Whenever we open a case to work on, we are always making decisions. Which items should be examined first? Should all the items be examined, or only some of them? What type of information does each examination provide and how does that impact decisions on what to examine? How do we know what to sample and where? What is the significance of the test results in the context of the case? How does one know when the work is done? This two-day class will provide a logical framework and principles for making defensible decisions while working on non-complex biological-evidence cases. The principles are elicited as students are presented with casework examples. Examples from many cases will be used. The presentation will consist of interleaved lectures and exercises that participants will do in small discussion groups. This class covers material suitable for a forensic scientist with little casework experience or little experience with complex casework. Class is limited to 36 students. Casework Approach I introduces tools that apply to all types of cases. Casework Approach II briefly introduces the same tools, then adds and spends more time on tools for complex casework including using case hypotheses that address evaluating various scenarios to explain what occurred.
Lecture, classroom exercises, and discussion
This workshop provides conceptual tools for the forensic practitioner to use in making the everyday decisions upon which the development of sound and defensible scientific information rests. Doing a thorough job on a case does not mean examining everything or doing all possible analyses. Upon completion of this workshop, the participants should have the principles -- and a logical framework -- for making decisions about the focus, priority, and sequence of examinations and when the work can be considered done. The suggested approach is grounded in understanding the case context and is directed toward providing information that addresses the overall case issues.
Little or no casework required. Non-complex casework involves laboratory examination or a standard battery of examinations or analyses, the results of which lead to a definitive conclusion acceptable to experts in the field.
No cost to California public crime laboratory personnel. A $240.00 tuition fee will be required of all other public agency, private sector, or out-of-state applicants.