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forensic final exam study guide FALL 15-16

Forensics Final Exam Review Guide Spring
Unit 1: Introduction to Forensic Science
Terms to know
a. Forensic science
b. Physical evidence
c. Circumstantial evidence
d. Individual evidence
e. Class evidence
f. Search warrant
g. Chain of custody
h. Locard’s Exchange Principle
i. Primary crime scene
j. Secondary crime scene
k. Anthroptometry
l. 1st Amendment
m. 2nd Amendment
n. 4th Amendment
o. 18th Amendment
People to know
a. Alphonse Bertillon
b. Edmond Locard
c. Francis Galton
Study Questions/concepts
What criteria must physical evidence meet in order to be considered admissible or useful in an
Describe the function of each of the following units:
i. Toxicology
ii. Ballistics
iii. Photography
iv. Physical evidence
v. Document analysis
vi. Fingerprint
vii. DNA/physical science
Describe the work performed by the following specialists:
i. Forensic psychiatrist
ii. Forensic odontologist/forensic dentist
iii. Forensic engineer
iv. Forensic computer analyst
v. Forensic interviewer
vi. Medical examiner
vii. Coroner
Crime Scene Processing
A. Terms to know
a. Physical evidence
b. Class evidence
Forensics Final Exam Review Guide Spring
Individual evidence
Trace evidence
Primary crime scene
Secondary crime scene
Crime scene sketch
Grid search
Line search
Quadrant search
Spiral or wheel search
Search warrant
Miranda rights
Chain of custody
Study Questions/Content
a. What is the most important use for notes taken at the crime scene? When should note
taking be done?
b. What are the responsibilities of the first officer on the scene of the crime?
c. What information should be included in the crime scene sketch?
d. What are the 7 steps in investigating a crime scene and what duties are performed in each?
e. What is the procedure for interviewing witnesses?
f. State the importance of a secure crime scene.
g. Why do you suppose the Fourth Amendment was written?
h. What is the importance of maintaining a chain of custody?
i. What types of evidence need special packaging?
j. What information should be on every evidence container?
k. What is the purpose of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration?
l. What is the Frye Standard?
m. What are possible sources of DNA evidence? What is a major concern when collecting DNA
evidence and how can you avoid it?
Death Investigation and Decomposition
A. Terms to know
a. Autopsy
b. Decomposition
c. Death
d. Rigor mortis
e. Algor mortis
f. Livor mortis
g. Lividity
h. Flaccidity
i. Integument
j. carrion
k. Manner of death
l. Cause of death
m. Mechanism of death
n. Suicide
o. Homicide
p. Natural death
q. Accidental death
r. Entomology
Forensics Final Exam Review Guide Spring
s. Post mortem interval
t. Larva
u. Pupa
v. Instar
w. Egg
x. Degree hour
y. Cumulative degree hour
Study Questions/Content
List the five stages of decomposition and describe the appearance or signs one would look for in
this stage
Distinguish between manner, mechanism, and cause of death.
Describe rigor mortis, algor mortis, and livor mortis and the time interval one would expect to
see each post mortem.
What are the biological signs of life? What are the signs of death? What is the clinical definition
of death?
Be able to determine post mortem interval using fly data charts and climate charts.
What factors affect decomposition? What effect does each have?
What factors affect fly egg deposition? What effect does each have?
What effects might drugs in the body of the decedent have on fly data?
Fingerprints and Fingerprint Classification
A. Terms to know
a. Friction ridge
b. Dermal papillae
c. Minutae
d. Ulnar
e. Radial
f. Latent print
g. Plastic print
h. Patent prints
i. Porous surface
j. Non-porous surface
People to know
a. Francis Galton
Study Questions/content
a. Be able to identify the three basic patterns of fingerprints: loop, arch, whorl
b. What are the 3 principles of fingerprints?
c. How and when are fingerprints formed?
d. Can fingerprints be altered? If so, how and what is the result?
e. What is the basis for the Henry Classification System?
f. Why is fingerprint identification a better system than Alphose Bertillon’s system?
g. Describe how to correctly collect fingerprints from a person.
h. Describe the following methods of fingerprint development including when it would be used and
what types of materials it would be used on/with
i. Carbon powder
ii. Talc or aluminum powder
iii. Fluorescent powder
Forensics Final Exam Review Guide Spring
iv. Iodine fuming
v. Silver nitrate development
vi. Super glue or cyanoacrylate fuming
i. What is the distribution of each type of fingerprint pattern within the general population?
j. Be able to identify the following minutae: fork, dot, island, ridge ending, hook, eye
k. What is AFIS?
l. Describe the proper technique for lifting a print?
m. Describe the proper technique for obtaining fingerprints from a suspect?
Drugs and Toxicology
Terms to know
a. Stimulant
b. Depressant
c. Toxicology
d. Presumptive test
e. Confirmatory test
Study Questions/ content
a. What are the advantages of presumptive tests? What are the disadvantages?
b. Explain when and why it is necessary to perform a confirmatory test?
c. What drugs can be identified with general accuracy through visual examination?
d. Why is it important to know the exact drug and amount a person has in their possession or in
their body system?
e. What types of samples can be collected from a person for a drug test?
f. What type of evidence can be collected at a crime scene that might be useful in testing for
g. Which drug can be identified by a characteristic minty or fishy smell when reacted with acid?
h. Explain the basis for most presumptive tests.
i. How does the GC-MS work? What advantage does it have over a presumptive test or screening
j. Substances with known positive and negative results must be run with each evidence sample.
Explain the purpose of these control samples.
k. Be able to calculate the concentration of a drug using the best fit line equation for standards.
l. Be able to interpret results of a presumptive test given the reactions.
m. What are amphetamines, methamphetamines, opiates, narcotics, cocaine, marijuana, heroin?
(hint: type of drug and effect on person)
n. What is meth mouth?
o. What are meth bugs?
p. What is the legal limit for alcohol in North Carolina?
q. Explain the basis for breathalyzer tests? How can “breath” be used as a test sample?
Blood Detection and Blood Spatter Analysis
A. Terms to know
a. Presumptive test
b. Confirmatory test
c. Plasma
d. Red blood cell
e. White blood cell
f. Platelet
Forensics Final Exam Review Guide Spring
Point of convergence
Angle of impact
Cast off
Blunt force trauma
Study Questions/Content
a. What are the functions of the cellular components (formed elements) in blood? What is the
function of plasma?
b. Be able to interpret the blood type giving results of ABO and Rh tests.
c. Differentiate between low, medium and high velocity spatter (what does it look like) and what
type of weapon might produce that pattern.
d. Differentiate between the appearance of blood drops
i. Falling at 90 degrees
ii. Falling at an angle less than 90 degrees
iii. From an artery
iv. From a cut on the arm
v. From a person walking while bleeding
e. What is luminol and what reaction do you expect to see using luminol?
f. How does the lab distinguish between animal and human blood?
g. What is pattern transfer?
h. What are the steps in characterizing a blood stain/pattern?
i. How can one determine an approximate direction of travel of a blood droplet?
j. How is energy and force related to blood spatter patterns?
Forensic Dentistry/Odontology and Shoeprints
A. Terms to know
a. Bite mark
b. Odontology
Study questions/content
a. What is the primary responsibility of the forensic dentist?
b. Why should bite mark analysis be considered only a part of the evidence in a case?
c. What characteristics might make a person’s bite more unique to them?
d. What characteristics make dental impressions unique or individual evidence?
e. What characteristics make shoe prints class evidence and individual evidence?
Criminal Psychology (Serial Killers)
A. Terms to know
a. psychopath
b. sociopath
c. serial murder
d. mass murder
e. signature
f. modus operandus
Forensics Final Exam Review Guide Spring
g. spree murder
h. staging
i. red flags
Study Questions:
1. Describe the characteristics of mass murderers.
2. What are the specific characteristics of a serial murder as defined by the FBI?
3. Describe the typical serial killer.
4. What is the McDonald Triad? What markers might be present in childhood?
5. Define “insane”.
6. What commonalities do psychopaths, sociopaths, and the insane have?
7. Distinguish between a psychopath and a sociopath.
8. Identify examples of a signature.
9. Distinguish between modus operandus and signature.
10. Give two reasons for staging.
11. Discuss the nature versus nurture theory of serial murder.
12. Compare and contrast male and female killers.
Video Studies/Cases (review viewing questions for each of these)
A. The Poisoner’s Handbook
B. O.J. Simpson: The Untold Story
C. Fatal Vision: The Jeffrey McDonald Murders
D. Cold Case JFK
E. The Staircase Murders
F. Inside the serial Killer’s Mind
G. Myth vs. Fact (reading online)
H. H.H. Holmes
Note: Be sure to read ALL background material given in class for each of the subjects. Review pre and post lab
questions and any guided notes.