2Overview Types of Physical Evidence Difference between Identification & Comparison of physical evidenceIndividual and Class characteristics of physical evidenceNational DatabasesReconstructing the Crime Scene
3Physical Evidence Almost anything can be Physical Evidence. The purpose of recognizing physical evidence is so that it can be collected and analyzed.It is difficult to ascertain the weight a given piece of evidence will have in a case as ultimately the weight will be decided by a jury.
4Common Types of Physical Evidence Blood, Semen, SalivaDocumentsDrugsExplosivesFibersFingerprintsFirearms & ammunitionGlassHairImpressionsOrgans & physiological fluidsPaintPetroleum productsPlastic bagsPlastic, rubber, & other polymersPowder residuesSerial numbersSoil & mineralsTool marksVehicle lightsWood & other vegetative matter
5IdentificationThe process of determining a substance’s physical or chemical identity with near absolute certaintyTesting procedures that give characteristic results for specific standard materialsUsed repeatedly to prove the identity of suspect materialsNumber and type of tests needed to identify a substance sufficient to exclude all other substances
6Comparison Two step process The process of ascertaining whether two or more objects have a common originSubjects a suspect specimen and standard/reference sample to same testsTwo step processCombinations of select properties are chosen from the suspect and standard/reference specimen for comparisonForensic scientist must draw conclusions about the origins of the specimens
7Individual Characteristics Properties of evidence that can be attributed to a common source with an extremely high degree of certaintyIn all cases, it is not possible to state with mathematical exactness the probability that the specimens are of common origin.It can only be concluded that this probability is so high as to defy mathematical calculations or human comprehension.
8Class Characteristics Properties of evidence that can be associated only with a group and never a single sourceHere again, probability is a determining factor.Nevertheless, the high diversity of class evidence in our environment makes their comparison very significant in the context of a criminal investigation.
9Class Characteristics Most items of physical evidence retrieved at crime scenes cannot be linked definitively to a single person or objectThe value of class physical evidence lies in its ability to provide corroboration of events with data that are, as nearly as possible, free of human error and bias.
10Individual or Class?the matching ridge characteristics of two fingerprintscomparison of random striation markings on bullets / tool marksthe comparison of two single-layer automobile paint chips of a similar colorthe comparison of irregular and random wear patterns in tire or footwear impressionsComparison of mass produced synthetic fiberthe comparison of two blood specimens for blood typethe comparison of handwriting characteristicsthe fitting together of the irregular edges of broken objects in the manner of a jigsaw puzzleComparison of commercial potting soilmatching sequentially made plastic bags by striation marks running across the bags
11Value of Physical Evidence Lies in its ability to corroborate events with data in a manner that is, as nearly as possible, free of human error and biasAs the number of different objects linking an individual to a crime scene increases, so does the likelihood or probability of that individual’s involvement with the crimeA person may be exonerated or excluded from suspicion of physical evidence collected at a crime scene is found to be different from standard/references samples collected
12Physical Evidence Significance There are practical limits to the properties and characteristics the forensic scientist can select for comparisonNatural LimitsModern analytical techniques have become so sophisticated and sensitive that natural variations in objects become almost infinite – no two things in this world are alike in every detail.
13Forensic Databases IAFIS, The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System: a national fingerprint maintained by the FBI.CODIS,The Combined DNA Index System enables federal, state, and local crime laboratories to electronically compare DNA profiles.NIBIN,The National Integrated Ballistics Information Network allows firearm analysts to acquire, digitize, and compare markings made by a firearm on bullets and cartridge casings.PDQ,The International Forensic Automotive Paint Data Query database contains chemical / color information to original automotive paints.SICAR(shoeprint image capture and retrieval) shoeprint database.
14ReconstructionThe method used to support a likely sequence of events at a crime scene by observing and evaluating physical evidence and statements made by those involved with the incidentRelies on the combined efforts of medical examiners, criminalists, and law enforcement personnel to recover physical evidence and to sort out the events surrounding the occurrence of a crime
15ReconstructionPhysical evidence left behind at a crime scene plays a crucial role in reconstructing the events that took place surrounding the crime.The evidence alone does not describe everything that happenedIt can support or contradict accounts given by witnesses and/or suspects.Information obtained from physical evidence can also generate leads and confirm the reconstruction of a crime to a jury