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NCJ Number: NCJ 244482   Add to Shopping cart   Find in a Library
Title: Volume III: Forensic Evidence at Murder Trials in Phoenix, Arizona
  Document URL: PDF 
Author(s): Tom McEwen, Ph.D. ; Edward Connors
Corporate Author: Institute for Law and Justice
United States of America
Date Published: 07/2009
Page Count: 123
  Annotation: This third volume of a three-volume report on a study of homicide investigations and case processing by the Phoenix Police Department (PPD) examines the impact of forensic evidence at murder trials, based on transcript reviews of 22 trials following arrests made during the 2 years of the Phoenix Homicide Clearance project, which consisted of transferring four crime-scene specialists from the crime lab to the department’s homicide unit for the purpose of collecting evidence at homicide scenes.
Abstract: Eight trials included testimony by forensic scientists from the crime lab’s DNA section. Their testimony had a major impact in five of those trials. Testimony on DNA evidence is powerful because of the underlying science of DNA. Forensic scientists testified on ballistics analysis at 13 trials. This testimony had a major impact at five trials, moderate impact at two trials, and minor impact at six trials. Gunshot residue (GSR) analysis had a moderate impact at two trials, a minor impact at one trial, and no impact at four other trials. Latent fingerprint analysis and trace analysis had limited impact at the trials. Latent print examiners were called to testify in only three trials. Their testimony had no impact on the outcomes of these trials for two reasons. First, an outcome of “no match” was the result of many comparisons made between latent prints obtained from the crime scene against the fingerprints of suspects and victims in the case. Second, no probative value resulted from the matches that were found, because the matches were easily explained by the defense. Forensic scientists from the crime lab presented trace analysis at only two trials. In one trial, the testimony supported the testimony of a surviving victim, and in the second trial, the trace-evidence testimony supported the prosecutor’s theory of the case. 2 exhibits and appended summaries of case investigations and trials, forensic evidence collected and analyzed, and definitions of terms
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Fingerprints ; Trace evidence ; Trials ; Expert witnesses ; Dispositions ; Trial procedures ; Homicide investigations ; Technical experts ; DNA fingerprinting ; NIJ final report ; Arizona
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Grant Number: 2004-DD-BX-1466
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research) ; Research (Applied/Empirical) ; Report (Grant Sponsored)
Country: United States of America
Language: English
Note: For the other two volumes of the project report, see NCJ-244480-81.
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:

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