a medium petroleum distillate) were complete within 3 min. Lastly, simulated fire debris consisting of ignitable liquids burned on carpeting were extracted using passive headspace absorption-elution and the residues successfully classified.
       
  • Cell site analysis: Roles and interpretation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Matt Tart, Sue Pope, David Baldwin, Robert Bird
       
  • Collection and direct amplification methods using the GlobalFiler™ kit
           for DNA recovered from common pipe bomb substrates
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Esiri Tasker, Carrie Mayes, Bobby LaRue, Sheree Hughes-Stamm When analyzing DNA from exploded pipe bombs, quantities are often in trace amounts, making DNA typing extremely difficult. Amplifying minute amounts of DNA can cause stochastic effects resulting in partial or uninterpretable profiles. Therefore, the initial DNA collection from “touch” evidence must be optimized to maximize the amount of DNA available for analysis.This proof-of-concept study evaluated two different swab types with two direct amplification strategies to identify the most effective method for recovering DNA from common pipe bomb substrates. PVC and steel pipes, electrical tape, and copper wire spiked with epithelial cells were swabbed with cotton or microFLOQ® Direct Swabs and amplified directly or via a pre-treatment prior to STR amplification.Not only was the microFLOQ® Direct Swab protocol the quickest method with the least risk of contamination, but in combination with direct amplification, the microFLOQ® Direct Swabs also generated the most complete STR profiles.
       
  • DNA characterization from gut content of larvae of Megaselia
           scalaris
    (Diptera, Phoridae)
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Subham Mukherjee, Prashasti Singh, Fabiola Tuccia, Jennifer Pradelli, Giorgia Giordani, Stefano Vanin
       
  • Evaluation of the one-step Lumicyano™ used in the visualisation of
           fingermarks on fabrics
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Nicole Beerman, Anne Savage, Lynn Dennany, Joanna Fraser This study consisted of three parts to evaluate the performance of Lumicyano™ on a variety of fabrics. One part assessed the impact of dye percentage (8%, 9% and 10%) on visualisation of fingermark detail and luminescent brightness in split grab marks. A 9% dye produced the highest quality detail of grab impressions with least interference from background fluorescence. The second part investigated the optimal relative humidity (RH, 75–84%) for certain fabric types using Lumicyano on split, six-series depletion fingermarks. It was concluded that the recommended RH of 80% remained the ideal cyanoacrylate fuming environment. The final and third part of this study determined the impact of sequential addition of Basic Yellow 40 (BY40) on Lumicyano compared to traditional cyanoacrylate (CA) followed with BY40 application. Results from this study demonstrated that Lumicyano on its own developed fingermarks with superior quality to Lumicyano with sequential addition of BY40 or traditional cyanoacrylate followed by BY40. Inclusion of more fabrics, donors and longer ageing periods should be explored in future studies to determine what frameworks are best for certain types of fabrics.
       
  • Can analysis of a small clod of soil help to solve a murder case'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Vander Freitas Melo, Samara Alves Testoni, Lorna Dawson, Alexandre Guilherme de Lara, Fábio Augusto da Silva Salvador Soil forensics utilizes extensive soil information to answer legal questions and test hypotheses. The main difficulty often is the determination of different variables from a small amount of soil sample collected on the suspect. We developed a sequential mineralogical and chemical analyses to assess a limited quantity of soil vestiges (0.5 g) from a suspect's vehicle (adhered to the outside rear-view mirror and to the left front fender) involved in a murder case and compared them with the surface samples found at the victim's body disposal site at the Graciosa Road, Paraná State, Brazil. All results affirm that the suspect’s vehicle could have been in contact with the edge of the Graciosa Road, approximately the place where the victim’s body was located. As a result of the soil analysis and comparison, the results support the likely contact of the suspect’s vehicle with the crime scene.
       
  • The social life of forensic evidence and the epistemic sub-cultures in an
           inquisitorial justice system: Analysis of Saltão case
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Susana Costa
       
  • When finding nothing may be evidence of something: Anti-forensic and
           digital tool marks
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Graeme Horsman, David Errickson There are an abundance of measures available to the standard digital device users which provide the opportunity to act in an anti-forensic manner and conceal any potential digital evidence denoting a criminal act. Whilst there is a lack of empirical evidence which evaluates the scale of this threat to digital forensic investigations leaving the true extent of engagement with such tools unknown, arguably the field should take proactive steps to examine and record the capabilities of these measures. Whilst forensic science has long accepted the concept of toolmark analysis as part of criminal investigations, ‘digital tool marks’ (DTMs) are a notion rarely acknowledged and considered in digital investigations. DTMs are the traces left behind by a tool or process on a suspect system which can help to determine what malicious behaviour has occurred on a device. This article discusses and champions the need for DTM research in digital forensics highlighting the benefits of doing so.
       
  • Development of discriminant functions to estimate sex in upper limb bones
           for mixed ancestry South Africans
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Palesa Mokoena, Brendon K. Billings, Victoria Gibbon, Mubarak A. Bidmos, Pedzisai Mazengenya South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world, which is associated with an increasing number of unidentified individuals. Forensic anthropologists can assist in these cases to reduce the number of potential victims the remains may belong to. Sex estimation potentially decreases the number of possible victims by half. The mixed ancestry population in South Africa is the second largest group of people; however, there remains a paucity of data and population-specific methods for sex estimation in this group. The aim of this study was to assess the potential for metrices obtained around the nutrient foramen and the maximum length of upper limb long bones to estimate sex in mixed ancestry South Africans using discriminant function analysis. A total of 328 humeri, radii and ulnae from individuals of mixed ancestry were analysed. Sex was correctly classified with an average classification accuracy of 84.3% in the humeri, 88.3% for radii and 83.5% for the ulnae. Total length was the single best predictor of sex; the combination of total length with dimensions related to the nutrient foramen produced high classification accuracies in the current study. Overall, sexual dimorphism was observed in mixed ancestry South Africans upper limb long bones. The findings of this study further emphasise the need for population-specific standards of sexing in an attempt to improve current methods of forensic identification of descendants.
       
  • Assessment of the Yfiler® Plus PCR amplification kit for the detection of
           male DNA in semen-negative sexual assault cases
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 May 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Julianne Henry, Lenara Scandrett The ability to detect male epithelial cells deposited during digital penetration or penile penetration without ejaculation is limited by the sensitivity of the Y-STR profiling kit. In this study, the relative profiling success of the Thermofisher Yfiler® Plus kit was compared to its predecessor, AmpFlSTR Yfiler®, for 104 semen-negative sexual assault samples from casework at Forensic Science SA, Adelaide, South Australia. Yfiler Plus generated allele information in 25% more samples than Yfiler and gave a higher recovery of informative alleles in all but two samples where detectable male DNA was present. Where a profile was obtained in both kits, 92% of samples gave a higher percentage of informative loci with Yfiler Plus compared to Yfiler. Yfiler Plus also resolved DNA mixtures in 15 samples as compared to 1 sample with Yfiler. Detection of male DNA with the Quantifiler™ Trio DNA Quantification kit was shown to correlate with a successful profiling outcome with Yfiler Plus. The success of profiling with Yfiler Plus was independent of the time elapsed between the alleged offence and the sample being collected, the type of sexual penetration which occurred, and the anatomical origin of the sample.
       
  • A risk-based approach to cognitive bias in forensic science
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Andrew Camilleri, Damien Abarno, Carolyne Bird, Anne Coxon, Natasha Mitchell, Kahlee Redman, Nicol Sly, Stephen Wills, Edmund Silenieks, Ellie Simpson, Heather Lindsay Over the past decade, the potential impact of cognitive bias in forensic science has instigated much discussion and debate between academics, scientists and those in the justice sector. Evidence of bias influencing subjective decision-making across a range of forensic disciplines has been described in the literature. Forensic service organisations are being urged to address cognitive bias in subjective decision-making by designing processes or procedures to limit access to (irrelevant) contextual information or reduce dependence on cognitive functions. Although some laboratories have implemented bias mitigating strategies, with varying impact on operational efficiency, there has been no systematic assessment of the risk posed by cognitive bias. Forensic Science SA assessed the potential impact of bias on forensic interpretations across multiple disciplines, using a risk management framework. This process proved useful in assessing the effectiveness of existing bias mitigating strategies and identified the latent level of risk posed. While all forensic organisations should seek to implement bias limiting measures that are simple, cost-effective and do not adversely impact efficiency, using a risk-based approach has contextualised the limited benefit of introducing resource hungry measures, as postulated in the literature. That is not to suggest that forensic organisations should dismiss the potential influence of cognitive bias but they need to strike an appropriate balance between risk and return, as they do with any business risk.
       
  • Management of crime scene units by Quebec police senior managers: Insight
           on forensic knowledge and understanding of key stakeholders
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Vincent Mousseau, Simon Baechler, Frank Crispino What do policing leaders think and know of forensic science' Beyond crime scene investigators or detectives, how do police senior managers perceive the role, utility and limitations of forensic science' Very few empirical studies have addressed the issue. Forensic scientsts should be concerned about the perception that law enforcement senior managers have of their discipline for two reasons. First, strategic and financial decision-makers are obviously key players in the overall administration and provision of forensic science, either as a supervisor, money provider or as a customer. Second, literature has highlighted that other actors involved in forensic science underestimate the scope and possibilities offered by forensic science, hence limiting its exploitation and potential. Following interviews with 18 police senior managers from Quebec (Canada), this study shows that they generally restrict forensic science to a reactive discipline whose role and utility is to identify offenders and support the Court. This understanding of forensic science, like that of many others including a significant share of forensic scientists, differs from the perception of other police activities in modern law enforcement agencies where proactive action is sought. Considering these findings and the growing body of literature which calls for forensic science to connect more tightly with policing and security, we advocate a more extensive education of police leaders regarding the scope of forensic science.
       
  • Investigating the effect photodegradation has on natural fibres at a
           microscopic level
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Roslyn DeBattista, Helen Tidy, Matthew Clark It is a known fact that when fabric is left exposed to sunlight photodegradation occurs. However, no study has ever looked at the photodegradation that occurs to individual fibre filaments as commonly recovered from a scene of crime. To look at photodegradation of individual fibres, wool and cotton fabric were dyed using CI Acid Red 27 and CI Direct Red 80 respectively at two depths of shade, 0.25% and 2.0% owf. Pieces of fabric and individual fibre samples were then placed in a Light Fastness Q-Sun 1000 Xenon test chamber which simulated exposure to sunlight over two time periods, 64 (equivalent to one weeks sun exposure) and 128 h (equivalent to two weeks sun exposure). The resulting pieces of fabric and fibres where then examined using high power comparison microscopy, as well as graded for colour fading using SDC Grey Scale for Assessing Change in Colour (including half steps). Results show that in both fibre types, photodegradation occurs in all samples, however, the degree of fading is shown to vary within a given fibre population showing it is unpredictable in nature.
       
  • The repeatability and reproducibility of the Sheffield Features of Gait
           Tool
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ivan Birch, Maria Birch, Lucy Rutler, Sarah Brown, Libertad Rodriguez Burgos, Bert Otten, Mickey Wiedemeijer Gait, the pattern or style in which locomotion is undertaken, has kinematic characteristics that may occur in varying proportions of a population and therefore have discriminatory potential. Forensic gait analysis is the analysis, comparison and evaluation of features of gait to assist the investigation of crime. While there have been recent developments in automated gait recognition systems, gait analysis presented in criminal court to assist in identification currently relies on observational analysis by expert witnesses. Observational gait analysis has been the focus of considerable research, and it has been shown that the adoption of a systematic approach to both the observation and recording of features of gait improves the reliability of the analysis. The Sheffield Features of Gait Tool was developed by forensic gait analysis practitioners based on their casework and trial experience, and consists of more than a hundred features of gait and variances. This paper reports the findings of a study undertaken to assess the repeatability and reproducibility of the Sheffield Features of Gait Tool.Fourteen participants, with experience in observational gait analysis, viewed footage of computer generated avatars walking, and completed the features of gait tool on multiple occasions. The repeatability scores varied between participants from a highest score of 42.59 out of a maximum possible score of 45 (94.65%), to a lowest score of 30.76 (68.35%), with a mean score of 35.79 (79.54%) and a standard deviation of 3.59 (7.98%). The reproducibility scores for the assessment of each avatar varied from a highest score of 137.73 out of the best possible score of 180 (76.52%), to a lowest score of 127.21 (70.67%), with a mean score of 132.21 (73.45) and a standard deviation of 3.82 (2.12%). The results demonstrated that the use of the Sheffield Features of Gait Tool by experienced analysists resulted in what could be considered to be good levels of both repeatability and reproducibility. Some variation was shown to occur both between the results produced by different analysts, and between those produced from the analysis of different avatars. An understanding of the probative value of gait analysis evidence is an important facet of its submission as evidence, and the design and testing of standardized methods of analysis and comparison are an essential element of developing that understanding. This study is the first to test a purpose designed features of gait tool for use in forensic gait analysis.
       
  • Two-dimensional linear analysis of dynamic bare footprints: A comparison
           of measurement techniques
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Michael S. Nirenberg, Elizabeth Ansert, Kewal Krishan, Tanuj Kanchan In forensic intelligence-gathering, footprints have been shown to be valued evidence found at crime scenes. Forensic podiatrists and footprint examiners use a variety of techniques for measuring footprints for comparison of the crime scene evidence with the exemplar footprints. This study examines three different techniques of obtaining two-dimensional linear measurement data of dynamic bare footprints. Dynamic bare footprints were gathered from 50 students from a podiatric medical school using the Identicator® Inkless Shoe Print Model LE 25P system. After obtaining 100 bilateral footprints from the participants, the quantitative measurement data were collected by using three different measurement techniques: (i) a manual technique using a ruler (direct technique); (ii) an Adobe® Photoshop® technique; and (iii) a GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) technique. The seven Reel linear measurement methodology was used for producing measurements using these three techniques.This study showed that all the mean bare footprint measurements on the right and left feet obtained using the direct technique were larger than those obtained using GIMP and Adobe® Photoshop® images. Differences were also observed in measurements produced using GIMP software and Photoshop images. However, the differences observed in the three techniques used for bare footprint measurements were not found to be statistically significant. The study concludes that there are no significant differences between the three measurement techniques when applied to two-dimensional bare footprints using the Reel method. It further concluded that any of these measurement techniques can be used when employing the Reel methodology for footprint analysis without significant difference.
       
  • Identification of decomposition volatile organic compounds from
           surface-deposited and submerged porcine remains
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): L. Irish, S. Rennie, G. Parkes, A. Williams Cadaver dogs are routinely used internationally by police and civilian search organisations to locate human remains on land and in water, yet little is currently known about the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released by a cadaver underwater; how this compares to those given off by a cadaver deposited on land; and ultimately, how this affects the detection of drowned victims by dogs. The aim of this study was to identify the VOCs released by whole porcine (Sus scrofa domesticus) cadavers deposited on the surface and submerged in water using solid phase microextraction gas chromatography mass spectrometry (SPME GC–MS) to ascertain if there are notable differences in decomposition odour depending on the deposition location.For the first time in the UK, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the headspace of decomposing porcine cadavers deposited in both terrestrial and water environments have been detected and identified using SPME-GCMS, including thirteen new VOCs not previously detected from porcine cadavers. Distinct differences were found between the VOCs emitted by porcine cadavers in terrestrial and water environments. In total, seventy-four VOCs were identified from a variety of different chemical classes; carboxylic acids, alcohols, aromatics, aldehydes, ketones, hydrocarbons, esters, ethers, nitrogen compounds and sulphur compounds. Only forty-one VOCs were detected in the headspace of the submerged pigs with seventy detected in the headspace of the surface-deposited pigs. These deposition-dependent differences have important implications for the training of cadaver dogs in the UK. If dog training does not account for these depositional differences, there is potential for human remains to be missed.Whilst the specific odours that elicit a trained response from cadaver dogs remain unknown, this research means that recommendations can be made for the training of cadaver dogs to incorporate different depositions, to account for odour differences and mitigate the possibility of missed human remains operationally.
       
  • Effects of peri-mortem infection on the entomofauna of decomposing buried
           human remains – a metadata analysis
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): A.E. Whittington The role of infectious disease as a cause of death is undeniable. The affect infectious disease may have on decomposition after death is less well established. Furthermore, virtually no information is available regarding the effects of burial conditions in such circumstances, despite that numerous clandestine burials occur each year. Although many aspects of post-mortem pathology are well understood and provide frequent insight in medicolegal investigation, where buried bodies are concerned, there is great variation in the decomposition processes, depending on extrinsic and intrinsic conditions.Criminal burials and hurriedly dug clandestine graves are seldom deeper than 120 cm allowing access to certain invertebrates, excluding others that only develop in unburied bodies. Numerous studies have reported on such clandestine graves with a purpose to facilitate forensic investigation, but our knowledge of decomposition in deeper graves lags behind, despite several often-cited papers of over a century ago.The poor level of detail in deep-grave knowledge is in part due to resource deficiencies and ethical considerations, but in part due to lack of thorough investigation of the data in papers of often cited prior work. To this end, a metadata analysis assessed a paper written by Dr. Murray Galt Motter in 1898, providing detail of 150 disinterment events with linked medical records from City of Washington cemeteries. This paper, written more than a hundred years ago, was largely descriptive and the detailed data provided in a summary table were never fully analysed. The paper is often quoted despite these obvious oversights. The present study revisits this work, applying a frequency statistical analysis conducted using categorical data and chi-squared analysis. This new analysis reveals patterns and relationships so long ‘locked-up’ within the body of the table and provides greater understanding of the effect of infectious disease on the abundance of species in the entomofauna associated with deeply buried remains.The data confirm that the presence of adipocere (saponification) is detrimental to development of soil entomofauna ((X2 = 6·64, df = 1, p 
       
  • Resolving the so-called “probabilistic paradoxes in legal reasoning”
           with Bayesian networks
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Jacob de Zoete, Norman Fenton, Takao Noguchi, David Lagnado Examples of reasoning problems such as the twins problem and poison paradox have been proposed by legal scholars to demonstrate the limitations of probability theory in legal reasoning. Specifically, such problems are intended to show that use of probability theory results in legal paradoxes. As such, these problems have been a powerful detriment to the use of probability theory – and particularly Bayes theorem – in the law. However, the examples only lead to ‘paradoxes’ under an artificially constrained view of probability theory and the use of the so-called likelihood ratio, in which multiple related hypotheses and pieces of evidence are squeezed into a single hypothesis variable and a single evidence variable. When the distinct relevant hypotheses and evidence are described properly in a causal model (a Bayesian network), the paradoxes vanish. In addition to the twins problem and poison paradox, we demonstrate this for the food tray example, the abuse paradox and the small town murder problem. Moreover, the resulting Bayesian networks provide a powerful framework for legal reasoning.
       
  • Development of enhanced sensitivity protocols on the RapidHIT™ 200 with
           a view to processing casework material
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): David Shackleton, Jenny Pagram, Nicolas Andrews, Simon Malsom, Lesley Ives, Des Vanhinsbergh
       
  • “The big sleep: Elucidating the sequence of events in the first hours of
           death to determine the postmortem interval”
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Paula Núñez Martínez, Sofía T. Menéndez, María de los Ángeles Villaronga, Douglas H. Ubelaker, Juana M. García-Pedrero, Sara C. Zapico Recent developments on postmortem interval estimation (PMI) take an advantage of the autolysis process, pointing out to the analysis of the expression of apoptosis and autophagy genes towards this purpose. Oxidative stress plays a role in this signaling as a regulatory mechanism and/or as a consequence of cell death. Additionally, melatonin has been implicated on apoptosis and autophagy signaling, making melatonin a suitable target for PMI determination. The aim of this study was to investigate the early PMI through the analysis of the expression of autophagy genes as well as oxidative stress and melatonin receptor. Our results demonstrated a rapidly increased on the expression of autophagy genes according to the expected sequence of events, then a marked decrease in this expression, matched with the switch to the apoptosis signaling. These results revealed potential candidates to analyze the PMI in the first hours of death, helping to estimate the time-since-death.
       
  • Enzymatic extraction of dyes for differentiation of red cotton fibres by
           TLC coupled with VSC
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Paulina Góra, Jolanta Wąs-Gubała The purpose of this work was to assess the usefulness of thin layer chromatography (TLC) for discriminating single cotton fibres dyed with red reactive dyes. An effective enzymatic extraction procedure with the use of cellulase for the red reactively-dyed cotton fibres was developed and used for the discrimination of fibres derived from 21 garments purchased commercially. Discrimination of the fibres relied on the separation of the extracted dyes by thin layer chromatography (TLC). Four eluents were used to develop the plates with the extracted dyes, and the obtained results were analysed using, among others, video spectral comparator (VSC). Observation of TLC plates in visible, ultraviolet and infrared light allowed unambiguous discrimination of 5 and probable discrimination of 6 of the 21 fibres tested. The remaining fibres were divided into several groups. Comparison of the acquired results with those obtained for the same examination material by standard non-destructive methods used in forensic fibres examinations (transmitted light microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, UV–Vis microspectrophotometry and Raman spectroscopy) has shown that efficiency in fibres differentiation is similar for all methods. TLC coupled with VSC was even found to be more effective in differentiation of red cotton fibres. The chemometric analysis was helpful to discriminate dyed cotton fibres, characterized by very similar colour.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
       
  • A comparison of the length and width of static inked two-dimensional bare
           footprints found on a hard compared to a soft surface
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Curran Michael, Holmes Isabelle In forensic intelligence-gathering it would be useful to evaluate if there are differences between static inked bare footprints captured on hard surfaces compared to soft surfaces. This was undertaken using samples from 30 undergraduate students. Initially a static footprint was taken for each participant on a hard surface and this was followed by a static footprint on a soft surface. On both occasions, the participants stood on an inkless mat and then on reactive paper, creating a two-dimensional print. The Reel method was used to analyse each footprint and the print was measured to see whether a difference existed between length and width (forefoot and rearfoot width) on a hard surface compared to a soft surface. The conclusion from this study was there is a statistically significant increase in length and width of a static bare footprint on a soft surface as opposed to a hard surface. If a forensic footprint examiner compares static bare footprints found on a soft surface and compares them to a static bare footprint of the same foot taken later, then the increase in both length and width of the footprints on a soft surface should be considered in the evaluation.
       
  • Letter to the editor: Reply to Biedermann and Gittelson
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 2 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Roger Koppl
       
  • A Bayesian approach based on Kalman filter frameworks for bullet
           identification
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 26 February 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): H. Danandeh Hesar, S. Bigeli, M. Ebrahimi Moghaddam When a bullet is fired from a barrel, random imperfections in the interior surface of the barrel imprint 3-D micro structures on the bullet surface that are seen as striations. Despite being random and non-stationary in nature, these striations are known to be consistently reproduced in a unique pattern on every bullet. This is a key idea in bullet identification. Common procedures in the field of automatic bullet identification include extraction of a feature profile from bullet image, profile smoothing and comparison of profiles using normalized cross correlation. Since the cross correlation based comparison is susceptible to high-frequency noise and nonlinear baseline drift, profile smoothing is a critical step in bullet identification. In previous work, we considered bullet images as nonlinear non-stationary processes and applied ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) as a preprocessing algorithm for smoothing and feature extraction. Using EEMD, each bullet average profile was decomposed into several scales known as intrinsic mode functions (IMFs). By choosing an appropriate range of scales, the resultant smoothed profile contained less high-frequency noise and no nonlinear baseline drift. But the procedure of choosing the proper number of IMFs to reduce the high-frequency noise effect was manual. This poses a problem in comparison of bullets whose images contained less or more noise in comparison to others because their useful information may be present in the corresponding discarded IMFs. Moreover, another problem arises when the bullet type changes. In this case manual inspection is needed once more to figure out which range of IMFs contain less high-frequency noise for this particular type of bullet. In this paper, we propose a novel combination of EEMD and Bayesian Kalman filter to solve these problems. First the bullet images are rotated using Radon transform. The rotated images are averaged column-wise to acquire averaged 1-D profiles. The nonlinear baseline drifts of averaged profiles are removed using EEMD algorithm. The profiles are then processed by a Kalman filter that is designed to automatically and optimally reduce the effect of high-frequency noise. Using Expectation Maximization (EM) technique, for each averaged profile, the parameters of Kalman filter are reconfigured to optimally suppress the high-frequency noise in each averaged profile. This work is the first effort that practically implements the Kalman filter for optimal denoising of firearm image profiles. In addition, we believe that Euclidean distance metric can help the normalized cross-correlation based comparison. Therefore, in this paper, we propose a comparison metric that is invariant to start and endpoints of firearm image profiles. This metric combines the prized properties of both Euclidean and normalized cross-correlation metrics in order to improve identification results. The proposed algorithm was evaluated on a database containing 180 2-D gray-scale images acquired from bullets fired from different AK-47 assault rifles. Although the proposed method needs more calculations in comparison to conventional methods, the experiments showed that it attained better results compared with the conventional methods and the previous method based on EMD in the field of automatic bullet identification.
       
  • Accuracy of four dental age estimation methodologies in Brazilian and
           Croatian children
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 February 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Luany Cristina Pongo da Luz, David Anzulović, Eduardo N. Benedicto, Ivan Galić, Hrvoje Brkić, Maria Gabriela H. Biazevic ObjectiveTo compare and analyse the accuracy of four age estimation methods using the mineralisation stages of the permanent teeth (Cameriere et al. [16] [CAM], Liliequist and Lundberg [LLH] and Nolla without third molars [NOL7] or with them [NOL8]) in a mixed population of Brazilians and a homogeneous population of Croatians.MethodsOrthopantomograms of 930 Brazilians (366 males and 564 females) and 924 Croatians (365 males and 556 females) aged between 8 and 14.99 years were analysed using the CAM, LLH, NOL7 and NOL8 age estimation methodologies.ResultsLLH presented the best absolute differences (ADs) among both populations without sex stratification, while CAM presented the worst results. In addition, the mean differences revealed underestimations, except when the LLH and NOL7 methods were used for the Brazilians. When the sample was stratified by sex, the best AD values were found with NOL7 (0.80) for the Brazilians and with LLH (0.98) for the Croatians. When the sample was stratified by sex and age, CAM presented high accuracy at the early ages, and LLH presented high accuracy at the older ages. The results obtained with the Nolla methods (NOL7 and NOL8) were mostly similar, but NOL7 yielded slightly better results.ConclusionsThe values for the Brazilians and the Croatians were relatively similar, and the techniques were properly applied in both population samples. The best method for evaluating both countries was LLH, followed by NOL7, NOL8 and CAM.
       
  • The efficiency of DNA extraction kit and the efficiency of recovery
           techniques to release DNA using flow cytometry
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 February 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Lydie Samie, Christophe Champod, Valérie Glutz, Miguel Garcia, Vincent Castella, Franco Taroni
       
 
 
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