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The Cyber Exchange Principle

Dr. Edmond Locard

Dr. Edmond Locard

 

The cornerstone of forensic science is known as the Locard Exchange Principle. Edmond Locard (1877-1966) studied and developed his investigative skills under the great forensic pioneer Alexandre Lacassagne and later headed the forensic laboratory in Lyon, France. His observations led him to conclude that criminals always left traces of themselves at crime scenes. And took evidence away when they departed. This became the foundation of his exchange principle.

 

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FROM FORENSICS FOR DUMMIES, 2nd EDITION:

The Cornerstone of Forensic Science: Locard’s Exchange Principle

Every contact you make with another person, place, or object results in an exchange of physical materials. If you own a pet, this material exchange is well known to you. Look at your clothes and you’re likely to see cat or dog hair clinging to the fabric—a pain in the behind if you want to keep your clothes looking sharp, but an incredible boon for forensic science. You may also find that you transfer these hairs to your car, your office, and any other place you frequent.

Known as the Locard Exchange Principle, after Dr. Edmond Locard, the French police officer who first noticed it, the exchange of materials is the basis of modern forensic investigation. Using this principle, forensic scientists can determine where a suspect has been by analyzing trace evidence (any small piece of evidence), such as fibers on clothing, hair in a car, or gunk on the soles of shoes.

Looking at Locard’s principle in action:

As an example, say that you have two children and a cat. You run out to take care of some errands that include stopping at a furniture store, the laundry, and the house of a friend who has one child and a dog. From a forensic science standpoint, this sequence of events can provide a gold mine of information.

You leave behind a little bit of yourself at each stop, including

* Hair from yourself, your children, and your cat

* Fibers from your clothing and the carpets and furniture in your home and

car

* Fingerprints and shoe prints

* Dirt and plant matter from your shoes

* Biological materials, if you accidentally cut yourself and leave a drop of

blood on the floor or sneeze into a tissue and then drop it in a trash can

But that’s not all. You also pick up similar materials everywhere you go:

* Fibers from each sofa or chair you sat on at the furniture store ride away

on your clothes, as do hair and fibers left behind by customers who sat

there before you.

* Fibers of all types flow through the air and ventilation system and settle on

each customer at the laundry.

* Hair from your friend, her child, and her dog latch on to you as do fibers

from your friend’s carpet and furniture.

* Fibers, hairs, dirt, dust, plant material, and gravel are collected by your

shoes and pants everywhere you set foot.

In short, by merely running errands, you become a walking trace evidence

factory.

Today, many crimes have at least some cyber component—cell phones, computers, e mails. text messages, etc. Does the cyber world also have such a cyber exchange principle? Yes it does and it’s actually quite extensive.

Forensic Magazine article: http://www.forensicmag.com/articles/2011/12/digital-forensics-cyber-exchange-principle#.UtFmzHn4VTE

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Crime and Science Radio: Building a Better Law Enforcement: An Interview with Chief Scott LaChasse, Burbank Police Department

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BIO: Scott LaChasse has 36 years of experience in law enforcement and security. He joined the Burbank Police Department as Interim Chief in January, 2010 and was named permanent Chief in April, 2013.  Chief LaChasse worked for the Los Angeles Police Department from 1970-2002, most recently holding the position of Deputy Chief. In this capacity, he managed almost 1,600 personnel in South Los Angeles.

During his tenure at the LAPD, he held a variety of high-profile positions including Commanding Officer for the Criminal Intelligence, Narcotics, and Uniformed Services Groups. He also served as Assistant Commanding Officer of Operations for the Valley Bureau where he administered the activities of 1,800 personnel in the San Fernando Valley.

His resume includes work as the Vice President of Security and Emergency Services for Paramount Pictures and Corporate Manager for Regulatory Compliance at Southern California Edison.

Chief LaChasse is a member of several organizations including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, FBI National Academy Associates, California Peace Officers Association, William H. Parker Los Angeles Police Foundation, Chief Special Agents Association, California Police Chiefs Association, Challengers Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors, Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County Executive Board, and Los Angeles Police Museum Board of Directors. He also provides instruction nationally and internationally to public officials and law enforcement officers on the command of critical incidents.

Chief LaChasse earned his Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles, and his Master’s in Public Administration from The University of Southern California. A longtime supporter of forensic science in Los Angeles County, he is on the Advisory Board of the California Forensic Science Institute at CSULA and is honored in the CSFI Hall of Fame for his work on behalf of forensic science research, training, and education.

LISTEN: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2016/03/01/crime-and-science-radio-with-special-guest-scott-lachasse

Link Goes Live Saturday 4-9-16 at 10 a.m. Pacific

LINKS:

LAPD: http://www.lapdonline.org

LAPD Organization Chart: http://www.lapdonline.org/inside_the_lapd/content_basic_view/1063

Burbank Police Department: http://www.burbankpd.org

City of Burbank: http://www.burbankca.gov

International Association of Chiefs of Police: http://www.iacp.org

California Police Chiefs Association: http://www.californiapolicechiefs.org

California Forensic Science Institute: http://www.calstatela.edu/hhs/cfsi

Fact Sheet: Justice Department Counter-Terrorism Efforts Since 9/11: https://www.justice.gov/archive/opa/pr/2008/September/08-nsd-807.html

 

2016 ITW Thriller Awards Nominees

 

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2016 ITW Thriller Awards Nominees 

 

We’re thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2016 ITW Thriller Awards:

 

BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL

Ian Caldwell – THE FIFTH GOSPEL (Simon & Schuster)

Tess Gerritsen – PLAYING WITH FIRE (Ballantine)

Paula Hawkins – THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (Riverhead Books)

David Morrell – INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD (Mulholland Books)

Karin Slaughter – PRETTY GIRLS (William Morrow)

 

BEST FIRST NOVEL

Sandra Block – LITTLE BLACK LIES (Grand Central)

LS Hawker – THE DROWNING GAME (Witness Impulse)

Gilly Macmillan – WHAT SHE KNEW (William Morrow)

Brian Panowich – BULL MOUNTAIN (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Hester Young – THE GATES OF EVANGELINE (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

 

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL

Marc Cameron – DAY ZERO (Pinnacle)

John Gilstrap – AGAINST ALL ENEMIES (Pinnacle)

Andrew Mayne – NAME OF THE DEVIL (Bourbon Street Books)

D.J. McIntosh – THE ANGEL OF EDEN (Penguin Canada)

Jean Rabe – POCKETS OF DARKNESS (WordFire Press)

 

BEST SHORT STORY

Reed Farrel Coleman – “Feeding the Crocodile” JEWISH NOIR (PM Press)

Jeffrey Deaver – “Repressed” (Diversion Books)

Sharon Hunt – “The Water Was Rising” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine)

Terrence McCauley – “El Cambalache” (Thuglit)

Joyce Carol Oates – “Gun Accident: An Investigation” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine)

 

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

Alan Gratz – CODE OF HONOR (Scholastic Press)

Nicole Maggi – THE FORGETTING (Sourcebooks Fire)

Michelle Painchaud – PRETENDING TO BE ERICA (Viking Books for Young Readers)

Emily Ross – HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH (Merit Press)

Allan Stratton – THE DOGS (Sourcebooks Fire)

 

BEST E-BOOK ORIGINAL NOVEL

Diane Capri – JACK AND JOE (AugustBooks)

Chris Kuzneski – THE PRISONER’S GOLD (Chris Kuzneski)

Robert McClure – DEADLY LULLABY (Alibi)

Caitlin O’Connell – IVORY GHOSTS (Alibi)

Eric Rickstad – LIE IN WAIT (Witness Impulse)

 

Congratulations to all the finalists!

The 2016 ITW Thriller Award Winners will be announced at ThrillerFest XI, July 9, 2016, at the Grand Hyatt (New York City.)

Very special thanks to:

Joshua Corin, Awards Committee Chair

Jennifer Kreischer, Awards Coordinator

Suzanne Rorhus, Awards Coordinator

And all the 2016 ITW Thriller Awards Judges

Carla Buckley

ITW Board of Directors, Vice President, Awards

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 5, 2016 in Writing

 

Q and A: Can A Blow To the Head Cause Unconsciousness and Amnesia?

Q: How hard do you have to be hit on the head to be knocked unconscious? Is there a particular place on the head, that if struck would be more likely to cause unconsciousness? How long does it usually last? How hard do you need to be hit to cause partial or temporary amnesia? What sort of things do people forget in these situations? How long does it usually last? Are there any other physical symptoms a writer should be sure and include in a scene with head trauma?

amnesia

 

A: In medical terms a blow to the head, or anywhere else, is called blunt force trauma as opposed to sharp force trauma as would occur with a knife or some other cutting instrument. When the blow is to the head, it is called a blunt head injury.

The degree of force required to render someone unconscious is completely unpredictable and varies from situation to situation and from person to person. Though a minor tap on the head is not likely to cause unconsciousness in anyone, almost any blow of significant force can. It makes no difference where the blow strikes the head as far as causing unconsciousness is concerned. That is, a blow to the front of the head is no more likely or less likely to cause unconsciousness than would one to the side or back of the head.

The period of unconsciousness in a simple concussion, which is what loss of consciousness due to blunt force head injury is called, is measured in seconds or minutes. Unlike Hollywood where the bad guy is slugged in the jaw, knocked unconscious, and then written out of the script after that — or at least the hero no longer has to worry about him — is not what happens in real life. Think about every boxing match you’ve ever seen. One guy smacks the other one, knocking him unconscious, and 30 seconds later the guy is awake and complaining that it was a lucky punch. This is what really happens.

Unconsciousness from a simple concussion can last several minutes and maybe even up to 10 or 15 minutes, though that would be unusual. Typically the person wakes up with a minute or so but might be slightly groggy or confused for a while, again for several minutes. But if he is unconscious for longer than a few minutes, the odds are that a serious injury to the brain has occurred or that bleeding into and around the brain has happened, Both of these situation are true medical emergencies. It doesn’t sound like that’s the situation you are posing with your questions.

Amnesia can indeed follow blows to the head. Typically the blow has to be powerful enough to render the person unconscious or at least woozy before amnesia enters the picture. But I should point out that other than the time period the victim is actually unconscious there is no loss of memory in the overwhelming majority of people who suffer head injuries. Amnesia is not rare but it is not common. But amnesia can occur after head injury, so you can absolutely use this in your story.

Amnesia is an extremely odd and actually not well understood medical condition that comes in many flavors and types. For easy explanation, amnesia is often divided into retrograde and anterograde types. Anterograde amnesia is very rare and is a situation where the person cannot form new memories. This was the subject of the excellent movie Memento. I won’t dwell on this since this is not the type of amnesia your questions deal with.

 

Memento

 

Retrograde simply means whatever came before. This type of amnesia is the most common in that the person forgets things that happened before the injury. This amnesia can cover events that occurred for only a few minutes before the injury, a few hours, a few days, weeks, or months, or can go back to forever. The person can forget some things and not others, such as he might not remember his name but might remember his address and phone number. He might remember some people but not others. He might recognize people but not be able to recall their names.

Or he could have what is called global amnesia in which he remembers nothing, not his name, not where he is, not where he came from, and virtually everything else. This type of amnesia can be temporary or permanent. It may only last for a few minutes, hours, days, or months or in some people it can last forever and be a permanent loss of memories.

When memories begin to return, they can come back suddenly and completely, partially, or in fits and spurts. The person might remember some things within a few minutes but other things might be lost in the cloud of amnesia forever. Virtually anything can happen so this means that your story can be crafted in almost any way you wish.

The other symptoms that can be associated with a concussion of this type are headaches, dizziness, poor balance, nausea, blurred vision, and generalized weakness and fatigue. These symptoms usually are minor and only last a few hours but they can become more problematic and last for many days and in some people for many months. There is no real treatment other than time and perhaps medications for headaches if they become chronic.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 5, 2016 in Medical Issues, Trauma

 

Guest Blogger: Megan Inslee: My Love-Hate Relationship with Forensic DNA

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What is the most important point to keep in mind when working with forensic DNA evidence?  There are probably a lot of answers to that question, depending on your experience and perspective.  I’ll let you in on my opinion for now, as a former DNA forensic scientist. One of the imperatives of working forensic DNA cases in this modern age is this: accepting that there are cases (many, in fact) that DNA can’t resolve.

Almost every time I testify, I’m asked “why might you not find DNA?” This is a good question, one which I usually answer with a fairly long list of possibilities, but it all boils down to three main points. 1. DNA may not have been deposited in the first place. Does this mean that the incident didn’t happen as reported by the victim or witnesses? Not necessarily – more on that a bit later.   2. Maybe too little DNA was deposited for the lab to test and identify. But can’t you guys detect even a few cells? More on that, later, too.  Or, 3. Perhaps DNA was deposited at an adequate level, but much of it was washed away or degraded over time. I saw a special on cold cases solved by DNA decades later – I don’t believe there’s anything you can’t do. Well, keep reading.

1. DNA may not have been deposited in the first place.

We’ve become so accustomed to DNA evidence being presented in criminal justice cases that we seem to need to take a collective step back to reflect on a case in which it just isn’t there.  It really depends on the scenario and the knowns of the case what this lack of DNA on an evidence item could mean.

The murderer doesn’t always cut herself on the knife and leave drops of her blood at the scene. The burglar may have kept his gloves on throughout the entire crime, never touching anything with a bare hand.  A child molester doesn’t always leave semen evidence for us to test.

And, of course, DNA may not be present on a tested evidence item simply because the scenario didn’t unfold the way investigators believed or the witnesses stated or the victim recalled.  Corroborating DNA evidence with reported scenarios is a tricky business, one which doesn’t always result in a resolution tied up with a big red bow.

2. Maybe too little DNA was deposited for the lab to test and identify.

Remember the days when crime labs couldn’t get DNA from anything smaller than a blood drop the size of a quarter?  And remember when, even when they started getting DNA from smaller samples, the odds of someone else having the same DNA profile was only one in several thousand?  Well, I don’t – that was before my time.

But I was there for the early years of the current DNA typing technology, Short Tandem Repeats (STRs). Those were the days in which we tested mainly blood, semen, and saliva.  We had a good idea of what we could and couldn’t get results from and we ended up with a lot of single-source DNA profiles.  These result in straight forward comparisons to reference samples which yield either an exclusion, if the profiles don’t match, or a match.  In the case of a match, we calculate and issue some crazy-big statistic that illustrates to the reader (the investigator or attorney or juror) just how significant this match is (spoiler alert: the number is often in the quadrillions – matches are pretty darn significant).  And as great as this is and was, the criminal justice system wanted (and in many cases, needed) more.

Science over time, I’ve found, rarely disappoints.  The techniques and products that result from years of experimentation, trial and error, grant funding and academic research end up being a culmination of the best approach among many.

Instead of changing the sites we used for forensic DNA typing, researchers found that we could extract and clean up the DNA a little better and attain higher sensitivity.  They modified the primers and added a few more.  They improved the reagents that we used to get our profiles and made them a little more robust. They made instruments that could automate sample processing so that we could do more samples in less time.  All of this has led to higher throughput and more sensitive results.

Currently, scientists are not just attempting to get DNA profiles from well-defined body fluid stains, as before, but also from areas of evidence items that have tested faintly positive for a body fluid. They are swabbing areas of items that someone in the case may have touched.  These types of samples have much, much fewer cells than, say, a fat drop of blood.  And, while significant to the case and incident at hand, these samples are likely to contain not only very few cells, but mixtures of more than one person’s DNA, further complicating the analysis.

3. Perhaps DNA was deposited at an adequate level, but much of it was washed away or degraded over time. 

It’s important to remember that DNA is a molecule, one with millions of parts.  Cells must be intact in order to properly preserve the DNA.  And hundreds of cells must be present in a sample in order to obtain a decent profile for comparison. Wiping or washing a surface can remove cells. Environmental factors such as heat, UV light, or bacteria can break cells open, exposing DNA and ultimately breaking it down.

Also, it’s useful to know that the laboratory process, itself, is lengthy, requiring many phases, none of which perfectly preserve all of the DNA in the sample from one step to the next.  If I detect 200 cells in a sample in the lab, it doesn’t mean that 200 cells were originally deposited on the evidence item at the time of the crime.  Even in the best evidence-preservation scenario, there is loss of genetic material on the crime-scene-through-laboratory-testing journey.

In the end, as much as I love forensic DNA (and I hope you do, too), it’s important to keep its limitations in perspective in every case. The presence of DNA evidence does not prove guilt. The absence of DNA evidence does not prove innocence. The current state of forensic DNA technology is, however, amazing! I think we can all relish in that without abandoning our role as critical thinkers.

MInslee

Megan Inslee spent 13 years as a DNA forensic scientist in Washington State.  She has her Bachelor’s in Biology as well as her Master’s in the Genetics track of Laboratory Medicine from the University of Washington. She currently resides on an island outside of Seattle with her husband and three small children, writing technical documents, preparing grant proposals, and providing consultation on a freelance basis.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on March 29, 2016 in DNA, Guest Blogger, Uncategorized

 

Crime and Science Radio: Research, Education, and the Future of Forensic Science: an Interview with Dr. Katherine A. Roberts, Director of the CSULA Graduate Program in Criminalistics

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Research, Education, and the Future of Forensic Science: an Interview with Dr. Katherine A. Roberts, Director of the CSULA Graduate Program in Criminalistics

 

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BIO: Dr. Roberts is the Director of the California State University, Los Angeles Graduate Program in Criminalistics. She has served as the Director of the Master of Science degree program there since 2002,and played a leading role in the university’s FEPAC accreditation. Her research interests cover a wide array of forensic disciplines, but focus primarily of trace evidence analysis, sexual assault evidence, and mitochondrial DNA analysis. Dr. Roberts was the PI of a National Institute of Justice-funded study to investigate the use of samplematrix™ to stabilize crime scene biological samples for optimized analysis and room temperature storage from 2009-2011. She is the PI for a National Science Foundation grant that was awarded to CSULA in 2015 to establish the Center for Interdisciplinary Forensic Science Research as a research site within the NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) program. The Center will enhance research training and education in multiple forensic science disciplines, including Forensic Microscopy, Trace Evidence Analysis, Forensic Science Research Methods, Forensic Chemistry, and Applications of Forensic Science.

Dr. Roberts is currently collaborating with a consortium of European universities to develop a portable, inexpensive, and rapid method of dating latent fingerprints. Her publications are on topics related to trace evidence analysis, forensic examination of sexual assault evidence, and mitochondrial DNA analysis.

She was an elected member of the Technical Working Group for Education and Training in Forensic Science (TWGED) that was convened by the National Institute of Justice. The Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) uses the report issued by TWGED in order to evaluate the academic standards of undergraduate and graduate forensic science programs.

Dr. Roberts is currently serving as the  Interim Executive Director of the California Forensic Science Institute.

Education

PhD     Forensic Science, Graduate School & University

Center, City University New York

M.Phil  Criminal Justice, Graduate School & University

Center, City University New York

MSc     Forensic Science, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

BSc     Chemistry, King’s College, University of London

 

LISTEN: Link Goes Live Saturday 3-26-16 10 a.m. Pacific http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2016/02/23/crime-and-science-radio-with-special-guest-dr-katherine-roberts

 

LINKS: California Forensic Science Institute http://www.calstatela.edu/hhs/cfsi

CSULA School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics http://www.calstatela.edu/hhs/crim

LA Times article, “Cal State L.A. graduate students hone crime scene expertise,” http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jul/27/local/la-me-cal-state-criminalists-20130728

Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) http://www.fepac-edu.org

 

ThrillerFest/CraftFest/Master CraftFest are coming July 5-9, 2016

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ThrillerFest is the premiere conference for thriller enthusiasts, bringing together fans, famous authors and new ones, industry professionals and agents. It’s a vibrant hub of literary networking and social interaction offering an opportunity for thriller lovers to meet and mingle with their favorite authors at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City every July. When we say mingle, we mean it. An array of impressive names, including Clive Cussler, Lee Child, James Patterson, Sandra Brown, Harlan Coben, David Baldacci, David Morrell, Ken Follett, R.L. Stine, and many more have been known to linger in the conference rooms and halls, accessible to attendees.

The ThrillerFest team is busy preparing for a memorable 2016 conference, hoping to make it the best yet. The conference consists of several events, priced separately and in money-saving packages. Those events are:

Today’s FBI: Crime Essentials For Writers

In this full day workshop held at FBI Headquarters, you’ll hear from FBI experts in Cybercrime, International Terrorism, Criminal Investigations, and more. Lunch, drinks, and snacks served. Class size is limited by the FBI and fills up quickly.

Master CraftFest

Don’t miss this opportunity to study with the Masters of the genre in a one-day intensive workshop to take your writing to the next level. Everyone is welcome, from beginning writers to well-established authors. The instructors this year will be Steve Berry, Grant Blackwood, David Corbett, Meg Gardiner, Heather Graham, Andrew Gross, Richard Krevolin, and Gayle Lynds. Class sizes are limited to provide a personal experience.

CraftFest

As always we have a group of talented teachers to broaden your knowledge about the craft of writing as well as experts in many fields like forensics and firearms so you can get the facts right in your novel.

PitchFest

Be sure to sign up for the incredible opportunity to further your writing career, as we’ll have over 50 agents, editors, and producers ready to hear your pitch at our annual PitchFest event. Visit www.thrillerfest.com and read the Success Stories from past years.

ThrillerFest

We’re planning some phenomenal panels, always trying to innovate and entertain. Join us for the spotlight interviews, cocktail parties, workshops, and fabulous networking opportunities. Please check the volunteer box during registration, as it’s a great way to make new friends.

Thriller Awards Banquet
A gala banquet and celebration tops off everything, with 2016 ThrillerMaster Heather Graham receiving her award, and the exciting announcement of the winners of the Thriller Awards!

Exhibitor/Vendor Tables
We’re offering exhibitor/vendor tables during the ThrillerFest event for non-bookselling vendors. If you’d like to promote your goods, services, or brand, it’s an excellent opportunity to reach many thriller enthusiasts.

Enter the Best First Sentence Contest for a chance to win a critique of 10 manuscript pages from one of our phenomenal Master CraftFest teachers.

More Info and Registration: http://thrillerfest.com

Follow us:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/International-Thriller-Writers-Organization-59208702261/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thrillerwriters

Hope to see you all in New York

DP Lyle
ITW VP for Education
CraftFest/Master CraftFest/Thriller School Director

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Writing

 
 
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