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Forensic Medicine Dr. Jeff Ricken, C.S.I.. Our Judicial branch of government is based on an adversarial form of justice Attorney’s represent both the.

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Presentation on theme: "Forensic Medicine Dr. Jeff Ricken, C.S.I.. Our Judicial branch of government is based on an adversarial form of justice Attorney’s represent both the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Forensic Medicine Dr. Jeff Ricken, C.S.I.

2 Our Judicial branch of government is based on an adversarial form of justice Attorney’s represent both the plaintiff (one suing someone) and the defendant (doctor, nurse, hospital, manufacturer, drug company) Damages can be awarded for financial losses, mental anguish/suffering, loss of wages, disability, etc.

3 Judges are either elected or selected

4 The jury A panel of people who are mutually agreeable to both plaintiff’s and defendant’s attorneys after a brief questionaire and interview. Everyone must do jury duty if it is agreed to be a jury trial Some trials are agreed to by both parties to be judge trials without a jury.

5 Judges Judges decide what evidence is admissible in the trial They only rule on questions of law if it’s a jury trial They don’t decide innocence or guilt verdicts unless it is a judge trial. They do decide on punishments, compensations, fines, imprisonment, etc.

6 Attorney for the plaintiff They state their case They call witnesses to testify They interrogate witnesses to elicit the testimony of the witness for the record. They present their facts accusing the defendant They present their findings first The defense attorney can cross examine each witness after the plaintiff’s attorney is done Expert witnesses are hired to present the facts for each side

7 Defense attorneys They are hired by the hospital, doctor or manufacturer to show why they are innocent of the plaintiff’s accusations. They are paid for either by the defendants or their insurance companies They can present evidence in their client’s defense as well

8 Forensics from “forum” Where the senators in ancient Rome discussed citizens with aberrant behavior and criminal behavior and what to do with them ergo: Forensics Crime: a violation of the criminal code or law A perpetrator commits a crime

9 Kings no longer judge us, a court of law decides civil and criminal cases

10 Presumption of Innocence You’re innocent until proven otherwise Burden of proof: It is up to the prosecution to prove its case “beyond all reasonable doubt”. The accused has a right to a judge or jury trial. Prosecutor works for or is the District Attorney: District Attorney: a public, elected official, also an attorney who prosecutes criminal cases in the name of the government and represents the interests of its citizenry. Public defender: provided free if you are accused of a crime and can’t afford an attorney.

11 The bill of rights limits the power of the courts and prosecution

12 Suspects are Arraigned The formal “charging” of a suspect with specific violations of the law in court Prosecution must convince a judge with evidence and testimony that there is reasonable suspicion that this person committed a crime. Certain capital crimes (like murder) require a grand jury (a panel of 10 citizens who must be convinced the accused committed a crime

13 Grand jury evaluates evidence to decide if a case goes to trial or not

14 If the judge or grand jury is convinced at the arraignment of a possible crime by the accused: A hearing for bail may or may not be set The prosecutor and the defense attorney argue the “flight risk” of the accused Bail is set if the judge sees that the amount of funds/property set for bail offsets flight risk If insufficient funds/bond money available, the accused may remain in custody until trial if crime is of a capital nature or the accused poses a risk to society before trial

15 The body talks to us Victims remains tell tales

16 Coroner vs. Medical Examiner Both are charged with investigating deaths not the result of natural causes i.e. suspicious deaths or deaths from “unusual or suspicious circumstances” Medical examiner always a doctor: Coroner investigates but may not be a physician

17 Expert witnesses When the knowledge and expertise of the court cannot be expected to render opinions beyond its scope of training, it relies on the use of experts. Doctors, engineers, nurses, psychologists, medical examiners and coroners are all trained in their fields and often testify on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants. They can be paid for their services and research into the case ethically.

18 Expert witnesses: testimony for sale?

19 You call it black and blue: doctors call is ecchymosis or purpura Blunt force trauma

20 Petichiae: broken blood vessels either from trauma or disease (clots) choking? Squeezing? Noose? Asphyxiation?

21 Corpus delecti (“body of the crime”) It means the plaintiff or prosecutor must first prove a crime has been committed. Prove something was stolen, show a dead body for a murder, etc.

22 Modus operandi The M.O. is a criminal’s pattern of committing a crime How did he kill his victims can be one’s M.O.

23 Autopsy, necropsy, post mortems Performed on victims who died under :”suspicious circumstances” Can ordered by a hospital at their chosing Medical examiners are M.D.s while coroners don’t have to be. Coroners are either elected or selected by a county commissioner, mayor or governor.

24 The burden of proof is always on the prosecutor or the plaintiff’s attorney (if it’s a civil case). In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt”. The verdict by a jury must be UNANIMOUS. If one juror votes “Not guilty” the jury is “hung”. No verdict but whole case can then be tried again. If the defendant is found “innocent” then double jeopardy prevents them from ever being tried again for the same charges. (Bill of Rights; no double jeopardy permitted).

25 Lawsuit: both sides present their case; jury listens and decides verdict; judge decides question of law only and punishment after jury is done.

26 Asphyxia signs Asphyxia due to loss of oxygen to the brain causing death. May be due to smoke, drowning, strangulation, collapsed trachea, chest crushes, etc. Signs include: petechiae around the organs involved including the eyes, water in the lungs (drowning), smoke in the lungs (smoke asphyxiation), rope marks around the neck, vertebral fractures, blood clots in the brain, emboli in the heart, brain, lungs,etc.

27 asphyxia

28 Hearsay Information in court that the witness has no direct proof of or can attest to is NOT ADMISSABLE. Tom says; “Susan told me she saw Jim near the crime scene.” Objection, your honor; this is hearsay. Judge says; objection either sustained or overruled.

29 Poisons Arsenic: common in pesticides and herbicides. Some water supplies contaminated with it (Bangladesh) In low doses, was an early treatment for syphillis causes massive organ failure by blocking metabolism in all organs Bloody mucous from organ hemorrhaging

30 arsenic

31 Cyanide Binds with hemoglobin to prevent it from carrying any oxygen Victim dies by asphyxiation Suicide pill’ works fast, choking, death Cyanide used in mining and jewelry industry

32 cyanide

33 Carbon monoxide The result of combustion when there is a limited amount of Oxygen available to make CO2 (as in the gas engine). Binds irrevocably with hemoglobin, red victims, pass out, asphyxiate, It is a gas that is odorless, tasteless and lighter than air (keep the garage door open when the engine runs or you’ll fall asleep and ?)

34 Carbon monoxide

35 Deposition A sworn testimony in preparation for a trial Lets both partyies know what each witness is going to say and what evidence each will have for each side Either/both sides call for depositions from a witness list each provides the opposing counsel. If you lie in court or depositon, it is perjury and a crime. There is a chance for cross examination by both attorneys.

36 deposition

37 DNA evidence Nuclear DNA can be obtained from any tissue in a living person’s body; buccal DNA swab usually used, needs a court order if not voluntary. This gets a “refence specimen” of the accused. Then DNA from a crime scene or weapon is obtained for a comparison % accurate. Hair, nails, teeth, semen, sperm in a bank, or any tissue will given DNA Dead bodies can be exhumed and “mitochondrial DNA” is still left in many deep tissues and hair, etc. This is acceptable for matching a reference specimne. Surreptitious specimens are allowed in the U.S. (without the suspect’s knowledge)

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40 Death by overdose Certain medications like barbiturates and sedatives depress respiration and heart rate to the point of coma followed by death Xanax, percodan, morphine, heroine,valium, codeine, Ambiens, ethanol, etc. Often it is accidental, sometimes not. Coma is common with these and may result in vegetative state afterwards if they don’t die.


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