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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 193375 Find in a Library
Title: Famous Crimes Revisited: From Sacco-Vanzetti to O.J. Simpson
Author(s): Henry Lee Dr.; Jerry Labriola Dr.
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 317
Sponsoring Agency: Strong Books
Southington, CT 06489
Publication Number: ISBN 1-928782-14-0
Sale Source: Strong Books
615 Queen Street
Southington, CT 06489
United States of America
Type: Biography
Format: Book (Hardbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This book views some famous crimes from the 20th century through the eyes of a forensic scientist.
Abstract: The controversial trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti is revisited in Chapters 1-7. A historical summary of the background and bombings is provided, along with the crimes and arrests, the trials, witnesses and evidence, analysis of ballistics, and the verdict. Section 2 covers the cases of the Lindbergh kidnapping, Sam Sheppard, John F. Kennedy, Vincent Foster, and JonBenet Ramsey. Some of these cases illustrate the fact that many of the crimes of past generations could have been solved with impunity if modern forensic tools had been available and used. The purpose of this section is to demonstrate how modern technology might have helped solve these criminal cases, improved the conduct of jury trials, and suggests that human error and/or misconduct might have tarnished the end results. Section 3 reviews the O.J. Simpson case. It provides a historical summary of the relationships, crimes, the preliminary hearing, the trial, and evidence, closing arguments, and the verdict. The probable effect of public sentiment is best represented by the cases of Sacco-Vanzetti, who embraced anarchism, and the Lindbergh kidnapping. In the investigatory phase of all the crimes, there may have been instances of unethical practices, such as not securing the crime scene and staging of the crime scene. Of the four cases that went to trial, there continues to be suspicion that several irregularities occurred: tampering with evidence, perjury, and falsification of records. These cases also illustrate the march of forensic history. During the first half of the century, subjects were interrogated until they confessed. In the 1960's and 1970's, motive, means and opportunity were used to pinpoint possible subjects. In the 1980's, psychological profiling and informants were major resources. And in the 1990's into the 21st century, the focus has been on crime scene reconstruction, physical evidence, databases, image enhancement, new latent print technology and artificial intelligence. Yet cases are still determined by fallible humans who interpret, define, and have the potential to manipulate the data. Appendix, notes, bibliography
Main Term(s): Criminal investigation; Forensic sciences
Index Term(s): Crime Scene Investigation; Evidence collection; Evidence identification; Evidence preservation; Investigative techniques; Trend analysis
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