FORENSIC DNA

CONSULTING AND EDUCATION IN FORENSIC SCIENCE

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Forensic DNA Analysis

by Norah Rudin and Keith Inman

 

Reader comments:

"As a practicing lawyer who earns a living in the criminal courts, I found this book an excellent and informative guide to this often problematic area. The authors introduce the subject in a way that is easy for the beginner to comprehend, but at the same time include sufficient detail to answer many of the most pressing problems facing a defence team in court.

 

I have a BS in genetics and biochemistry and am looking to enter into a forensics lab. This book is an EXCELLENT resource for an entry-level criminalist, criminal lawyer, or the non-scientist interested in this topic. It was organized from basic genetics to higher-level interpretation issues and included tons of diagrams, pictures, and relevant case studies. This book did an outstanding job explaining complicated and detailed subject matter in an easy to understand and interesting matter."

 

 

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Principles and Practice of Criminalistics: The Profession of Forensic Science

by Norah Rudin and Keith Inman

 

Summary:

Expanding on ideas proposed by leading thinkers throughout the history of forensic science, Principles and Practice of Criminalistics: The Profession of Forensic Science outlines a logical framework for the examination of physical evidence in a criminalistics laboratory. The book reexamines prevailing criminalistics concepts in light of both technical and intellectual advances and provides a way of conceptualizing physical evidence from its origin through its interpretation. Conceptually, the book explains what forensic scientists do and discusses thephilosophical and practical considerations that affect the conduct of their work. To be sure, some of the ideas challengeconventional wisdom on the subject, and as such, are bound to provoke discussion among members of the forensic community. Against this background, Principles and Practice of Criminalistics: The Profession of Forensic Science is a tremendously valuable reference for professionals involved in forensic science and other related fields.

 

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Inside the Cell: The Dark Side of Forensic DNA

by Erin E. Murphy

 

Summary:

Josiah Sutton was convicted of rape. He was five inches shorter and 65 pounds lighter than the suspect described by the victim, but at trial a lab analyst testified that his DNA was found at the crime scene. His case looked like many others—arrest, swab, match, conviction. But there was just one problem—Sutton was innocent.

 

We think of DNA forensics as an infallible science that catches the bad guys and exonerates the innocent. But when the science goes rogue, it can lead to a gross miscarriage of justice. Erin Murphy exposes the dark side of forensic DNA testing: crime labs that receive little oversight and produce inconsistent results; prosecutors who push to test smaller and poorer-quality samples, inviting error and bias; law-enforcement officers who compile massive, unregulated, and racially skewed DNA databases; and industry lobbyists who push policies of “stop and spit.”

 

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Improbable Cause: The War on Terror's Assault on the Bill of Rights

by Sharia Mayfield and Brandon Mayfield

 

Summary:

Brandon Mayfield, a Portland resident and Muslim lawyer, is unexpectedly arrested on May 6, 2004, in connection to the March 11 Madrid train bombings that took the lives of nearly 200 people. Despite having an expired passport, no ties to Spain, and evidence that he was in Oregon on the day of the attack, Brandon is detained for weeks without charge. In a gripping true account of one of the U.S. government’s biggest blunders in the “War on Terror,” the Mayfields invite you into the secretive world of espionage, faulty forensics, and wrongful accusations.

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Advanced Topics in Forensic DNA Typing: Interpretation

by John M. Butler

 

Summary:

Advanced Topics in Forensic DNA Typing: Interpretation builds upon the previous two editions of John Butler’s internationally acclaimed Forensic DNA Typing textbook with forensic DNA analysts as its primary audience. Intended as a third-edition companion to the Fundamentals of Forensic DNA Typing volume published in 2010 and Advanced Topics in Forensic DNA Typing: Methodology published in 2012, this book contains 16 chapters with 4 appendices providing up-to-date coverage of essential topics in this important field. Over 80 % of the content of this book is new compared to previous editions.

 

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Advanced Topics in Forensic DNA Typing: Methodology

by John M. Butler

 

Summary:

Intended as a companion to the Fundamentals of Forensic DNA Typing volume published in 2009, Advanced Topics in Forensic DNA Typing: Methodology contains 18 chapters with 4 appendices providing up-to-date coverage of essential topics in this important field and citation to more than 2800 articles and internet resources. The book builds upon the previous two editions of John Butler’s internationally acclaimed Forensic DNA Typing textbook with forensic DNA analysts as its primary audience.  This book provides the most detailed information written to-date on DNA databases, low-level DNA, validation, and numerous other topics including a new chapter on legal aspects of DNA testing to prepare scientists for expert witness testimony. Over half of the content is new compared to previous editions. A forthcoming companion volume will cover interpretation issues.

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Ethics in Forensic Science: Professional Standards for the Practice of Criminalistics

by Peter D. Barnett

 

Summary:

With the complexity of the interactions between the methodology of science, the principles of justice, and the realities of the practice of law and criminalistics, ethical issues frequently arise. One of the hallmarks of a profession is a code of ethics to govern the actions of members of the profession with one another, with users of the professional service, and with those who are affected by actions of the practitioner. Ethics in Forensic Science: Professional Standards for the Practice of Criminalistics examines the necessity for a code of ethics for forensic scientists, describes the fundamental features of such an ethical code, illustrates some ethical conflicts that arise in the course of professional practice, and gives examples of resolution of some of these conflicts. This volume also describes the development of alternative ethical codes that have been adopted by forensic science organizations. It explores the strengths and weaknesses of varied codes and provides concrete examples that illustrate alternative courses of action that might be taken and how different codes of ethics may require, permit, or proscribe alternatives under consideration.

 

 

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Genetic Witness: Science, Law, and Controversy in the Making of DNA Profiling

by Jay D. Aronson

 

Recommended - a view of forensic DNA history through the lens of a social scientist

 

Summary:

In Genetic Witness, Jay D. Aronson uncovers the dramatic early history of DNA profiling that has been obscured by the technique's recent success. He demonstrates that robust quality control and quality assurance measures were initially nonexistent, interpretation of test results was based more on assumption than empirical evidence, and the technique was susceptible to error at every stage. Most of these issues came to light only through defense challenges to what prosecutors claimed to be an infallible technology. Although this process was fraught with controversy, inefficiency, and personal antagonism, the quality of DNA evidence improved dramatically as a result. Aronson argues, however, that the dream of a perfect identification technology remains unrealized.

 

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Scientific Protocols for Fire Investigation (Protocols in Forensic Science)by Jay D. Aronson

by John J. Lentini

 

Recommendation:

"This new book is one of the finest efforts at a modern, scientific, fire investigation text that I have ever encountered. Every professional fire investigator and fire litigation attorney MUST have a copy of this book. It quite literally sets a new "standard" for our industry.

Don't just take my word for it. If you don't feel the need to purchase the book now it is OK - you will be eating it page by page during your next cross examination."

                  - Patrick Kennedy, President of the National Association of Fire Investigators

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Suspect Identities: A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification

by Simon A. Cole

 

Recommended - a fresh look at the art of the print

 

Summary:

As we rush headlong into the era of genetic identification, and as fingerprint errors are being exposed, this history uncovers the fascinating interplay of our elusive individuality, police and state power, and the quest for scientific certainty. Suspect Identities offers a necessary corrective to blind faith in the infallibility of technology, and a compelling look at its role in defining each of us.

 

Truth Machine: The Contentious History of DNA Fingerprinting

by Michael Lynch, Simon A. Cold, Ruth McNally, and Kathleen Jorda

 

 Recommended - a critical look at the history of forensic DNA by a group of social scientists

 

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The Innocents

by Taryn Simon (photos) and Peter Neufeld (commentary)

 

Recommended - Photos and commentary about exonerated convicts

 

Summary:

Leading civil rights attorneys Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck of The Innocence Project commissioned photographer Taryn Simon to travel across the United States photographing and interviewing individuals who were convicted of heinous crimes of which they were innocent. Simon photographed these innocents at sites of particular significance to their illegitimate conviction: the scene of the crime, misidentification, arrest, or alibi. Simon’s portraits are accompanied by a commentary by Neufeld and Scheck.

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Fingerprints

by Francis Galton

 

Recommended - a reprint of the Galton original

 

Summary:

The Making of the Modern Law: Legal Treatises, 1800-1926 includes over 20,000 analytical, theoretical and practical works on American and British Law. It includes the writings of major legal theorists, including Sir Edward Coke, Sir William Blackstone, James Fitzjames Stephen, Frederic William Maitland, John Marshall, Joseph Story, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and Roscoe Pound, among others. Legal Treatises includes casebooks, local practice manuals, form books, works for lay readers, pamphlets, letters, speeches and other works of the most influential writers of their time. It is of great value to researchers of domestic and international law, government and politics, legal history, business and economics, criminology and much more.

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