Forensic Magazine June/July 2014








Applying AFIS Case by Case

By Carey Hall and Teresa Wu
A typical AFIS deals with pre-defined print card formats and rigid parameters, a new “Case AFIS” approach is flexible in dealing with ad-hoc ink cards, uncontrolled capture areas, poor quality prints, and other obstacles.

Gunshot Residue Collection: The Decisions that Make or Break a Case

By Julia Patterson
Gunshot residue (GSR) analysis can be a critical piece of evidence in criminal investigations, but over the last several years many government laboratories have discontinued GSR analysis due to a lack of funding or re-prioritization. By understanding the science behind GSR and what can be learned from its analysis, investigators can make informed decisions regarding the collection of gunshot residue evidence.  

Considerations of Gait at Crime Scenes

By Bryan B. Kagan, DPM and Sally Crawford 
Forensic gait analysis is the identification of gait features and patterns of subjects seen on Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and from footprints forming a gait pattern left at the scene of a crime. Studies have shown that more than 30% of people wear shoes that are within a two shoe size differential, which can affect the gait phase and gait time parameters and impact on the class level distinction during forensic examination.

Old Techniques, New Tricks

By Rebecca Waters
We often focus on the need to learn about emerging technologies and educate ourselves on new methods and skills, but sometimes what we really need are new ways of looking at—and applying—old tools and techniques. This issue presents some ideas along these lines.  


Solid State Drives: Part 7

By John J. Barbara
SSDs have been in use since the 1950s. When compared to a conventional HDD, they are totally different in architecture and functionality. These differences offer many advantages such as no moving parts, having low random access times, and being shock and vibration resistant. However, their architecture and functionality creates some difficult issues to deal with pertaining to their forensic analysis. 

Crime Scene Investigator: Certification

By Dick Warrington 
I recently interviewed Lt. Owen McDonnell of the Caddo Sheriff’s Office, Crime Scene Investigations Division, an expert in the field, to get his perspective on CSI certification. Certification in any field gives you more credibility and professionalism in court, provided the certification program is independent and reputable. Prosecution and defense attorneys look for the credentials of the individual and the certifying body. 

Handle with Care: Basic Autoclave Safety Program

By Vince McLeod, CIH
Autoclaves are such a common and familiar piece of lab equipment that it is easy to overlook the associated hazards. If we do not think about what might go wrong, sooner or later we will get burned. By following our simple three step program of training; testing/monitoring/maintenance; and record keeping, you can avoid mishaps and potential significant damage or injury.

Forensic Facilities POTential

By Jinhee Lee and Ken Mohr 
With recreational and/or medical marijuana now legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia as of April 21, 2014, according to CNN US, one might wonder if forensic facilities can begin to scale back resources dedicated to the drug’s testing and storage. We believe that this may not be the case.

Don’t Let This Be You

By Chris Asplen
The sooner every municipality and jurisdiction takes ownership of its own backlog issue and dedicates the appropriate amount of resources to get kits tested, the sooner they can stop worrying about whether some very smart lawyers are going to find a way hold them responsible.