Forensic Chemistry

What is Forensic Chemistry?
applied analytical chemistry and exists where science and the law overlap
What precedent did the Frye hearing set?

Ruled that analysis has to be:

  1. generally accepted
  2. able to produce reliable results

What are issues that arise with the Frye ruling?

  1. “general acceptance” is difficult to define
  2. “relevant” scientific community is open to interpretation

What precedent did the Daubert hearings set?

  1. validated techniques
  2. conditions controlling techniques maintained
  3. Peer review techniques
  4. false positives/negatives?
  5. generally accepted in scientific comm

True or False: Hearsay is admissable in federal court
True
What are the different phases of the pre-trial process?

  1. Complaint
  2. Affirmative Defenses
  3. Discovery
  4. Chain of Custody
  5. Expert Report
  6. Deposition

What exactly is the complaint?

(pre-trial)

  1. First formal notice of a lawsuit
  2. legal document alleging plaintiff harmed in some way

What are Affirmative Defenses?

(pre-trial)

  • typically in the form of legal grounds for dismissal
  • defense’s attempt to bar plaintiff from recovery

What is Discovery?

(pre-trial)

  • Formal fact-finding by lawyers from both sides
  • access to info, documents, witnesses with pertinent facts
  • Federal is one-way; state and local can be both ways

What is the Chain of Custody?

(pre-trial)

  • Establishes existence, care, custody, and control of evidence
  • Illustrates safeguards taken to preserve its condition

The Expert Report

(pre-trial)

  • Formal written document
  • Contains basis for opinions/conclusions to be offered
  • Discoverable

Deposition

(pre-trial)

  • sworn testimony before trial
  • no judge present
  • process is to gather info-not to try the case

What is Brady material?
exculpatory or impeaching info that is material to the guilt or innocence or to the punishment of a defendant…
What are important features of the Deposition Process?

  • Subpoena Duces Tecum
  • Setting
  • Questions

Subpoena Duces Tecum

(Deposition process)

  • “bring with you under penalty of punishment”
  • formalizes date/time/place of deposition
  • outlines: what you need to bring with you

Setting

(deposition process)

  • law office
  • lawyers will banter w/each other
  • don’t be mislead be informality
  • don’t engage w/lawyers
  • lawyers explain format and rules

Questions

(deposition process)

  • opposing attorney is in control
  • they may set you up for a Daubert motion
  • they will want to explore/evaluate alternate story lines
  • May gather info for motions unrelated to work

What are some strategies that the opposing attorney may utilize during the deposition process?

  • Impeachment
  • Daubert challenge
  • Background
  • Character/Bias
  • Fencing/”Freezing”
  • Stretching
  • Endurance

Impeachment

(deposition)

  • inconsistencies/contradictions/mistakes
  • Plus side: you learn how much he/she knows

Daubert challenge

(deposition)

  • questions directed to “relevance & reliability”
  • root your answer in the Daubert prongs

Background

(deposition)

  • Everyone has background issues
  • Answer directly and without embellishment or excuses

Character/Bias

(deposition)

  • they’ll watch how you respond to pressure and uncertainty
  • attack your character

Fencing/”Freezing”

(deposition)

  • will try to limit your testimony to certain parts
  • will try to limit your ability to elaborate
  • don’t respond with a “yes” or “no” if more explanation is needed

During a Daubert Hearing, what entity ultimately decides on admissibility?
The Judge
What role does peer review play in science and in the law?

  1. Argument before a judge, jury, or lawyers is loosely analogous to peer review
  2. Scientific findings aer submitted to peer-reviewed journals
  3. the work and conclusions of individual case-working forensic scientists are peer-reviewed before being reported out

Is the analysis of drugs using instruments such as mass spectrometers and infrared spectrometry based on comparison?
Yes, Ids are made by comparing data to that stored in a library
True or False: Analysts are accredited, labs are certified
False: Labs are accredited and analysts are certified
Who certifies analysts?
The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS)
Who accredits labs?
the Amercian Association of Crime Lab Directors Lab Accreditation Board (ASCLD-LAB)
What are the objectives of the ASCLD-LAB?

  1. Improve quality of lab services
  2. Develop/maintain criteria to assess performance
  3. provide independent, impartial, and objective system of operational review
  4. offer to the public and users of lab services a means of identifying thos labs meeting these standards

What is the NUSAP approach?
N-Number, U-Units, S-Spread, A-Assessment, P-Pedigree
What are the different types of errors?

Stat perspective- type I (null hypothesis wrongly rejected), type II (null hypothesis wrongly accepted)

Forensic perspective- False negative, false positive

What are the two conditions that must be met to effect a separation based on partitioning between two phases?

First-exploitable difference in physical props must exist between analyte and matrix

Second-equilibrium condition between the two phases

What is a drug?
a substance tha, when ingested, is capable of inducing a physiological change.
What are the different modes of ingestion?(drug)

  1. Swallowing
  2. Injection
  3. Inhalation
  4. Absorption through the skin

True or False: All drugs are toxic
True: dose differentiates a therapeutic drug from a poison
What are the different ways drugs are classified?
Origin, General effect,

What are the natural products?

(drug classification)

  1. Opiates
  2. Caffeine
  3. Cocaine
  4. Cannabinoids

What are the semi-synthetics?

(drug classification)

  1. Heroin
  2. Hormones
  3. Steroids

What are synthetics?

(drug classification)

Diazepam

What are the different general effects?

(drug classification)

Analgesics, Depressants, Hallucinogens, Narcotics, Stimulants
What are the different types of analgesics and how do they work?

Aspirin-NSAID, stops pain by reducing fever and inflammation.

Morphine(; other opiates)-blocks transmission at the CNS of nerve impulses that relay the sensation of pain to the brain

What are the different types of depressants and how do they work?

-Depress functions of the CNS, promotion of sleep

  • Barbiturates
  • Tranquilizers
  • Sleep Aids
  • Ethanol
  • Benzodiazepines

What are the hallucinogens and how do they work?
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