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NCJ Number: 137113 Find in a Library
Title: Findings of the MOVE Commission and the Office of the Philadelphia Medical Examiner: By Whose Standards was a Judgment Rendered?
Journal: Journal of Crime and Justice  Volume:14  Issue:2  Dated:(1991)  Pages:149- 173
Author(s): C Nemeth
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 15
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: On May 13, 1986, the Philadelphia police confronted members of the MOVE group, a loosely-knit "back to nature" organization which shunned and offended traditional societal rules; the police used tear gas, smoke projectiles, and bombs dropped from a State police helicopter. Eleven MOVE members were killed. The Commission formed by local, State, and Federal officials to investigate the incident surveyed the conduct of the various law enforcement agencies involved, including the medical examiner's office.
Abstract: The Commission found the Office of the Medical Examiner to be unprofessional in its conduct, claiming the office had failed to conduct a proper investigation, had not stored the bodies at the proper temperature to prevent deterioration, had incorrectly identified a body, and had co-mingled some evidence. The author notes that these findings relied on outside expert evidence because there are no standardized guidelines in pathological practice. In addition to the paucity of nationalized practices, there is a parochial lack of regulatory and legislative oversight of forensic laboratories and medical examiners. Finally, the Commission seemed to hold the medical examiner's office responsible for failure to coordinate and control the search for evidence, crime scene diagrams, location stakes, and sequential photography, functions which should have been carried out by the city's police and fire departments. 21 references
Main Term(s): Commission reports; Police use of deadly force
Index Term(s): Coroners; Investigative techniques; Pennsylvania; Standards
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