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Criminal Justice Resources :

Forensic Science

Forensics or forensic science is the application of science to questions which are of interest to the legal system. For example, forensic pathology is the study of the human body to determine cause and manner of death. Criminalistics is the application of various sciences to answer questions relating to examination and comparison of biological evidence, trace evidence, impression evidence, drugs and firearms. Forensic odontology is the study of the uniqueness of dentition, and forensic toxicology is the study of drugs and poisons, and their effects on the human body.

Sherlock Holmes, the fictional character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was, in fact, the inspiration for forensic science. Decades later, the comic strip, Dick Tracy also featured the detective using a considerable number of forensic methods although sometimes the methods were more fanciful. The popular television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation depicts a glamorized version of the activities of forensic scientists. Visit the Forensics entry from the Wikipedia for more information.

Scouring a crime scene for evidence in the form of maggots and flies isn't an activity that only applies to the latest episode of "CSI." It's a science, and a field that's growing in importance. Michigan State University has the nation's oldest and largest forensic science program, and it is one of only two universities in the United States to offer an online course. Taught by Richard Merritt, chairperson of entomology, and doctoral student Ryan Kimbirauskas, two of the nation's 11 board certified forensic entomologists, the online course, which began in January, teaches the various ways insects can and have been used as evidence in trials. Together, Merritt and Kimbirauskas have more than 25 years of professional experience in the field and have appeared in court as expert witnesses. They also are actively involved in on-going criminal investigations.

The course, entitled "Forensic Entomology: The Role of Insects in Crime Scene Investigations," lets students follow the same steps a forensic entomologist would take while collecting and analyzing evidence. Armed with the information presented in the lectures, students or crime scene investigators walk through a virtual crime scene where a murder has occurred. Just as a professional forensic entomologist would do, the student investigators will collect evidence and estimate when the victim was murdered. Finally, the investigator will construct a report detailing what they've uncovered and offer an estimated time of death.

The course is open to undergraduates, graduate students and others who may be interested in learning the role of insects in crime scene investigations. For more information on the course, e-mail forensic@msu.edu.
Source: "Michigan State offers new online forensics course -- who said an insect couldn't solve a crime?", MSU News Release, January 23, 2006.

Trivia: The first North American forensics laboratory was founded in Montreal in 1914! It served as the model for many such laboratories in the United States, including that of the FBI. For more information, take a look at CSI Canada : a double header on two Canadians who changed the world of crime scene investigation. The two articles are (1) "Fine Chemistry" by Paul Dalby, pp. 24-29, which related how Dr. Henry Croft unlocked the riddle of aresenic poisoning and (2) "Rigorous Science" by Heather Wright, pp.30-35. which related how Dr. Wilfrid Derome launched the history of ballistic science. Both articles are available in the The Beaver : Canada's History Magazine, Feb/March 2007.

Associations | Reference Tools | Web Sites | Articles and Publications

Associations and Organizations

  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA)
  • American Board of Criminalistics
  • American Board of Forensic Anthropology
  • American Board of Forensic Odontogy
  • American Board of Forensic Toxicology
  • American College of Forensic Examiners
  • American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors
  • American Society of Forensic Odontology
  • Association for Crime Scene Reconstruction (ACSR)
  • Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners
  • Association of Forensic DNA Analysts and Administrators
  • California Association of Criminalists
  • California State Coroners' Association
  • Canadian Society of Forensic Science
  • Evidence Photographers International Council, Inc. (EPIC)
  • Forensic Science Society
  • Forensic Toxicologist Certification Board
  • Innocense Project
  • International Association for Identification
  • International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts
  • International Association of Forensic Toxicologists
  • International Homicide Investigators Association
  • Michigan-Ontario Identification Association
  • Midatlantic Association of Forensic Scientists
  • Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists
  • National Association of Medical Examiners
  • National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS)
  • National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN)
  • New Jersey Association of Forensic Scientists
  • Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists (NEAFS)
  • Northwest Association of Forensic Scientists (NWAFS)
  • Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT)
  • Southern Association of Forensic Scientists
  • Southern California Association of Fingerprint Officers (SCAFO)
  • Southern California Association of Forensic Scientists (SCAFS)
  • Southwestern Association of Forensic Document Examiners
  • Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists (SWAFS)
  • Forensic Associations and Organizations

    Forensic Science Reference Tools

  • Forensic Science Graduate Education in the United States
  • MyForensicScienceDegree.com
  • Locating Forensic Science Experts (Carpenter)
  • Expert Forensic Toxicologists (Alan Barbour)
  • Forensic Toxicology Laboratories (Alan Barbour)
  • World of Forensic Science

    Forensic Science Web Links

  • About.Com Crime/Punishment Page
  • About.Com Forensic Science Page
  • Alan Barbour's Forensic Toxicology Page
  • BBC - Crime - Case Closed
  • Biometrics Research at Michigan State University
  • Case of the Barefoot Burglar
  • Crime Laboratories entry from Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment, Vol. 1, 2002
  • Crime Scene Investigation (Staggs)
  • Crime Scene Investigations (Baldwin)
  • CrimeLynx Forensic Science Links
  • CSI: Crime Seen, Investigated from the Why Files
  • 'CSI' : the Really Early Years
  • David Willshire's Forensic Psychology & Psychiatry Links
  • DNA.gov
  • DNA Policy - Net
  • DNA Survives Bomb Blast
  • FBI Laboratory Home Page
  • Fingerprint Evidence (Crime & Clues)
  • Forensic Analysis : Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence (Book)
  • Forensic Art
  • Forensic Entomology
  • ForensicEvidence.com
  • Forensic Psychiatry and Medicine (Dr. Harold J. Bursztajn)
  • Forensic Science 2.0 : 100 Top Websites to Bookmark
  • Forensic Science : In the Spotlight
  • Forensic Science Portal
  • Forensic Science Resources (Carpenter)
  • Forensic Science Resources
  • Forensics: The Investigative Science
  • Kruglick's Forensic Resource and Criminal Law Page
  • Latent Print Examination
  • Latent Print Reference Grail
  • Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division
  • Michigan State University Forensic Science Program
  • National Center for Forensic Science
  • National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence
  • National Forensic Science Technology Center
  • Online Guide to the Forensic Sciences
  • Reddy's Forensic Home Page
  • USFWS Forensic Science Reference Page
  • Why Files on Forensic Science
  • World Wide Web Virtual Library : Forensic Technology
  • Zeno's Forensic Site

    Forensic Science Articles and Publications

  • Attorney General's Report on the DNA Evidence Backlog
  • A Beginner's Primer on the Investigation of Forensic Evidence
  • Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
  • Books About Forensic Sciences
  • Cartridge Case Identification
  • Clearer Picture of Crime
  • Convicted by Juries, Exonerated by Science
  • Crime and Clues: the Art and Science of Criminal Investigation
  • Crime Scene and Evidence Photography
  • Crime Solving Tool Stymied by Lab Backlogs
  • Criminal and Environmental Soil Forensics
  • Death Investigation
  • DNA Analysis for "Minor" Crimes: A Major Benefit for Law Enforcement
  • DNA Evidence : How DNA Evidence Works
  • DNA Field Experiment : Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the Use of DNA in the Investigation of High-Volume Crimes
  • DNA Testing: An Introduction for Non-Scientists (An Illustrated Explanation)
  • Emerging Role of the Forensic Engineer
  • Evidence Collection in Crime Scene Investigations
  • FBI Laboratory Report
  • Firearms Tutorial
  • Forensic DNA Fundamentals for the Prosecutor - Be Not Afraid
  • Forensic Examination of Digital Evidence: A Guide for Law Enforcement
  • Forensic Handwriting Analysis: An Analytical Bibliography
  • Forensic Science Resource Guide in a Criminal Fact Investigation
  • Forensic Scientists: A Career in the Crime Lab
  • Fundamentals of Firearms ID
  • The Future of DNA Testing
  • Handbook of Forensic Services
  • How Bloodstain Analysis Works
  • How DNA Evidence Works
  • Identifying Victims Using DNA: A Guide for Families
  • Increasing Efficiency in Crime Laboratories
  • Lessons Learned From 9/11: DNA Identification in Mass Fatality Incidents
  • Mass Fatality Incidents: A Guide for Human Forensic Identification
  • Medicolegal Death Investigator
  • New Technology Solves Old Cases (Vacuum Metal Deposition)
  • Postconviction DNA Testing
  • Proficiency Testing and the Estimation of Error Rates
    in Forensic DNA Laboratories
  • Report to the Attorney General on Delays in Forensic DNA Analysis
  • Resource Guide to Law Enforcement, Corrections, and Forensic Technologies
  • Scholars Challenge the Infallibility of Fingerprints
  • A Simplified Guide to Bloodstain Analysis
  • Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path ForwardUnrealized Potential of DNA Testing
  • Using DNA To Solve Cold Cases
  • Visible Proofs : Forensic Views of the Body
  • What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence

    Source Links With Annotations

    About.Com Crime/Punishment Page
    Use the search box to retrieve relevant articles, links.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    About.Com Forensic Science Page
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Alan Barbour's Forensic Toxicology Page
    A guide to experts, laboratories, and forensic toxicology experts.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS)
    AAFS is a professional society of international scope that is dedicated to the application of science to the law. AAFS has been in existence for more than 50 years and disseminates news and information through the Journal of Forensic Sciences, annual conferences, and newsletters. The AAFS Web site provides users and members with information on educational requirements for schools that offer undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in forensic science and lists current employment opportunities in the field.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA)
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    American Board of Criminalistics (ABC)
    Criminalistics is the professional and scientific discipline dedicated to the recognition, collection, identification, and individualization of physical evidence and the application of the natural sciences to the matters of the law. The American Board of Criminalistics provides a peer-developed and peer-reviewed certification program, based on assessment of competency using written examinations and proficiency testing. The web site provides more information about the organization's acitivities and a copy of the most recent newsletter.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA)
    Forensic anthropology is the application of the science of physical anthropology to the legal process. The identification of skeletal, badly decomposed, or otherwise unidentified human remains is important for both legal and humanitarian reasons. Forensic anthropologists apply standard scientific techniques developed in physical anthropology to identify human remains, and to assist in the detection of crime. Forensic anthropologists frequently work in conjunction with forensic pathologists, odontologists, and homicide investigators to identify a decedent, discover evidence of foul play, and/or the postmortem interval. In addition to assisting in locating and recovering suspicious remains, forensic anthropologists work to suggest the age, sex, ancestry, stature, and unique features of a decedent from the skeleton. This web page pulls together information about this organization.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    American Board of Forensic Odontology
    The objective of the Board is to establish, enhance, and revise as necessary, standards of qualifications for those who practice forensic odontology, and to certify qualified specialists.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    American Board of Forensic Toxicology
    Forensic toxicology encompasses the measurement of alcohol, drugs and other toxic substances in biological specimens and interpretation of such results in a medicolegal context. The purpose of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology is to establish and enhance voluntary standards for the practice of forensic toxicology and for the examination and recognition of scientists and laboratories providing forensic toxicology services.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    American College of Forensic Examiners (ACFEI)
    "Quincy" this isn't. But if you want to know a little bit about forensic pathologists and examiners -- the people who figure out how people died -- this is a good place to visit. Contrary to popular belief, this site says, forensic examiners do not "win or lose" court cases. But they do try to uphold demanding standards of ethics and personal conduct, something we don't remember seeing all the time on "Quincy." (No dress code, either.) The organization runs its own bulletin board and electronic newsletter -- details are included here. The downer: no catalog of remarkable (or horrifying) cases. Source : Lycos Top 5% Web Review
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD)
    Membership in ASCLD is open to all individuals whose major duties include the management or direction of a crime laboratory, a branch crime laboratory, or a crime laboratory system. A "crime laboratory" is defined as a laboratory which employs one or more full-time scientists whose principal function is the examination of physical evidence for law enforcement agencies in criminal matters and who provide opinion testimony with respect to physical evidence to the Criminal Justice System. The web site features membership and organization information, award and scholarship information, copies of the organization's newsletter, an extensive set of links to other forensic science organizations and associations, and other forensic science web sites.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    American Society of Forensic Odontology (ASFO)
    The objective of this Society shall be to advance the cause of forensic dentistry and to develop and maintain the highest standards of practice. This shall be done via study, discussion, seminars, publications and liaison with other organized agencies.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Association for Crime Scene Reconstruction (ACSR)
    ACSR encourages the exchange of information and procedures useful in the reconstruction of crime scenes and the research and development of new and/or improved methods of crime scene reconstruction. ACSR members represent a broad spectrum of criminal justice interests from around the world, including law enforcement investigators, forensic experts, and educators. At the site, browsers (and in the future, only members) can take part in an online forum that tests their crime scene knowledge. The site also features information on training and conferences and includes links to other forensic-related sites.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners
    AFTE" is an international organization dedicated to the advancement of one of the finest disciplines of Forensic Science......Firearm & Toolmark Identification.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Association of Forensic DNA Analysts and Administrators
    A nonprofit organization composed of professionals engaged in the forensic aspects of DNA analysis for the judicial system. Members include forensic DNA analysts, supervisors and administrators. AFDAA provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information among forensic DNA scientists to:

  • keep current on the methods, techniques, and procedures presently used in the field of forensic science to promote the dissemination of information on research and developments of new techniques within the field
  • discuss the latest legislative issues concerning DNA analysis
  • network with other DNA crime laboratories and personnel
  • obtain formal training and attend guest lectures
  • share and troubleshoot forensic DNA data and/or issues.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Attorney General's Report on the DNA Evidence Backlog
    Supplemental Information
    The Attorney General submitted a report to Congress on April 2, 2004 that found approximately 542,700 criminal cases with biological evidence are awaiting DNA testing. These include 52,000 homicide and 169,000 rape cases. Only 10 percent of the unanalyzed cases are in State or local crime laboratories. The majority remain in the possession of local law enforcement agencies. Poor funding is a frequently cited reason why agencies do not make greater use of DNA analysis. Fifty percent of local law enforcement agencies indicated they did not seek DNA testing either because prosecutors had not asked for it or because a suspect was in custody, suggesting that many law enforcement officials still do not fully appreciate the benefits of DNA analysis to solve cases and ensure successful prosecutions. The findings are based on a nation-wide survey and were reviewed by independent experts.
    The report is accompanied by information from United Kingdom officials that show DNA evidence at property crime scenes increased suspect identification by 44 percent.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    BBC - Crime - Case Closed
    This site gathers profiles of infamous crimes and criminals and shows how forensic science helped to solve the crimes. Some of the criminals profiled include Jeffrey Dalmer, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, and Son of Sam. Cases from the past include the Great Train Robbery, Watergate, and the Millennium Dome Heist. Still available thanks to the Internet Archive.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    A Beginner's Primer on the Investigation of Forensic Evidence
    This primer by Kim Kruglink is designed to help lawyers deal with forensic evidence of all types. Although it is addressed primarily to criminal defense lawyers, it is full of astute observations about the institutional structure of forensic science and problems that common arise in that field. The author is an experienced criminal lawyer based in Mill Valley, California who is well known for successfully litigating cases involving scientific issues. The article includes a discoverable material checklist and a forensic case issue checklist to guide litigators preparing for trial.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Biometrics Research at Michigan State University
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Bloodstain Pattern Analysis via wikipedia
    Bloodstain pattern analysis involves the study of the static consequences (blood splatters) resulting from blood shedding. A wikipedia entry.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Books About Forensic Sciences in the MSU Main Library
    Interested in finding books on forensic sciences that are available for use in the Michigan State University Main Library? The first link provides links to all the books with the Library of Congress subject heading forensic sciences. If you prefer, try the second link, select keyword searching and type in forensic sciences or similar terms for additional possibilities.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    California Association of Criminalists
    The oldest established regional forensic science organization in America.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    California State Coroners' Association
    The best source of information about Coroners, Medical Examiners and Death Investigation. Portions of the web site are restricted to members only.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Canadian Society of Forensic Science
    The Canadian Society of Forensic Science (CSFS) is a non-profit professional organization incorporated to maintain professional standards, and to promote the study and enhance the stature of forensic science. Membership in the society is open internationally to professionals with an active interest in the forensic sciences. It is organized into sections representing diverse areas of forensic examination: Anthropology, Medical, Odontology, Biology, Chemistry, Documents, Engineering and Toxicology. Forensic scientists are routinely involved in investigations of crimes against persons and property, such as homicides, assaults, arson, impaired driving and fraud. Forensic scientists also appear regularly in criminal and civil proceedings and coroner's inquests to give opinion evidence relating to forensic examinations. Special committees of the CSFS address educational, scientific, and legal issues within forensic science and act as advisory bodies to provincial and federal justice ministries.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Cartridge Case Identification
    Like bullets, cartridge cases can be identified as having been fired by a specific firearm. As soon as cartridges are loaded into a firearm the potential for the transfer of unique tool marks exists. However, the cartridge does not have to be fired for these marks to be transferred. Simply loading a cartridge into a firearm can cause unique identifiable marks that can be later identified.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Case of the Barefoot Burglar
    You are an investigator at a crime scene in a middle school science classroom. There has been a break-in and theft. Using math and science, you figure out who the culprit is by measuring feet size to body height ratios, matching teeth impressions to a bite in a piece of chocolate, and learning about dactyloscopy (fingerprinting). Different careers represented are forensic anthropologists, forensic dentists, and forensic chemists. Some materials are in PDF, and there are teacher resources from this Cyberbee project.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    A Clearer Picture of Crime
    The Michigan State Police Forensic Video Clarification Section uses video-enhancing technology to aid investigators when a crime is captured by a camera. Section members, Detective Sergeant Arnett Gadson and Detective Sergeant Bill Torley, are among a handful of officers in the state with the training and equipment to clarify a video image to both identify a suspect and exonerate the innocent. The images aid investigators retrieve important information about a crime and collect tips from the public. The images can also be used as evidence in court. "A video serves as a silent witness to a crime with an unbiased and consistent view," said Detective Sergeant Bill Torley. "Our job is to make the video as easy to watch as possible so it tells the whole story." For additional information or a demonstration, contact: Detective Sergeant Arnett Gadson, Michigan State Police, (734) 525-4281, or Detective Sergeant Bill Torley, Michigan State Police, (734) 525-4395.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Convicted by Juries, Exonerated by Science: Case Studies in the Use of DNA Evidence to Establish Innocence
    A 118-page NIJ Research Report by Edward Connors, Thomas Lundregan, Neal Miller, and Tom McEwen. published in June 1996. 118pp.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Crime and Clues: the Art and Science of Criminal Investigation
    Contains current news items, links to crime scene investigation web pages, evidence web pages, etc. Compiled and maintained by Daryl W. Clemens of Grand Rapids, MI.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Crime Laboratories entry from Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment, Vol. 1, 2002
    Provides commentary on various topics such as Historical Perspective, Crime Laboratories, Fbi Crime Laboratory, Engineering Research Facility, Sniper Attacks, and Solving Old Mysteries.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Crime Scene and Evidence Photography
    Excellent collection of articles and web links on crime scene photography.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Crime Scene Investigation
    By Steven Staggs, Police Department, University of California. Contains information on crime scene photography, crime scene response guidelines, collection and preservation of evidence, evidence collection guidelines, and links to additional forensic science web sites.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Crime Scene Investigations
    By M/Sgt Hayden B. Baldwin, Illinois State Police, and Director of Forensic Enterprises, Inc.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Crime Solving Tool Stymied By Lab Backlogs
    DNA testing is a powerful new crime-solving tool. But in many states, lack of funding is keeping police and prosecutors from using it as effectively as possible. Article by Tiffany Danitz, Staff Writer, May 23, 2002, appearing in Stateline.org
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    CrimeLynx Forensic Science Links
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Criminal and Environmental Soil Forensics
    Soils have important roles to play in criminal and environmental forensic science. Since the initial concept of using soil in forensic investigations was mooted by Conan Doyle in his Sherlock Holmes stories prior to real-world applications, this branch of forensic science has become increasingly sophisticated and broad. New techniques in chemical, physical, biological, ecological and spatial analysis, coupled with informatics, are being applied to reducing areas of search by investigators, site identification, site comparison and measurement for the eventual use as evidence in court. Soils can provide intelligence, in assisting the determination of the provenance of samples from artifacts, victims or suspects, enabling their linkage to locations or other evidence. They also modulate change in surface or buried cadavers and hence affect the ability to estimate post-mortem or post-burial intervals, and locate clandestine graves. This interdisciplinary volume explores the conceptual and practical interplay of soil and geoforensics across the scientific, investigative and legal fields. Supported by reviews, case-studies from across the world, and reports of original research, it demonstrates the increasing convergence of a wide range of knowledge. It covers conceptual issues, evidence (from recovery to use in court), geoforensics, taphonomy, as well as leading-edge technologies. The application of the resultant soil forensics toolbox is leading to significant advances in improving crime detection, and environmental and national security.
    Available to MSU faculty and students via SpringerLink. Karl Ritz, Lorna Dawson, David Miller, eds. Springer. 520pp. 2009.
    Available to MSU faculty and students via SpringerLink. 2009.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    CSI: Crime Seen, Investigated from the Why Files
    Caution, not for the weak of stomach, because this site has some graphic images and descriptions of flesh eating bugs, decomposing bodies, and other grisly tidbits important to forensic entomologists. Some of the tame parts include analyzing handwriting, word choice, punctuation, hand "control," personality analysis, ultraviolet light analysis, and radiocarbon dating of notes from serial killers. This site is designed with teachers and students in mind, as there are discussion questions, lesson plans and online activities for middle and high school students tied to national teaching standards in science and technology.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    CSI : the Really Early Years
    The craft of forensic science dates back centuries, according to an online exhibition at the National Library of Medicine.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    David Willshire's Forensic Psychology & Psychiatry Links
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Death Investigation: A Guide for the Scene Investigator
    The sudden or unexplained death of an individual has a profound impact on families and friends of the deceased and places significant responsibility on the agencies tasked with determining the cause of death. Increasingly, science and technology play a key role in death investigations. One of the hallmarks of science is adherence to clear and well-grounded protocols.
    In many jurisdictions, responsibility for conducting death investigations may rest with pathologists, medical examiners, or coroners, in addition to their other duties. There is little training available in the best procedures for handling these crucial and sensitive tasks. To help fill the gap, the National Institute of Justice, joined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, supported the development of the guidelines presented in this report. Nov. 1999. 57pp, NCJ 167568. 55pp.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    DNA Analysis for "Minor" Crimes: A Major Benefit for Law Enforcement
    When law enforcement officers arrive at the scene of a major crime, they routinely collect biological evidence: blood, semen, hair strands. The evidence goes to the crime lab, where forensic technicians analyze the DNA and run the "profile" against the national, State, or local DNA database, hoping to get a "hit" or match that will help bring the offender to justice. Murders and sexual assaults receive top priority for DNA analysis, and officers routinely look for biological evidence at these crime scenes. Property crimes, on the other hand, are a different story. In many cases, officers do not routinely collect biological evidence at property crime scenes -- perhaps because they assume burglars do not leave DNA, or because departmental policies do not authorize that samples be taken at property crime scenes. But that may change. Edwin Zedlewski and Mary B. Murphy, NIJ Journal No. 253, January 2006.
    (Last checked 02/04/06)

    DNA Evidence : How DNA Evidence Works
    Courtesy of FindLaw.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    DNA Field Experiment : Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the Use of DNA in the Investigation of High-Volume Crimes
    The study compared traditional crime solving to biological evidence techniques in hundreds of cases where biological evidence was available. When conventional investigative techniques were used, a suspect was identified 12 percent of the time, compared to 31 percent of the cases using DNA evidence. In eight percent of cases built on traditional evidence alone a suspect was arrested, compared to the 16 percent arrest rate in DNA cases. The average added cost for processing a single case with DNA evidence was about $1,397. Each additional arrest -- an arrest that would not have occurred without DNA processing -- cost $14,169. John Roman et al., Urban Institute, April 1, 2008.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    This web page offers a wealth of information about funding, training, publications, and other resources related to the use of DNA technology in solving crimes, protecting the innocent, and identifying missing persons. Visitors to the site can learn more about the President's DNA Initiative, Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    DNA Policy
    DNA and the Criminal Justice System Community of Practice is a Harvard-based project to create a forum for the exchange of views and information among those interested in this area. Its aim is to assist these individuals and institutions in managing the challenges that the use of DNA in the criminal justice system pose. Requires registration.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    DNA Survives Bomb Blast
    Michigan State University analyzes fragments of DNA on exploded bomb materials. "What we're looking at is do people leave behind enough cellular material,enough DNA, when they assemble that bomb, and screw it together and fiddle with all the parts, that we can go back, and once the device is detonated, can we go back and see who assembled that bomb?" says David Foran, director of the forensic science program at MSU. "Top Technology Video Clip" from Discovery Channel on Discovery.com/tech.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    DNA Testing: An Introduction for Non-Scientists - An Illustrated Explanation
    This primer on DNA evidence by Donald E. Riley of the University of Washington (1998) is designed to help people who are new to the area get up to speed quickly on the technology and terminology involved in forensic DNA testing.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    The Emerging Role of the Forensic Engineer
    PDF plug in required.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Evidence Collection in Crime Scene Investigations
    Includes numerous links to articles about evidence collection and examination, including:

  • Evidence Collection Guidelines
  • Developing and Lifting Latent Footwear Impressions by Mike Byrd
  • Detecting OC Spray with an Alternative Light Source by H.W. "Rus" Ruslander
  • Searching and Examining a Major Case Crime Scene by H.W. "Rus" Ruslander
  • Dead Body Evidence Checklist
  • Practical Methods for Processing a Vehicle by Agnes Sarisky
  • Ridge Detail at the Crime Scene by Mike Byrd
  • DNA -- The next generation technology by Mike Byrd
  • Written Documentation at a Crime Scene by Mike Byrd
  • Proper Tagging and Labeling of Evidence for Later Identification by Mike Byrd
  • Innovative Evidence Identification Markers by Mike Byrd
  • Simple Tire Standards Collection by Mike Byrd
  • Footwear Evidence by Dwayne S. Hilderbrand
  • Protecting the Crime Scene by George Schiro
  • Examination and Documentation of the Crime Scene by George Schiro
  • Collection and Preservation of Evidence by George Schiro
  • Special Considerations for Sexual Assault Evidence by George Schiro
  • Collection and Preservation of Blood Evidence from Crime Scenes by George Schiro
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Evidence Photographers International Council, Inc. (EPIC)
    EPIC is a non-profit organization established in 1968 for the advancement of evidence photography, and remains today the only professional organization of its kind. Whether an expert or novice in the field of photography, EPIC provides you with the know-how to further develop your skills and knowledge in the field of civil and law enforcement forensic photography. As an EPIC member, you will join a select group of the leading evidence photographers working today, who will share their experience and knowledge with you. You will get working tips and learn professional secrets, the cumulative knowledge of years of practical work by evidence experts. Evidence photography is a specialty that can be extremely lucrative. There are literally dozens of markets for evidence photographs. Legal firms, insurance companies, law enforcement agencies, medical labs, and many others pay substantial fees for the right kind of photos. As a result of recent high profile cases that have brought to the spotlight the need for good forensic evidence, evidence photographers are increasingly in demand.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Expert Forensic Toxicologists
    A page maintained by Alan Barbour. Experts submit information voluntarily.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    FBI Laboratory Home Page
    Contains links to a collection of significant cases handled by the laboratory, full text issues of Forensic Science Communications, annual report, etc.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    FBI Laboratory Report: An Investigation

    into Laboratory Practices and Alleged Misconduct in

    Explosives-Related and Other Cases (April, 1997)

    Includes web links.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Fingerprint Evidence
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Firearms Tutorial
    No matter which side you take on the sale and use of firearms in this country, the fact remains that you will encounter the results of firearms injuries. This tutorial is designed to give you a working knowledge of the types of firearms, the types of ammunition used, the nature of injuries that can be produced in the body, and the investigative techniques employed by the forensic pathologist in assessing firearms injuries. Courtesy of the University of Utah.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Committee on Scientific Assessment of Bullet Lead Elemental Composition Comparison, Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, Division of Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council of the National Academies. Washington, D.C. : National Academies Press, 2004. 214pp. Main Library Stacks HV8077 .N38 2004
    Since the 1960s, FBI testimony in thousands of criminal cases has relied on evidence from Compositional Analysis of Bullet Lead (CABL), a forensic technique that compares the elemental composition of bullets found at a crime scene to the elemental composition of bullets found in a suspect's possession. The report assesses the scientific validity of CABL, finding that the FBI should use a different statistical analysis for the technique, and that, given variations in bullets manufacturing processes, expert witnesses should make clear the very limited conclusions that CABL results can support.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Art
    Cliche as it may be, dead men most certainly do tell tales, as ForensicArtist.com demonstrates in a flash of Flash. Watch as experts bring faces to the skulls of those long dead, or use advanced computer techniques to determine what suspects might look like years after a photo was taken.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Associations and Organizations
    Provides annotations describing each association or organization, address information, plus web links whenever possible. A subsection of Forensic Sciences Resources.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic DNA Fundamentals for the Prosecutor -- Be Not Afraid
    Lisa R. Kreeger. American Prosecutors Research Institute. Nov. 2003, 39pp. Copyright request #2028
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Entomology Page, International
    This site was created in order to assist in the education of crime scene technicians, homicide investigators, coroners, medical examiners, and others involved in the death investigation process. A basic knowledge of the general appearance of insect of forensic importance, and a basic understanding of the proper methods for their collection, will allow investigators to make accurate and representative collections from the death scene. Enhanced knowledge on the behalf of law enforcement officials will provide for better communication between police, medical examiners, coroners, and forensic entomologists. Hopefully, improved communication will promote more frequent use of entomological resources, and more accurate collection of entomological evidence. This will allow forensic entomologists to be more precise in their statements and determinations, particularly in the area of postmortem interval estimations. Those involved in crime scene analysis and the death investigation process are encouraged to use this site as a reference resource to enhance their investigation efforts. It is impossible to determine when insect evidence my prove useful in a death investigation. Therefore, all law enforcement agencies should assemble a "Entomological Evidence Collection Kit" so that they are prepared in the event entomological evidence is encountered during any crime scene investigation.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Evidence.Com in the New Millenium
    An information center in forensic science, law, and public policy for lawyers, forensic scientists, educators, and public officials. Andre E. Moenssens, University of Missouri-Kansas City.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Examination of Digital Evidence: A Guide for Law Enforcement
    This guide is intended for use by members of the law enforcement community who are responsible for the examination of digital evidence. The guide, published as an NIJ Special Report, is the second in a series of guides on investigating electronic crime (see also Electronic Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for Law Enforcement). It deals with common situations encountered during the processing and handling of digital evidence and can be used to help agencies develop their own policies and procedures.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Handwriting Analysis: An Analytical Bibliography
    This is an exhastive list of tomes, and covers every conceivable subject relating to handwriting, from the different types of "handwriting implements" (such as pens and pencils), to various influences on natural handwriting (such as age, gender, whether one is left-handed or right-handed and where one learned to write). Bibliography compiled by Tom Davis, Birmingham University Library. Annotation by David Frey.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Psychiatry & Medicine
    This page by Dr. Harold J. Bursztajn describes how expert psychiatric opinions are formed, and how they can be useful outside of the courtroom setting; for instance, to establish damages in sexual harassment cases, or to determine whether an American with Disabilities Act claimant in fact has an obsessive-compulsive disorder. This site also has a special page for criminal justice containing articles that provide a deeper analysis of forensic psychiatry. Also included: a sample of actual court testimony by an expert regarding diminished capacity; information on the use of forensic psychiatric testimony to affect sentencing; the current law on jury instructions regarding the use of forensic psychiatric testimony; and a handbook entitled "Preventing Workplace Violence." Annotation by David Frey.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Science 2.0 : 100 Top Websites to Bookmark
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Science Graduate Education Programs in the United States
    Includes the program at Michigan State.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Science : In the Spotlight
    The extensive use of biological evidence to identify victims and offenders has had a significant bearing, in recent years, on the course of law enforcement investigations, criminal court proceedings, and victim service provider issues. DNA evidence arguably has become the most well-known type of forensic evidence, probably because it can be uniquely identifying and because it is the genetic blueprint of the human body. For these reasons, DNA evidence has become a highly influential piece of the crime puzzle (The Future of Forensic DNA Testing: Predictions of the Research and Development Working Group , National Institute of Justice, 2000).
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Science Portal
    A Canadian collection of resources.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Science Resource Guide in a Criminal Fact Investigation
    Describes books, web links, and other resources. HTML modifications and additions by R. Scott Carpenter notwithstanding, this resource was derived from a bibliography compiled by Gary Eldredge, Criminal Investigations, 100 French St., New Orleans, LA 70124 and distributed at the National Legal Aid & Defender Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, December, 1995.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Sciences Resources
    Through this web site compiled by R. Scott Carpenter, users can link to information on most forensic science sub-specialties, including anthropology, medicine, arson investigation, crime scene investigation, criminalistics and trace elements, chemistry, toxicology, entomology, odontology (teeth), DNA analysis, imaging and psychiatry, and ethics and forensic science.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Science Resources
    A compilation of interesting resources from a recent college graduate, Emily Sztaab. For more information contact her at emily.sztaab@gmail.com
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Science Society

  • Contains history and membership information about the Forensic Science Society, a British organization formed to foster communication in England as well as internationally.
  • Contains copies of Interfaces, the Newsletter of the Forensic Science Society.
  • Contains copies of Science and Justice, the Journal of the Forensic Science Society.
  • Contains World List, describing over 630 laboratories in 75 nations.
  • Contains Forensic WebLinks Search Engine
  • Contains Forensic Web Yellow Pages.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Scientists: A Career in the Crime Lab
    An article by Dillon Hall appearing in Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Fall 1999, Vol. 43, No. 3
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Toxicologist Certification Board
    The mission of the Forensic Toxicologist Certification Board, Incorporated is to enhance the professionalism of practitioners in areas of forensic toxicology including Forensic Toxicology, Forensic Alcohol Toxicology and Forensic Drug Toxicology. The mission is to be achieved through educational and certification objectives.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensic Toxicology Laboratories
    A compilation by Alan Barbour.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Forensics: The Investigative Science
    This ThinkQuest site is about four specific divisions of forensic science: fingerprint identification, blood detection, DNA detection, and fiber classification. Many crimes are solved and criminals convicted (or exonerated) based on scientific conclusions to tests run by trained scientists. After you delve into each section, try the quiz to see if you are on the path to becoming a forensic scientist.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Fundamentals of Firearms ID
    Studies have shown that no two firearms, even those of the same make and model, will produce the same unique marks on fired bullets and cartridge cases. Manufacturing processes, use, and abuse leave surface characteristics within the firearm that cannot be exactly reproduced in other firearms.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    The Future of DNA Testing:
    Predictions of the Research and Development Working Group
    This NIJ Issues and Practices report discusses past and present techniques in forensic DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) analysis, the most likely technical advances in the forthcoming decade, and assesses the impact of these advances on forensic DNA analysis. The report, the work of the Research and Development Working Group of the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence, discusses projected 2-year, 5-year, and 10-year milestones for DNA technology. November 2000.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Handbook of Forensic Services
    The purpose of the Handbook of Forensic Services is to provide guidance and procedures for safe and efficient methods of collecting and preserving evidence and to describe the forensic examinations performed by the FBI Laboratory. Revised 2007.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    How Bloodstain Analysis Works
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    How DNA Evidence Works
    Howstuffworks, Inc. presents the full text of the article entitled "How DNA Evidence Works," by An Meeker-O'Connell. The author discusses how to prove that a suspect's DNA matches a sample left at the scene of a crime, how to create a DNA profile, and the calculation of a DNA profile frequency. The author also details the uses of DNA evidence, including proving guilt, paternity testing, identifying bodies, and studying inherited disorders.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Identifying Victims Using DNA: A Guide for Families
    This 8-page booklet is an overview of DNA analysis for friends and family of missing persons to help them understand the process forensic scientists go through to identify human remains. The booklet explains what DNA analysis can and cannot do, describes the sources of DNA that forensic scientists might use, and explains the differences between nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. April 2005.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Increasing Efficiency in Crime Laboratories
    To address backlog challenges, some laboratories have begun implementing managerial advances such as process mapping, an efficiency forum, and business process management. The NIJ In Short "Increasing Efficiency in Crime Laboratories" (NCJ 220336, 4 pp.) describes how laboratories across the country have successfully used these techniques to reduce backlogs.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Innocense Project
    There have been 218 post-conviction DNA exonerations in United States history. These stories are becoming more familiar as more innocent people gain their freedom through postconviction testing. They are not proof, however, that our system is righting itself.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    International Association for Identification
    The International Association for Identification (IAI) strives to be the primary professional association for those engaged in forensic identification, investigation, and scientific examination of physical evidence.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts
    Violent crimes can result in bloodshed. When liquid blood is acted upon by physical forces, bloodstains and bloodstain patterns may be deposited on various surfaces, including the clothing of the individuals present at the crime scene. These bloodstain patterns can yield valuable information concerning the events which lead to their creation when examined by a qualified analyst. The information gained can then be used for the reconstruction of the incident and the evaluation of the statements of the witnesses and the crime participants. The IABPA is an organization of forensic experts specializing in the field of bloodstain pattern analysis. The purpose of this page is to introduce you to the IABPA and inform you about our organization.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    International Association of Forensic Toxicologists
    This 40 years old association groups over 1400 members from all regions of the world. The aims of this association are to promote cooperation and coordination of efforts among members and to encourage research in forensic toxicology. The members come from the police force, medical examiners and coroners' laboratories, horseracing and sports doping laboratories, hospitals, departments of legal medicine, pharmacology, pharmacy and toxicology.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    International Homicide Investigators Association
    The International Homicide Investigators Association was founded during a 1988 VICAP (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program) international homicide symposium that was sponsored by the Federal bureau of Investigation at Quantico, Virginia. This symposium brought together an elite group of professionals from around the world that represented all disciplines involved in death investigation. The organization is now the largest and fastest growing organization of homicide and death investigation professionals in the world and has representation from the United States as well as 16 other nations. The primary mission of the International Homicide Investigators Association is to assist and support law enforcement agencies and death investigation professionals by providing leadership, training, resources, and expertise that will enhance their ability to solve cases. Successful death investigation not only requires vast resources and expertise, it depends upon inter-agency and inter-disciplinary cooperation and partnerships. The diversity of the IHIA membership, in both disciplines and geography, greatly enhances our ability to address the myriad of complex issues facing homicide and death investigators in today's world.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Kruglick's Forensic Resource and Criminal Law Page
    Provides links to over 1000 forensic science and criminal justice resources.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Latent Print Examination
    A compilation of web resources on fingerprints, palmprints, and footprints by Ed German of Forest Park, Ga.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Lessons Learned From 9/11: DNA Identification in Mass Fatality Incidents
    On the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the National Institute of Justice has released this new report prepared by a panel of the Nation's top forensic scientists. The report reviews the scientists' experiences and offers guidance to laboratory directors on how to respond to future mass fatality events. (NCJ 214781)" (142 pages, PDF)
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Locating Forensic Science Experts
    A subsection of Forensic Sciences Resources compiled by R. Scott Carpenter.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Mass Fatality Incidents: A Guide for Human Forensic Identification
    In a mass fatality incident, correct victim identification is essential to satisfy humanitarian considerations, meet civil and criminal investigative needs, and identify victim perpetrators. This 96-page Special Report provides medical examiners/coroners with guidelines for preparing the portion of the disaster plan concerned with victim identification and summarizes the victim identification process for other first responders. It discusses the integration of the medical examiner/coroner into the initial response process, and presents the roles of various forensic disciplines (including forensic anthropology, radiology, odontology, fingerprinting, and DNA analysis) in victim identification. This guide represents the experience of dozens of Federal, State, international, and private forensic experts who took part in the Technical Working Group for Mass Fatality Forensic Identification. Technical Working Group for Mass Fatality Forensic Identification, June 2005. 83pp.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Medicolegal Death Investigator
    A Proquest Discovery guide
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Michigan-Ontario Identification Association
    The Michigan-Ontario Identification Association unites police forensic specialists in the pursuit of a single goal: Justitia Per Scientiam, or Justice Through Science (our motto). We are committed to the advancement of scientific crime detection through informing its' members of the latest training and research advances, as well as coming together at our annual seminars to discuss common problems and solutions to those problems. Our website also contains useful articles and links for the scientific investigator. Our parent organization, the IAI, provides certification programs in various forensic disciplines such as crime scene investigation, fingerprint identification, etc.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division
    The division is comprised of 7 laboratories and 9 additional locations which provide polygraph testing services. State-of-the-art forensic laboratory services, including crime scene and 'post-blast' investigations, drug analysis, document examination, polygraph testing, latent print examination, AFIS, DNA analysis, toxicology analysis, blood/alcohol analysis, firearms and toolmark examination, arson evidence analysis, and serology and trace evidence analysis are provided to division clientele. Division employees also appear in court to provide expert testimony regarding the evidence and analytical procedures used. Members of our "bomb squad" are called upon to 'render-safe' improvised explosive devices and on occasion unexploded military ordinance. Analysts in the laboratory system are continually updating their analytical skills and capabilities to meet the ever developing technological advancements in forensic science. During 1996, the Forensic Science Division personnel processed in excess of 58,400 total cases, responded to 534 crime and bomb scenes, and offered expert testimony in 1045 court cases. The web site also offers information about position vacancies with the agency as well as links to additional web resources.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Michigan State University Forensic Science Master's Degree Program
    Includes information about MSU's Forensic Science program, forensic science programs around the world, links to other forensic science sites, list serves, news groups, employment info.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists
    The purpose of MAFS is to encourage the exchange of ideas and information within the forensic sciences by improving contacts between people and laboratories engaged in forensic science. MAFS supports and stimulates research and development of new and/or improved techniques, and works to promote the improvement of professional expertise of persons working in the field of forensic science through education, scientific seminars and research grants.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Your gateway to the most comprensive and searchable database of 300+ forensic science degree programs on the internet, including Michigan State's. Our researchers analyze information from authoritative sources in the forensic science and acedemic communities - including the American Academy of Forensic Science, National Institute of Justice, and American Chemical Society - and release their results publicly on this website.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    National Association of Medical Examiners
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    National Center for Forensic Science
    The National Center for Forensic Science provides research, education, training, tools and technology to meet the current and future needs of the forensic science, investigative and criminal justice communities." This website provides databases of ignitable liquids reference collection as well as information regarding digital, physical, and biological evidence.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence
    The Commission will use this site to make public announcements about meetings, agendas, locations and times, to provide minutes of Commission meetings, and summaries of Working Group meetings. Recommendations, reports and other work-products of the Commission will also be available through this site. Future site development will include biographical sketches of the Commission members, links to sites with related interests, such as the DNA Advisory Board, and other information..
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    National Forensic Laboratory Information System
    The site provides annual, mid-year, and special reports produced by the NFLIS project.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC)
    The National Forensic Science Technology Center is dedicated to supporting forensic laboratories achieve the highest possible quality of operations. Learn more about NFSTC - our members, our people, and our history via our web site. The organization is currently refocusing on Quality Systems Support and Continuing Education. NFSTC's office also serves as the contact point for The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN)
    Through its National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) Program, ATF deploys Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS) equipment into Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies for their use in imaging and comparing crime gun evidence." This site provides overview of the NIBIN program and success stories of the program.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    New Jersey Association of Forensic Scientists
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    New Technology Solves Old Cases

    Discusses vacuum metal deposition, a new technique for lifting fingerprints. An online article by Bill Clede which originally appeared in the June 1997 issue of Law and Order.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists (NEAFS)
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Northwest Association of Forensic Scientists (NWAFS)
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    An Online Guide to the Forensic Sciences
    An article by David Frey, Assistant District Attorney in the Appeals Bureau, Richmond County District Attorney's Office, appearing in the June 15, 1998 issue of the New York Law Journal.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Postconviction DNA Testing
    Recommendations for handling requests.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Proficiency Testing and the Estimation of Error Rates in Forensic DNA Laboratories

    Features the article "Proficiency Testing and the Estimation of Error Rates in Forensic DNA Laboratories" by Jerry C. Lyell. Discusses the error rates of DNA evidence analysis. Still available thanks to the Internet Archive.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Reddy's Forensic Home Page
    Excellent collection of resources compiled by Reddy P. Chamakura, forensic scientist/document examiner with New York City Police Department, Police Laboratory. Web links are sorted into the following categories: general forensic interest, forensic science organizations, forensic science journals, colleges/universities with forensic programs, job opportunities, forensic science laboratories, law enforcement agencies, forensic home pages, forensic chemistry/narcotics, mass spectometry, fingerprints, ballistics/firearms, microscopy, crime scene processing/investigation/photography, arson, DNA, toxicology, questioned documents, digital photography/imaging, image enhancing, web publishing/internet, forensic mailing lists, etc.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Report to the Attorney General on Delays in Forensic DNA Analysis
    Although crime laboratories have made enormous progress in reducing the number of unanalyzed convicted offender samples for DNA databases, they continue to be deluged with analysis requests. This NIJ report presents the results of a task force, convened by NIJ at the request of Attorney General John Ashcroft, to assess existing DNA analysis delays and develop recommendations for eliminating those delays. The report details six recommendations that will serve as the foundation of a comprehensive, national DNA backlog reduction strategy.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    A Resource Guide to Law Enforcement, Corrections, and Forensic Technologies (fNCJ186822)
    This Guide provides a useful, focused picture of OJP and COPS Office activities in the field of law enforcement, corrections, and forensic science technology. The Guide is designed to be a ready reference to help local administrators make informed decisions regarding current and emerging technologies. Users of this Guide--police, prison, and public safety officials; crime lab directors; and members of city, county, and State legislative and administrative bodies charged with overseeing law enforcement or corrections agencies will find reliable, up-to-date information and sources for answers to a wide range of questions.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Scholars Challenge the Infallibility of Fingerprints
    Note : requires subscription
    For over a century, the recovery and analysis of fingerprints has been a key tool in criminal investigations. The link between fingerprint and identity was forged in 1888 by Sir Francis Galton. a British scientist and mathematician who invented the science of fingerprint identification. Galton calculated the likelihood of two identical fingerprints at one in 64 billion, and ushered in the modern era of a practice that dated back to 14th-century China by noting that prints could be matched through the intersections, splits, and other "minutiae" formed by the ridges on the fingertips. Today examiners still work with these minutiae, which are also called "ridge characteristics," "points of similarity," and "Galton details." Galton assumed that each person's fingerprints were unique. But scholars such as Simon A. Cole, an assistant professor of criminology, law, and society at the University of California at Irvine, note that Galton's assertion has never been scientifically validated. Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, November 13, 2006
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    A Simplified Guide to Bloodstain Analysis
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT)
    The Society of Forensic Toxicologists, Inc. (SOFT) is an organization composed of practicing forensic toxicologists and those interested in the discipline for the purpose of promoting and developing forensic toxicology.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Southern Association of Forensic Scientists (SAFS)
    SAFS is the oldest of the regional forensic scientist associations with the exception of the California Association of Criminalists. SAFS is an organization of practicing forensic scientists. To gain voting membership in SAFS it is essential that a prospective member have given expert testimony in some court of the criminal justice system, or have advanced the cause of forensic science in some significant manner.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Southern California Association of Fingerprint Officers
    This nonprofit organization was founded in 1937 with forty charter members dedicated to the profession of fingerprint identification. This Southern California association has more than 300 members from more than 50 different law enforcement agencies. As of January 1, 1997, this website became operational. Within this site you will find a great deal of information (more than 200 articles) for professionals in the field of fingerprints or "Friction Ridge Identification", law enforcement personnel and administrators, the judiciary, students, and the public in general. This website is dedicated to providing the online community with a credible source of information about a subject that, as professionals, we find fascinating. Includes "The Print", the organization's newsletter.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Southern California Association of Forensic Scientists (SCAFS)
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Southwestern Association of Forensic Document Examiners
    The Southwestern Association of Forensic Document Examiners is devoted to a discipline which involves the examination of documents to determine authenticity and/or authorship. This includes comparison of handwriting; detection of alterations, obliterations, or indented writing; differentiation of inks; and examination of machine-generated documents.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists (SWAFS)
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Speckin Forensic Laboratories
    Local firm in Okemos, Michigan. Roger J. Bolhouse, Laboratory Director, is an adjunct faculty member at MSU.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward
    National Academies of Science, March 2009.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    Law Enforcement Forensic Laboratory
    A web site maintained by Stu Mitchell at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ashland, Oregon. Contains links to educational institutions, government entities, commercial organizations and other groups relating to forensic science.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    The Unrealized Potential of DNA Testing
    DNA testing has become an established part of criminal justice procedure, and the admissibility of the test results in court has become routine. The Unrealized Potential of DNA Testing discusses how DNA testing has opened up new sources of forensic evidence, but its full potential to identify perpetrators and exonerate people falsely convicted has yet to be realized. For this to be done requires further advances in testing technology and in systems to collect and process the evidence, which includes expanding forensic DNA testing to new types of useful biological evidence; recovering and analyzing new types of DNA evidence; increasing law enforcement resources by supplying additional funds to clear up lab backlogs; and finding less time-consuming and costly testing methods. Includes text and pdf links. Victor Walter Weedn and John W. Hicks, NIJ Research in Action, June 1998. 14pp.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Using DNA to Solve Cold Cases
    This NIJ Special Report serves as a practical resource for law enforcement personnel who review old, cold, or unsolved cases that may be solved through the use of DNA technology and databases. The report looks at the science and technology of DNA testing and databases and provides background information on legal and practical considerations for applying DNA technology to unsolved cases. It also delivers a step-by-step process to help investigators select cases that would most likely be solved with DNA evidence. National Institutes of Justice. October 2002.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Visible Proofs : Forensic Views of the Body
    The National Library of Medicine has created a site about forensic medicine. Not for the squeamish, this site delves into autopsies, anatomical specimens, and body decomposition. There are 15 forensic cases presented for your investigation, biographies of people who were instrumental in developing processes such as fingerprint identification and toxicology, and other technologies of forensic medicine. Three online activities and three lesson plans introduce forensic medicine, anthropology, technology, and history.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence
    With the exception of identical twins, every person's DNA is different -- this has made DNA samples one of the most important pieces of evidence from crime scenes. What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence describes the need for investigators to have fundamental knowledge about identifying, preserving, and collecting DNA to help solve cases. This NIJ brochure also discusses CODIS (COmbined DNA Index System), an electronic database of DNA profiles that can identify suspects. September 1999.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    Why Files on Forensic Science
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    World of Forensic Science
    A convenient, comprehensive guide to the scientific processes and the legal, social and ethical issues involved in the forensic sciences. Approximately 600 entries cover the individuals, techniques, and principles of biology, chemistry, law, medicine, physics, computer science, geology, and psychology involved in the multidisciplinary approach of examining crime scenes and evidence to be used in legal proceedings. Access restricted to MSU faculty and students or subscribers. 2005.
    Note: it may be necessary to click twice on the link before it loads due to problems with GaleNet.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)

    World Wide Web Virtual Library : Forensic Technology
    Forensic Toxicology is, quite literally, the use of toxicology in courts of law. This is most often understood to mean the analysis of alcohol, drugs, and poisons in body fluids and the interpretation of those analytical results for the benefit of the courts.
    (Last checked 04/21/14)


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