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Forensic Science – Final Exam Review
Chapter 1
 Define the following terms: Forensic science, expert witness, Locard’s
exchange principle, toxicology, anthropometry
Recognize the major contributions to the development of Forensic Science.
List four methods that have been used by forensic scientists to identify
individuals and place them in chronological order according to their
Account for the rapid growth of forensic laboratories in the past forty years.
Describe the services of a typical crime laboratory.
Describe the major crime labs operated by the U.S. Federal government.
What were the important principles established in the court cases Frye v.
United States and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as related
to the admissibility of scientific evidence in federal courts?
What is the main difference between the testimony given by an expert
witness and that given by a lay witness?
List and describe the responsibilities of a forensic scientist.
Chapter 2
1. Define the following terms: physical evidence, chain of custody,
standard/reference sample, buccal swab, substrate control, rigor mortis, livor
mortis, algor mortis, autopsy, forensic anthropology, forensic pathology,
forensic entomology
2. Describe the important role physical evidence plays as compared to
eyewitness testimony, and confessions in criminal court cases.
3. Describe the responsibilities of the first police officer who arrives at a crime
4. Explain the steps to be taken to thoroughly record the crime scene.
5. Understand the various systematic methods for searching a crime scene.
6. Describe the proper techniques for packaging common types of physical
7. Explain the roles of the forensic pathologist, forensic anthropologist, and
forensic entomologist in a homicide investigation
1. Why is it important to exclude onlookers from a crime scene?
2. What is the most important requirement for photographing a crime
3. In what situations is an autopsy typically performed?
4. What are some methods that a forensic scientist can use to
approximate time of death?
Chapter 3
 Define the following terms: identification, comparison, individual
characteristics, class characteristics, crime scene reconstruction
Review the common types of physical evidence encountered at crime scenes.
Forensic Science – Final Exam Review
List and explain the function of national databases available to forensic
Explain the difference between the identification and comparison of physical
Define and contrast individual and class characteristics of physical evidence.
Chapter 4
 Define the following terms: density, refractive index, concentric fracture,
radial fracture, refraction, Becke line
Describe the manner in which density and refractive index are measured for
samples of physical evidence.
Define and understand the physical properties of glass used by forensic
Describe the composition and uses for various types of glass.
Describe the types of information that can be obtained by analyzing broken
glass evidence.
Explain how the 3R rule is used by forensic scientists in the analysis of glass.
Explain the jigsaw effect and how it relates to the analysis of glass evidence.
How might a forensic scientist tell which of two fractures on a piece of glass
was created earlier?
1. What is the only way to individualize glass fragments found at a crime
scene to a single source?
Chapter 5
 Define the following terms: precursor, analog, spectrophotometry,
Understand how the Controlled Substances Act regulates drugs, precursors
and analogs.
Describe the difference between screening and confirmation tests. List
several methods for each.
Understand the advantages and limitations of color tests and
microcrystalline tests for detecting the presence of drugs.
Name three distinct advantages of gas chromatography in the identification
of drugs. What is the main drawback of gas chromatography in the
identification of drugs?
Describe how infrared and ultra-violet spectrophotometry are used to analyze
What analytical device is a gas chromatograph often connected to in order to
analyze drug mixtures? Why?
Forensic Science – Final Exam Review
1. What is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States? Under
what class of drugs is it listed and what are its short-term physical and
psychological effects at low to moderate doses?
2. What is the most widely abused drug in the United States? Under what
class of drugs is it listed and what are its short-term physical and
psychological effects at low to moderate doses?
3. On what three criteria does the Controlled Substances Act classify
dangerous substances?
4. What is the difference between a qualitative evaluation and a quantitative
evaluation of drug evidence?
Chapter 6
 Define the following terms: toxicologist/toxicology, metabolism, implied-
consent law
Explain how alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, transported
throughout the body, and eliminated by oxidation and excretion.
Name at least three factors that influence the rate at which alcohol is
absorbed into the bloodstream.
Describe techniques that forensic toxicologists use to isolate and identify
drugs and poisons.
1. What is a toxicologist? Name three settings in which a toxicologist
often works.
2. What scientific observation forms the theoretical basis for breath
3. What type of container best ensures the preservation of blood samples
and why? What two substances should be added to a blood sample
after collection and why?
4. Describe challenges toxicologists face in detecting drugs and
determining their toxicity.
Chapter 8
 Define the following terms: luminol,
 List the various techniques for analyzing or characterizing bloodstains.
 Explain how surface texture affects the appearance of blood spatter
 Explain how the direction of travel can be determined from a blood droplet
 Explain how the angle of impact of a blood droplet can be determined from a
 Explain how the origin of blood spatter can be determined
Forensic Science – Final Exam Review
1. What technique replaced blood typing for associating bloodstain evidence
with a particular individual?
2. What 3 questions must the criminalist answer when examining dried blood?
Chapter 9:
 Define the following terms: DNA, nucleotide, complementary base pairing,
proteins, amino acids, replication, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), tandem
repeat, restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP), electrophoresis,
short tandem repeats (STR)
Describe the procedures for proper preservation of biological evidence for
laboratory DNA analysis
Explain the reasons that scientists or criminologists would investigate DNA
finger prints.
List and describe the components of a nucleotide. How are nucleotides linked
to form the double helix known as DNA?
Describe the process of DNA replication. What is the importance of DNA
List two advantages STRs have over restriction fragment length
polymorphisms (RFLP).
What is CODIS? How is CODIS useful to forensic scientists?
How are reference samples obtained from possible suspects?
Chapter 10
Define the following terms: cuticle, cortex, medulla, follicular tag, natural fibers,
manufactured fibers, polymer, monomer
distinguish between animal and human hair
list hair features that are useful for microscopic comparison
explain proper collection of forensic hair evidence
describe and understand the role of DNA typing in hair comparisons
understand the differences between natural and manufactured fibers.
list the properties of fibers that are most useful for forensic comparisons
describe the proper collection of fiber evidence.
Chapter 14
 Define the following terms: anthropometry, arch, loop, whorl, latent
fingerprint, visible print, plastic print, ridge characteristics
Describe the 3 fundamental principles of fingerprints that are useful to
forensic scientists.
List the three major characteristics of fingerprints used for classification
Distinguish visible, plastic, and latent finger prints
List the techniques for developing latent fingerprints
Describe the concept of an automated fingerprint identification system
1. When using AFIS, who makes the final verification of a print’s identity?
Forensic Science – Final Exam Review
2. What are some drawbacks or limitations in using AFIS?
3. How are prints from hard and non-absorbent surfaces developed?
4. How are prints from soft and porous surfaces developed?