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Flashcards in Unit 3 AC1.2 Deck (36)
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describe what this term means: DNA forensics

DNA forensics is a branch of forensic science which focuses on the use of genetic material in criminal investigation


describe what this term means: Computer forensics

Computer forensics (also known as computer forensic science) is a branch of digital forensic science pertaining to evidence found in computers and digital storage media. The goal of computer forensics is to examine digital media in a forensically sound manner with the aim of identifying, preserving, recovering, analysing and presenting facts and opinions about the digital information.


describe what this term means: methods using insects

Forensic entomology is the use of insects and their arthropod relatives that inhabit decomposing remains to aid in legal investigations.


describe what this term means: Forensic Anthropology

Forensic anthropology is the scientific study of human skeletal remains in the context of crime or medico-legal contexts. It is a fairly new and growing discipline that is made up of several branches of academic disciplines brought together to assist in legal cases involving the death and/or identification of individual people.


what happened in the case of Colin Pitchfork

Colin Pitchfork was the first person to be convicted of murder and rape based on DNA fingerprinting evidence and the first to be caught as a result of mass DNA screening.


What is DNA profiling and what are its limitations?

-DNA profiling is the process of determining an individual’s DNA characteristics. Analysis of DNA identifies a species, rather than an individual, is known as DNA barcoding.
-There is a lack of privacy.
-The data could be hacked.
-It can easily be manipulated


summarise the article MI6 spy in a bag- forensic officer contamination

MI6 agent Gareth Williams’ body was found naked and padlocked in a gym bag, there was a significant amount of DNA found on the victim’s hand which was the result of contamination from a scientist who examined Williams’ flat creating doubt surrounding the reliability of the evidence presented. He is believed to have died a week before his body was found.


summarise the article of the phantom of Heilbronn

Female serial killer in Germany, her DNA linked her to 40 crimes, the police failed to realise that the swabs used to take DNA from the crime scenes may have contaminated by the factory worker who made them in Austria. Despite sterilization of the swabs before use it doesn’t remove DNA and the swabs were not certified for taking DNA samples to start with.


Look at the case of Colette Aram and use of DNA in securing the conviction of Colette’s murder, 26 years after the event took place.

In 2008 technological advancements allowed Nottingham police to put together a DNA profile for Colette's murderer, finding Paul Steward Hutchings guilty, after his son was routine swabbed when arrested on a motoring charge.


Look at the case of David Butler and murder of a prostitute and the use of DNA to prove his innocence.

-David Butler spent eight months in prison, facing murder charges after his DNA was allegedly found on the victim. His DNA sample was on record after he had willingly given it to authorities as part of an investigation into a burglary at his mother's home some years earlier. The DNA sample was only a partial match, of poor quality, and experts at the time said they could neither say that he was guilty nor rule him out.

-He worked as a taxi driver, and so it was possible for his DNA to be transferred from his taxi via money or another person, onto the murder victim. The case eventually went to trial and Mr Butler was acquitted and finally released. Ms Foy's killer has never been caught and the case remains open.


describe a case of your own and research the use of DNA to secure a conviction or prove the criminal’s innocence.

Horace Roberts, 60, was freed from a California prison in October 2018 after DNA evidence showed he had been wrongfully convicted of murder nearly two decades before. The victim, Terry Cheek, had been having an affair with Horace and, when questioned about this by the police, he lied about the whole thing. Although he lied out of shame and embarrassment, the police only saw a man covering up a brutal murder. The prosecution focused on Horace’s inconsistent statements, pointing out his lies designed to cover up an affair, the presence of his truck near the crime scene, a purse in Horace’s possession that one of Terry’s daughters thought Terry left with the night she disappeared and Horace’s alleged watch found next to Terry’s body.15 years later, DNA testing would reveal that the watch did not belong to Horace at all, rather it belonged to someone related to the victim who had ample motive to kill the victim, and with the help of the California Innocence Project, Horace was found innocent and released from prison after 20 years.


What is the role of CCTV and how may it help a criminal investigation?

CCTV may assist in identifying who was involved in a crime either directly = when a suspect is recognised by someone viewing the recording, or indirectly = when the recording shows a suspect touching a surface from which police are then able to recover forensic evidence.


Thinking back to the London Riots – how was CCTV used to incriminate participants taking part in criminal activities?

CCTV at the London riots recorded offenders throwing bricks at police, a moped rider pulled off his machine when he strayed onto a street of rioters, one of many youths in hoods setting fire to a building through a broken window and youths sliding under a broken shop shutter to steal whatever they could. "A lot of these youths are wearing scarves to hide their faces but we're not just reliant on that," Martin Lazell, chairman of the Public CCTV Managers Association in London, said. "We can identify people on how they walk, their height, their clothes, shoes, all manner of things."


What is covert surveillance?

Covert surveillance is carried out without the subject's knowledge. Covert surveillance is likely to result in the obtaining of private information about a person i.e. a record of their movements and activities.


Research the case of Colin Stagg and the honey-trap used by the police. What did the court rule about the process?

The honey-trap = a young policewoman went undercover, befriending Stagg and enticing him into discussing violent sexual fantasies. During a "friendship" that lasted many months, Mr Stagg told Lizzie he had fantasised about Miss Nickell's killing but he never admitted responsibility. Stagg was charged with the murder and held in custody for a year. But the case was thrown out at the Old Bailey in 1994 by Mr Justice Ognall, who refused to put the undercover officer's evidence before a jury. The judge said the use of the honey-trap tactic was "not merely an excess of zeal, but a blatant attempt to incriminate a suspect by positive and deceptive conduct of the grossest kind"


what did Ainsworth say about about offender profiling

“Profiling generally refers to the process of using all the available information about a crime, a crime scene and a victim in order to compose a profile of the (as yet) unknown perpetrator.”


what does geographical profiling mean

Geographical profiling is an investigative support technique for serial violent crime investigations. The process analyses locations connected to a series of crimes to determine the most probable area in relation to where the offender lives.


what does Investigative psychology mean

Investigative psychology attempts to describe the actions of offenders and develop an understanding of crime. The understanding of crime can assist when solving crimes and contribute to prosecution and defence procedures.


what does Typological profiling mean

Typological profiling concentrates primarily on behavioural evidence obtained at the scene(s) of specific crime(s). Evidence about how the offender committed the crimes is used to assign them to a category of offender.


What is the difference between organised crimes and disorganised crimes?

Organised crimes are ones which have been planned and there isn’t evidence of emotional rage, the crime scene reflects overall control. The crime scenes of a disorganised crimes can be described as random and sloppy.


Explain the ‘Barnum effect’  

-The Barnum effect is the tendency to accept true types of information such as character assessments even when the information is so vague as to be worthless.

-Occurs when individuals believe that personality descriptions apply specifically to them (more so than to other people), despite the fact that the description is actually filled with information that applies to everyone e.g. you have a box of old unsorted photographs in your house, you had an accident when you were a child, you’re having problems with a family member or friend etc.


what are the weaknesses with using offender profiling in an investigation

* It combines law enforcement and forensic psychology to narrow down an investigation when the offender leaves no physical trace (John Duffy case) *

It adds information to a profile that is not based on facts – including stereotypes can lead to looking for the wrong suspects

It relies on facts about a crime scene that may not actually be facts e.g. perpetrator might steal food because they’re hungry, when in fact they were just doing it for the thrill

Its methods are limited – there are just seven methods and six scientific approaches that are used in criminal profiling; if someone fits outside of these methods, then developing an accurate profile is not possible

It is based on consistency e.g. though people tend to be oriented with certain routines, a different situation can cause them to react differently as well. A criminal who keeps committing the crime would not do the same thing again if they finds out that the police are looking for them

It profiles only on educated assumptions – for an offense that is being investigated through criminal profiling, the suspect can just be outside of the profile to get away with it


What is eyewitness testimony (EWT) and what are some of the doubts about it as part of an investigation?

An eyewitness testimony refers to an account given by people of an event they have witnessed. For example, they may be required to give a description at a trial of a robbery or a road accident someone has seen. This includes identification of perpetrators, details of the crime scene etc.

The testimony can contain parts that are made up by the witness due to pressure of the courtroom, it’s not always accurate as people can falsely remember images and events that occurred at the crime scene and this can result in the jury convicting the wrong person.

For the best result, there needs to be at least 2 or 3 eyewitnesses for conviction.


List 5 factors shown to reduce accuracy of eyewitness identifications?

memory reconstruction, lineup issues , anxiety and stress, visual characteristics, the length of time a witness has to observe


explain what is meant by memory reconstruction

fragments of what people saw are pieced together like a puzzle in their minds as they recall memories, so discussing an event may alter people’s memories, or their perceptions of what they saw


what is meant by line up witnesses

Witnesses are often asked to identify suspects through lineups, both physical and photographs. If the proper procedures are not followed, however, law enforcement officers may unintentionally indicate to witnesses who they should choose e.g. if the photographs used are different sizes or have different lighting, it may cause one person’s picture to stand out over the others


why does stress and anxiety affect memory

Witnessing a crime can be a stressful experience. In some cases, the anxiety people experience as a result of such events may alter their perceptions of whom or what they saw e.g. they may focus on the weapon rather than the suspect or other details


how do visual characteristics effect eye witness testimony

witnesses often base their identifications off a suspect’s defining features or characteristics. However, wearing a wig, hat, glasses or other disguise may change how a person looks. As a result, people may misidentify someone as a suspect, and he or she may be found guilty of a crime


how does the length of time a witness observes a face affect the memories accuracy

it affects their subsequent capacity to recognize that face (Maclin, 2001)


What is entomology?

-Entomology is a branch of zoology concerned with the study of insects. Forensic entomology is the use of the insects, and their arthropod relatives that inhabit decomposing remains to aid legal investigations.


What is meant by the term, ‘expert witness’?

-An expert witness is defined as a person whose level of specialized knowledge or skill in a certain field qualifies them to present their opinion about the facts of a case during legal proceedings.


What is meant by the term blood splatter (pattern) analysis?

-Blood splatter (pattern) analysis is when the physical aspects of the production of bloodstains during crimes of violence are examined in order to potentially determine the sequences of events that occurred after blood was let.


what percent of cases did juries convict on where line up identification was the only prosecution evidence



in 352 wrongful convictions where DNA overturned the case what percent of these did EWT play a part



what have psychologists suggested that police do in cognitive interviews to preserve memories of victims

they should use cues to encourage recalls by reinstalling the context and reporting everything the witness saw.


what becomes less clear over time and what stays vivid

memory traces and information become less clear over time but faces remain the same so victims can help police find the perpetrator.