Evidence Found: An Approach to Crime Scene Investigation

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Elsevier, Jan 5, 2015 - Law - 198 pages

Evidence Found: An Approach to Crime Scene Investigation is not another analysis of forensic errors using an "After the Fact" or "Lessons Learned" approach but a "Before the Fact" guide that examines the thought processes that can lead to those mistakes. Plus a few extras tips and tricks from the author’s experience of over 25 years.

Many high-profile crime scene investigations (and routine ones, for that matter) have suffered errors that have had negative impact on the investigation result and in the courtroom. Typically, we examine what happened and develop a useful list of what to do and what not to do, fixing the symptoms but potentially leaving ourselves open to the same error type on the next scene. The reason? Many crime scene mistakes are the result of systemic issues that are repeated due to a failure to include an evaluation of the decision-making process, including our own foundations of knowledge. Through case study and logical argument, this book attempts to provide a framework to recognize, evaluate, and alter negative decision-making patterns, including evaluating our own experience, before they negatively impact an investigation or the overall operation of a forensic unit.

  • Enhances the base concepts of evidence search and sequential processing for error avoidance
  • Examines the systemic areas/practices of a crime scene investigation where errors can occur
  • Includes a Evidence Matrix - a crime scene evaluation tool that aids in sequential processing decisions
  • Contains tips on overcoming common crime scene issues, inlcuding night time searches
  • Provides courtroom Testimony - communicating comparison findings to a jury

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Chapter 1 The Evidence SearchWhere It All Begins
Chapter 2 Evidence Search TechniquesTips and Tricks
Determining Evidence Value
Evaluating Evidence and Process
Crime Scene Briefing
The DecisionMaking Process
Knowing and Not Knowing
A New Approach
Plan Respond Create
Chapter 10 Courtroom TechniquesOld and New
Chapter 11 Ongoing Challenges
Chapter 12 Miscellany
Chapter 13 Final Thoughts

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2015)

I worked for the Pasadena (CA) Police Department for 24 years and was a founding member of the forensic unit when it became civilianized. During my tenure, I attained a high level of expertise in several areas including crime scene investigation, evidence processing, fingerprint comparisons, crime scene reconstruction, and courtroom testimony. Prior to retirement, I became the primary trainer of all new hires for crime scene processing, lab processing of evidence, and training to competency in print comparisons. I also worked several years as a part-time in instructor at a local forensic school, with several students going on to employment and current service in the field in various agencies throughout Southern California and one in Michigan. My career included work in several high profile cases such as the 1993 Halloween Homicide and the assisting in the Glendale Train Wreck of 2005. During my tenure, I began work on the Instructor Development Course from the California Peace Officer Standard and Training (California POST) and recently completed the Level 3 Certification. I will be applying for the Master Instructor course in 2015. After retirement from Pasadena, I worked for BAE Systems in the JEFF Program (Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facilities) and deployed to Afghanistan as a contractor for a total of 21 months. This was in support of the Coalition mission. I worked in different labs as an evidence processor as well as a fingerprint expert. I also was privileged to be an instructor of Afghan nationals from the Ministry of Interior of the government of Afghanistan. My field of instruction included developing their expertise in fingerprint comparisons as well as giving them tools to be trainers of future examiners. This relationship also led to the sponsorship of the first members from Afghanistan to the International Association for Identification, 2011-2012. During my employ, I passed the required elements and became a Certified Latent Print Examiner (CLPE). Prior to my career in forensics I attained a Master’s degree in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, one of the top seminaries in the world and worked as a ministry professional, obtaining an ordination from the American Baptist Church in 1983. I hold a 1st degree Black Belt in Hapkido. Finally, my first job was as a park construction worker in my hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado. A park I constructed, 95% solo, can be seen on Goggle Maps as Blevins Park, Ft Collins, Colorado.

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