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Criminalistics- Introduction to Forensic Science

1. The defense has filed a motion to suppress the footprint evidence, handwriting analysis, and the evidence obtained using alternative light sources gathered at the crime scene at Helene Valentine's home. She has asked you to prepare a 3-5 page paper that explains the processes used in gathering that evidence along with cited sources that she can use to bolster her argument against suppressing the evidence.

(crime scene- Helen Valentine was found deceased in the master bedroom of her upstairs, two-bedroom apartment, at 11:58 AM on Tuesday morning. Upon arrival, the investigators noticed an empty bottle of vodka on the floor of her bedroom, and two shot glasses- half-full with vodka, on the kitchen table. There were also three visible dust footprints on the linoleum floor in the bathroom and kitchen. The television was on and the refrigerator was slightly ajar. Some half-eaten cheese and crackers were located on the countertops in the kitchen, and the smell of bleach was very apparent in the kitchen. Valentine was found in a prone position, completely nude, with her head towards the foot post of her bed, facing the wall. Valentine's entire apartment was a mess, but there does not seem to be any real signs of struggle. Investigators noticed a few cuts and bruises on Valentine's wrist. After closer examination, investigators noticed a small gunshot wound on her left temple. The weapon was found in very close proximity to Valentine's right side, next to her right shoulder. The three windows to Valentine's apartment were open and the front door was unlocked. Neighbors provided statements, stating that Valentine was a nudist and liked to flash people who passed by her windows. Investigators also found an apparent suicide note on the computer screen in the second bedroom (the computer was still on, but was in hibernating mode). Valentine's bank check; made out for $1,006.57 to a nudist colony resort and spa, lay on her computer desk. In the investigator's initial inspection, blood could be seen in the second bedroom and on the windowsill of one Valentine's apartment windows).

Be sure to reference all sources using APA style.

Instructor Comments:
Include an abstract paragraph (125-50 words)
Describe specific evidence collection techniques used in gathering footprint evidence /shoe impression evidence.
How would this evidence be analyzed in the lab?
Please mention specific laboratory techniques and discuss the role of the examiner.
Discuss specific evidence collection techniques using gathering handwriting evidence .
How would this evidence be analyzed in a lab? Please mention specific laboratory techniques and discuss the role of the examiner.
Apply information that you have learned in class such as - ex. known exemplars
Discuss in detail, the process of filing a motion to suppress physical evidence.
Again, make sure that this presentation is balanced. Do not focus too much on one area of the paper-make sure all areas are addressed equally.
Do not forget your FOUR required scholarly references. I want to see RESEARCH.

2. Using the Internet, your textbook, or any other available materials, research a notorious criminal case where shoe impression, tire impression, handwriting analysis, alternative light sources, computer, or Internet evidence was presented as evidence of special interest to the case. Briefly summarize the case and provide citation information so that your classmates and instructor may easily find the material included in your response. Please free to expand your discussion if the case you are researching presents more than one type of evidence.
Based on the knowledge and information you have learned in class, describe the proper protocol/procedures that may be used by a criminalist to examine such evidence (discuss proper collection, preservation, and testing analysis associated with the evidence).

Prepare 4-5 paragraphs and be sure to reference all sources using APA style.

Instructor comments:
Make sure that you research a case that either used shoe impressions, tire impression evidence, handwriting analysis, alternative light source evidence, computer evidence, or Internet evidence.
Please note that your case does not need to include ALL of the following evidence.
If your case includes more than one type of evidence, please note that as well.
Please provide specifics about the investigation/ background of the case. Were there any problems associated with handling the evidence in this case?
Taking what you have learned from class thus far, provide a thorough discussion of how a criminalist may: properly collect, preserve, and analyze the evidence presented in this case (best practices).
Discuss some of the specific laboratory techniques that may be conducted to analyze the evidence. (If you are researching an older case, provide information about how that evidence might be analyzed today).
Although it is not mandatory to find case information in the school's library, you still need to provide appropriate citation for the material that you present in your discussion board.

Solution Preview

Abstract paragraph:
High quality evidence gathering techniques were used for gathering evidence in the Valentine case. Each evidence was properly authenticates and techniques used in the laboratory are those that have general acceptance. In case of footprint examination multiple methods have been used for examination. Similarly in case of handwriting, the methods and techniques used for identification are well accepted and meet the standards set by rule 702. Both the handwriting evidence and the footprint evidence are relevant and are directly linked to the crime scene. The footprint establishes that the defendant was present at crime scene, similarly, the handwriting evidence establishes that the defendant had forged the check. Each of these evidences have been properly collected, examined by using established methods, and authenticated. Since they are relevant to the case, there is no reason they should be suppressed.

The specific evidence collection techniques used in gathering footprint evidence/shoe impression. In this case there were three visible dust prints on the linoleum floor. The first procedure is that footprint should be photographed and records should be made of the shoe impression as well as the area around it. Since, the footprints, three in number are on linoleum floor, the electrostatic dust lifter can be used. In this case a thin film with a black side and an aluminum coated side is used. The black side should be placed on the dust impression when a high voltage charge is applied to the aluminum side. The charge results in an electrostatic charge that transfers the dry dust onto the black side. In case of Valentine, the photographs were made; the records of the shoe impression form a part of the physical evidence. The electrostatic dust lifter was used for each of the three footprints (Graham. P, 1997).
In the laboratory the impression can be observed using a high intensity light source at thirty to forty-five degree angle to the impression in a darkened room. In the laboratory, the footprint is compared with the footprint of the defendant. If there is a match this evidence is presented in the court of law. The role of the examiner is that of an expert who gives his opinion about the match of the footprint with that of the defendant. In case of Valentine the impressions have been examined in the lab and the examiner has authenticated the results of the foot print examination.
The defendant can argue that this evidence be suppressed because it does not ...

Solution Summary

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