INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC SCIENCE STUDY GUIDE FROM TEXT
1. Define forensic science/criminalistics
2. Recall the major contributions to the development of forensic science. 3. Give examples of typical crime laboratories as they exist on the national, state and local levels of government in the U.S. 4. Describe the services of a typical comprehensive crime laboratory in the criminal justice system. 5. Explain the different approaches espoused by the Frye and Daubert decisions to the admissibility of scientific evidence in the courtroom. 6. Explain the role and responsibilities of the expert witness. 7. Review the proper collection and packaging of common types of physical evidence (see Appendix A).
1. Define physical evidence.
2. Discuss the responsibilities of the first officer who arrives at the crime scene. 3. Explain the steps to be taken for thoroughly recording the crime scene. 4. Describe proper procedures for conducting a systematic search of crime scenes for physical evidence. 5. Describe proper techniques for packaging common types of physical evidence. 6. Define the chain of custody.
7. Discuss the implications of the Mincey and Tyler cases.
1. List the common types of physical evidence encountered at crime scenes. 2. Explain the differences between the identification and comparison of physical evidence. 3. Define individual and class characteristics. Give examples of physical evidence possessing these characteristics. 4. Discuss the value of class evidence to a criminal investigation. 5. Explain the purpose physical evidence plays in reconstructing the events surrounding the commission of a crime.
1. Define physical and chemical properties. Provide examples of each. 2. List and define the metric system's basic units and prefixes. 3. Distinguish mass from weight.
4. Define density.
5. Define refractive index.
6. Define the flotation and immersion methods for comparing glass specimens. 7. State how to examine glass fractures to determine the direction of impact from a projectile. 8. Describe the proper collection of glass evidence.
9. List the important forensic properties of soil.
10. Describe the density-gradient tube technique.
11. Describe the proper collection of soil evidence.
1. Define elements and compounds and give examples of each.
2. State the difference between a solid, liquid, and gas.
3. Define Phase
4. Distinguish between organic and inorganic compounds.
5. Distinguish between a qualitative and quantitative analysis. 6. Explain how a liquid reaches equilibrium with a gaseous phase as defined by Henry’s Law. 7. Describe the process of chromatography.
8. Define retention time.
9. Explain the difference between thin-layer and gas chromatography. 10. Describe electrophoresis.
11. Describe the electromagnetic spectrum.
12. Define Beer’s Law (for you party people, it’s not what you think!). 13. Describe the utility of an ultraviolet and infrared absorption spectrum for the identification of organic compounds. 14. Describe the significance of a mass spectrum.
1. Describe the usefulness of trace elements for the forensic comparison of various types of physical evidence. 2. Distinguish between a continuous and line emission spectrum. 3. Define protons, neutrons, and electrons.
4. Define atomic number and atomic mass number.
5. Define an isotope.
6. Define radioactivity.
7. Explain how elements can be made radioactive.
8. Describe why an X-ray diffraction pattern is useful for chemical identification.
1. Define magnification, field of view, working distance, and depth of focus. 2. Describe the comparison microscope.
3. List the advantages of the stereoscopic microscope.
4. Explain the advantages of linking a microscope to a spectrophotometer from the forensic scientist’s point of view. 5. List the advantages and some forensic applications of the scanning...
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