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Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society

Josep De Alcaraz-Fossoul, Katherine A Roberts
The capability of forensic sciences to fight crime, especially against organized criminal groups, becomes relevant in the recent economic downturn and the war on terrorism. In view of these societal challenges, the methods of combating crime should experience critical changes in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the current resources available. It is obvious that authorities have serious difficulties combating criminal groups of transnational nature. These are characterized as well structured organizations with international connections, abundant financial resources and comprised of members with significant and diverse expertise...
July 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Filipe Santos, Helena Machado
This paper presents a study of the 5-year operation (2011-2015) of the transnational exchange of forensic DNA data between Member States of the European Union (EU) for the purpose of combating cross-border crime and terrorism within the so-called Prüm system. This first systematisation of the full official statistical dataset provides an overall assessment of the match figures and patterns of operation of the Prüm system for DNA exchange. These figures and patterns are analysed in terms of the differentiated contributions by participating EU Member States...
July 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Madeleine de Gruijter, Claire Nee, Christianne J de Poot
New technologies will allow Crime Scene Investigators (CSIs) in the near future to analyse traces at the crime scene and receive identification information while still conducting the investigation. These developments could have considerable effects on the way an investigation is conducted. CSIs may start reasoning based on possible database-matches which could influence scenario formation (i.e. the construction of narratives that explain the observed traces) during very early phases of the investigation. The goal of this study is to gain more insight into the influence of the rapid identification information on the reconstruction of the crime and the evaluation of traces by addressing two questions, namely 1) is scenario formation influenced from the moment that ID information is provided and 2) do database matches influence the evaluation of traces and the reconstruction of the crime...
July 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
José Coelho Neto, Fernanda L C Lisboa
Viagra and Cialis are among the most counterfeited medicines in many parts of the world, including Brazil. Despite the many studies that have been made regarding discrimination between genuine and counterfeit samples, most published works do not contemplate generic and similar versions of these medicines and also do not explore excipients/adjuvants contributions when characterizing genuine and suspected samples. In this study, we present our findings in exploring ATR-FTIR spectral profiles for characterizing both genuine and questioned samples of several generic and brand-name sildenafil- and tadalafil-based tablets available on the Brazilian market, including Viagra and Cialis...
July 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Wesley Vernon Obe, Neil Simmonite, Sarah Reel, Selina Reidy
Dynamic bare footprints differ from static bare footprints through the presence of additional, lighter markings around the rear of the heel print and apices of the toe print areas. These images can appropriately be described as inner dark and outer ghosting features. To date, the functional cause of both features has not been understood. To gain such an understanding could potentially allow the further development and use of these features in forensic identification. The aim of this project was to investigate the causes of the inner dark and outer ghosting features seen in dynamic bare footprints through an observational, practice-based action research approach within a gait laboratory...
July 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Tanya R Peckmann, Shelby Scott, Susan Meek, Pasuk Mahakkanukrauh
The impact of climate change is estimated to be particularly severe in Thailand. Overall, the country faces an increase in surface temperatures, severe storms and floods, and a possible increase in the number of mass disasters in the region. It is extremely important that forensic scientists have access to sex estimation methods developed for use on a Thai population. The goal of this project is to evaluate the accuracy of sex estimation discriminant functions, created using contemporary Mexican and Greek populations, when applied to a contemporary Thai sample...
July 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Marcia Filipa Gouveia, Inês Oliveira Santos, Ana Luísa Santos, David Gonçalves
Metric features are often the only preserved sexually dimorphic features to allow sex estimation in burned human remains, but this is complicated by heat-induced dimensional changes. The potential of odontometry for sex estimation was investigated. A sample of permanent lower second pre-molars from 20 males and 20 females was experimentally burned at 900°C to assess heat-induced changes in the sexual dimorphism of seven dimensions of the cementum-enamel junction and the root. Four of them, cementum-enamel junction perimeter; mesiodistal, buccolingual and perimeter at the mid-root level, were investigated for the first time...
July 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
M Timme, W H Timme, A Olze, C Ottow, S Ribbecke, H Pfeiffer, R Dettmeyer, A Schmeling
Eruption and mineralization of third molars are the main criteria for dental age estimation in living adolescents. As the validation of completion of the 18th year of life appears not to be possible with the forensically necessary probability even if all the third molars of a person are completely mineralized, degenerative dental characteristics might be used for this purpose. In previous publications by Olze et al. (2010a,b) the radiographic visibility of the periodontal ligament and the root pulp in lower third molars were suggested as methods for this purpose...
July 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Zuzana Caplova, Valentina Compassi, Silvio Giancola, Daniele M Gibelli, Zuzana Obertová, Pasquale Poppa, Remo Sala, Chiarella Sforza, Cristina Cattaneo
The situation of missing children is one of the most emotional social issues worldwide. The search for and identification of missing children is often hampered, among others, by the fact that the facial morphology of long-term missing children changes as they grow. Nowadays, the wide coverage by surveillance systems potentially provides image material for comparisons with images of missing children that may facilitate identification. The aim of study was to identify whether facial features are stable in time and can be utilized for facial recognition by comparing facial images of children at different ages as well as to test the possible use of moles in recognition...
July 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Kayleigh Sheppard, John P Cassella, Sarah Fieldhouse, Roberto King
One of the most important and commonly encountered evidence types that can be recovered at crime scenes are biological fluids. Due to the ephemeral nature of biological fluids and the valuable DNA that they can contain, it is fundamental that these are documented extensively and recovered rapidly. Locating and identifying biological fluids can prove a challenging task but can aid in reconstructing a sequence of events. Alternate light sources (ALS) offer powerful non-invasive methods for locating and enhancing biological fluids utilising different wavelengths of light...
July 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Jacob de Zoete, Marjan Sjerps, Ronald Meester
In de Zoete et al. (2015) a framework for the evaluation of evidence when an individual is a suspect of two separate offenses (based on Evett et al., 2006) is implemented using a Bayesian network. Here, we extend this to situations with multiple offenders. When we have multiple offenders, new questions arise: (1) Can we distinguish between the offenders, even if we do not know their identity? (2) Do we know that certain pieces of evidence originate from the same person? (3) Do we know the number of offenders? With the aid of a mock case example, we show that such subtle differences between situations can lead to substantially different conclusions in terms of posterior probabilities of a certain suspect being one of the offenders in a particular crime...
May 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Eleanor Arscott, Ruth Morgan, Georgina Meakin, James French
Verbal expressions of evidential strength are routinely used when presenting forensic expert evaluative evidence. The degree to which these verbal expressions are interpreted uniformly among different individuals requires further empirical study. This study focussed on groups of individuals with different roles within the criminal justice system and individuals with varying degrees of expertise and knowledge. Three groups of individuals were identified: laypeople, legal professionals and those with some forensic or investigative knowledge...
May 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Lorenzo Gaborini, Alex Biedermann, Franco Taroni
In this work, we propose the construction of a evaluative framework for supporting experts in questioned signature examinations. Through the use of Bayesian networks, we envision to quantify the probative value of well defined measurements performed on questioned signatures, in a way that is both formalised and part of a coherent approach to evaluation. At the current stage, our project is explorative, focusing on the broad range of aspects that relate to comparative signature examinations. The goal is to identify writing features which are both highly discriminant, and easy for forensic examiners to detect...
May 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Noemí Rivaldería, Esperanza Gutiérrez-Redomero, Concepción Alonso-Rodríguez, José E Dipierri, Luis M Martín
The fingerprints of the Buenos Aires and Chubut provinces in Argentina have been studied, with the aim of knowing and quantifying the variability of these features, which are used in the identification process. The data studied for this research was obtained from 330 individuals, of both sexes, from two Argentinian population samples (170 individuals from Buenos Aires and 160 from Chubut), which amounts to a total of 3300 fingerprints. The different types of minutiae were located, identified, and visually quantified in four areas on the fingerprint...
May 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Nathan D Smith, James S Sharp
Fingerprints are widely used as a means of identifying persons of interest because of the highly individual nature of the spatial distribution and types of features (or minuta) found on the surface of a finger. This individuality has led to their wide application in the comparison of fingerprints found at crime scenes with those taken from known offenders and suspects in custody. However, despite recent advances in machine vision technology and image processing techniques, fingerprint evidence is still widely being collected using outdated practices involving ink and paper - a process that can be both time consuming and expensive...
May 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Andrew van Es, Wim Wiarda, Maarten Hordijk, Ivo Alberink, Peter Vergeer
For the comparative analysis of glass fragments, a method using Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) is in use at the NFI, giving measurements of the concentration of 18 elements. An important question is how to evaluate the results as evidence that a glass sample originates from a known glass source or from an arbitrary different glass source. One approach is the use of matching criteria e.g. based on a t-test or overlap of confidence intervals. An important drawback of this method is the fact that the rarity of the glass composition is not taken into account...
May 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Radha Samlal-Soedhoe, Laura M Willemstein, Martin Baiker, Jaap van der Weerd
We present a method in which DNA and fibre traces are jointly recovered by taping. The DNA traces are isolated by standard laboratory procedures. Fibre traces are isolated afterwards in order to improve efficiency. Two tests have been carried out to evaluate the suitability of the presented method. In the first test, possible changes in appearance of fibres due to the DNA isolation procedures are investigated. In the second test, the recovery of fibres from a contaminated surface and their possible loss due to the DNA isolation procedure are investigated...
May 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Tawachai Monum, Karnda Mekjaidee, Nuttaya Pattamapaspong, Sukon Prasitwattanaseree
Costal cartilage ossification on chest plate radiographs is one of the useful methods in age estimation for adults. This study was performed in 136 remains yielding a regression formula for age estimation in Thai male population. Eight features on chest plate imaging were scored based on Garvin's method. Composite scores were calculated by summation of all scores and analyzed to generate the regression of age as: Age=16.664×e(0.161 (composite score)) with a 95% prediction interval. The predicted age intervals in all composite scores were overlapping except for score 0 and 7...
May 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Dominic Gascho, Nadja V Morf, Michael J Thali, Sarah Schaerli
Clear identification of soft tissue remains as being of non-human origin may be visually difficult in some cases e.g. due to decomposition. Thus, an additional examination is required. The use of an immunochromatographic rapid tests (IRT) device can be an easy solution with the additional advantage to be used directly at the site of discovery. The use of these test devices for detecting human blood at crime scenes is a common method. However, the IRT is specific not only for blood but also for differentiation between human and non-human soft tissue remains...
May 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Valentina Bugelli, Carlo Pietro Campobasso, Marcel A Verhoff, Jens Amendt
In forensic entomology, the methods of sampling, killing, and storing entomological samples can affect larval age estimation, and, hence, the estimation of the minimum post-mortem interval. In the existing manuals, there is a certain amount of heterogeneity regarding methods and the recommendations for best practice in forensic entomology are insufficiently validated. This study evaluated three different length-measurement methods for larval stages and examined the influence of different killing and storing methods on the larval length of two forensically important blow flies, Lucilia sericata and Calliphora vicina...
May 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
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