California Criminalistics Institute / Sacramento
In complex cases where we can't do everything, how do we know what we can and can't let go? Is thorough work required on every item, or can a cursory exam of some items be sufficient? How can you defend your decisions in court? This two-day course will cover principles that forensic scientists can use in deciding where to begin and when the work is done. This approach emphasizes making impact-based decisions early in the case and concluding work by evaluating the impact of results on the case hypotheses. The principles are presented as conceptual tools that are applied in a step-wise fashion to biological-evidence casework examples. The presentation will consist of interleaved lectures and exercises that participants will do in small discussion groups. This class covers material suitable for a forensic scientist with complex casework experience. Class limited to 36 students. Casework Approach I introduces tools that apply to all types of cases. Casework Approach II briefly introduces the same tools, then adds and spends more time on tools for complex casework including using case hypotheses that address evaluating various scenarios to explain what occurred.
Lecture, classroom exercises, and discussion
This workshop provides conceptual tools for the forensic practitioner to use in making the everyday decisions upon which the development of sound and defensible scientific information rests. Doing a thorough job on a case does not mean examining everything or doing all possible analyses. Upon completion of this workshop, the participants should have the principles -- and a logical framework -- for making decisions about the focus, priority, and sequence of examinations and when the work can be considered done. The suggested approach is grounded in understanding the case context and is directed toward providing information that addresses the overall case issues.
Experience with complex casework. Complex analysis involves casework where a unique approach may be necessary; or a single definitive conclusion is not possible and weighted conclusions are warranted; or casework requiring the reconstruction of an event or series of events based on the interpretation of physical evidence.
$35.00 Materials fee will be charged to all non-BFS students. This charge is due at the beginning of the class. Make check(s) payable to the California Department of Justice.
No cost to California public crime laboratory personnel. A $240.00 tuition fee will be required of all other public agency, private sector, or out-of-state applicants.