Journal of Forensic Sciences (J Forensic Sci )

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing

Description

The Journal of Forensic Sciences is the official publication of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). It is devoted to the publication of original investigations, observations, scholarly inquiries, and reviews in the various branches of the forensic sciences. These include Pathology and Biology, Toxicology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, General, Odontology, Physical Anthropology, Jurisprudence, Criminalistics, Questioned Documents, and Engineering Sciences. Similar submissions dealing with forensic-oriented aspects of the social science are also published.

  • Impact factor
    1.24
  • 5-year impact
    1.49
  • Cited half-life
    9.20
  • Immediacy index
    0.17
  • Eigenfactor
    0.01
  • Article influence
    0.41
  • Website
    Journal of Forensic Sciences website
  • Other titles
    Journal of forensic sciences (En ligne)
  • ISSN
    1556-4029
  • OCLC
    300302550
  • Material type
    Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Blackwell Publishing

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author cannot archive a post-print version
  • Restrictions
    • Some journals impose embargoes typically of 6 or 12 months, occasionally of 24 months
    • no listing of affected journals available as yet
  • Conditions
    • See Wiley-Blackwell entry for articles after February 2007
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • On author's server, institutional server or subject-based server
    • Server must be non-commercial
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged with set statement ("The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com")
    • Articles in some journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge
    • 'Blackwell Publishing' is an imprint of 'Wiley'
  • Classification
    ​ yellow

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aims of this study were to enable geometric morphometric sex classification using tibial proximal and distal sexual dimorphism and to evaluate the secular trend of tibial shape/form from the early 20th century to the present day. The study samples consisted of 61 adult tibias from an early 20th-century Czech population and 57 three-dimensional tibias from a 21st-century population. Discriminant function analysis with cross-validation was carried out to assess the accuracy of sex classification. Shape analysis revealed significant sex differences in both tibial extremities of the 21st-century sample and in the proximal tibia of the 20th-century population. Sex-based divergence varied between the analyzed samples, raising the issues of population specificity and diachronic change. Classification using tibial form was more successful than using tibial shape. The highest values of correct assignment (91.80% and 88.52%) were found using the form from the early 20th Czech population.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 03/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Animal-inflicted injuries to humans are a major public health problem around the world resulting in great morbidity, money loss and mortality. They are related to wild and domestic animals alike. Animals can cause injuries by various mechanisms – biting, stinging, crushing, goring, stomping, butting, kicking, pecking, etc. We present a case o f a ram's attack with fatal consequences. A 4-year old, 120 kg jezersko-solčava breed ram with prior history of aggressive behavior inflicted multiple injuries to his 83-year-old owner, who died in the hospital a few hours later due to severe blunt force injuries sustained in the attack. The autopsy revealed the cause of death to be multiple injuries of the thorax and the head. Sheep, even though they are not considered aggressive or large farm animals like cattle and horses, can inflict serious injuries with devastating results.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Although worker injury and fatalities have decreased since adoption of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970, it remains an important safety issue. This article describes a 27-year-old white male who died from occupational exposure to airborne chemicals. Several trends in the last several decades, both in the types of injuries and the occupations associated with fatalities, are noted. Additionally, individual risk factors such as age, gender, chronic disease, smoking, and alcohol and drug use are implicated in worker health and safety. The role of the forensic pathologist in the investigation of workplace deaths is highlighted, in addition to the future of occupational safety and current improvements brought about by such incidents. © 2014 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Evidentiary samples submitted to a forensic DNA laboratory occasionally yield DNA that is degraded. Samples of intact chromosomal DNA (both nuclear and mitochondrial) were subjected to a heating protocol to induce DNA degradation. The DNAs were then analyzed using a multiplex PCR assay that amplifies targets of low and high molecular weight on the X/Y and mitochondrial chromosomes. If degradation is random, the amplification of larger DNA targets should be more adversely affected by degradation than smaller targets. In nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from a male donor, exhibiting degradation, DNA quantity estimates based upon higher molecular weight amplicons (HMW) are significantly lower than estimates made using low molecular weight (LMW) Q-TAT amplicons. DNA degradation estimated using this approach correlated well with actual fluorescence associated with HMW and LMW STR alleles amplified from the same genomic DNA templates. Q-TAT is thus useful not only as a quantitation tool, but also as an indicator of template degradation. © 2014 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Manual recovery of spray paints from textiles using a microscope, the routine method in many laboratories, is often laborious. Beating the clothing with a plastic rod, the routine method used for recovery of glass traces within the authors' laboratory, is proposed as an alternative. The efficiency of the method was evaluated by spray tests with fluorescent paint. In these tests, paint particles in the acquired debris samples, as well as those remaining on the textiles, were investigated. The results show that beating is an efficient way to recover and concentrate paint particles. A good efficiency for jeans fabric and rough knitwear is reported. The results appeared to be less satisfactory for smooth woven fabric. Application of the method in casework was effective for graffiti paints as well as for flaked car paint. © 2014 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, a large number of designer drugs sold as "Bath Salts" have appeared on the market. In July of 2011, Raving Dragon Novelty Bath Salts was obtained over the Internet. This product became unavailable in October of that year coinciding with the DEA issuing a temporarily schedule of mephedrone, methylone, and MDPV. Four months later in February of 2012, a new product was released from the same company under the new name Raving Dragon Voodoo Dust. The contents of both products were identified using spectroscopy methods: nuclear magnetic resonance, infrared, UV-visible, tandem mass spectrometry, and high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry. It was determined that Raving Dragon Novelty Bath Salts contained methylone. The replacement product Raving Dragon Voodoo Dust contained the unscheduled drug pentedrone. The Raving Dragon brand of products illustrates the rapid change of ingredients in these products to circumvent laws restricting availability, distribution, and use. © 2014 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: To prevent image forgeries, a number of forensic techniques for digital image have been developed that can detect an image's origin, trace its processing history, and can also locate the position of tampering. Especially, the statistical footprint left by JPEG compression operation can be a valuable source of information for the forensic analyst, and some image forensic algorithm have been raised based on the image statistics in the DCT domain. Recently, it has been shown that footprints can be removed by adding a suitable anti-forensic dithering signal to the image in the DCT domain, this results in invalid for some image forensic algorithms. In this paper, a novel anti-forensic algorithm is proposed, which is capable of concealing the quantization artifacts that left in the single JPEG compressed image. In the scheme, a chaos-based dither is added to an image's DCT coefficients to remove such artifacts. Effectiveness of both the scheme and the loss of image quality are evaluated through the experiments. The simulation results show that the proposed anti-forensic scheme can verify the reliability of the JPEG forensic tools.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In further work investigating the intriguing application of diacetylene copolymers in fingermark detection, methods were developed to control (inhibit or enhance) the diacetylene polymerization reaction in fingermarks treated with a mixture of the monomers 2,4-hexadiyne-1,6-bis-(phenylurethane) (HDDPU) and 2,4-hexadiyne-1,6-bis(p-chlorophenylurethane) (HDDCPU) in acetone solution. These methods included the use of a humidity chamber to reduce the amount of background development while promoting development on the fingermark, subjecting developed fingermarks to freezing temperatures and using a solvent to remove unreacted monomer in order to inhibit the polymerization reaction. Developed fingermarks were enhanced by conventional lighting (white light, filtered light) and fast Raman mapping, which was shown to be advantageous over FTIR imaging. This study also demonstrated the applicability of diacetylene copolymer solutions in the covert detection of fingermarks on difficult surfaces. Furthermore, fingermarks were successfully developed with good ridge detail on pig skin (used as a model for human skin, a notoriously difficult surface on which to develop fingermarks).
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Three cases of pharmacobezoars are reported to demonstrate typical autopsy findings and potential lethal mechanisms: (i) A 32-year-old woman died following an overdose of prescription medications. A gelatinous pharmacobezoar was found forming a cast of her bronchial tree. (ii) A 24-year-old woman also died following an overdose of prescription medications. At autopsy, two pharmacobezoars were present, one within the larynx and another occluding the right main bronchus. Deaths in both cases were attributed to airway occlusion by pharmacobezoars complicating mixed drug toxicity. (iii) A 79-year-old man was found dead in a car. Death was attributed to the combined effects of carbon monoxide and drug toxicity with a large pharmacobezoar lodged within the esophagus. Pharmacobezoars are specific types of bezoars that occur when pharmaceutical materials, such as tablets, suspensions, and/or drug delivery devices, aggregate and contribute to death by occluding airways with tenacious material or by eluting drugs.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: To discriminate the acquisition pipelines of digital images, a novel scheme for the identification of natural images and computer-generated graphics is proposed based on statistical and textural features. First, the differences between them are investigated from the view of statistics and texture, and 31 dimensions of feature are acquired for identification. Then, LIBSVM is used for the classification. Finally, the experimental results are presented. The results show that it can achieve an identification accuracy of 97.89% for computer-generated graphics, and an identification accuracy of 97.75% for natural images. The analyses also demonstrate the proposed method has excellent performance, compared with some existing methods based only on statistical features or other features. The method has a great potential to be implemented for the identification of natural images and computer-generated graphics.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The photographic preservation of fingermark impression evidence found on ammunition cases remains problematic due to the cylindrical shape of the deposition substrate preventing complete capture of the impression in a single image. A novel method was developed for the photographic recovery of fingermarks from curved surfaces using digital imaging. The process involves the digital construction of a complete impression image made from several different images captured from multiple camera perspectives. Fingermark impressions deposited onto 9-mm and 0.22-caliber brass cartridge cases and a plastic 12-gauge shotgun shell were tested using various image parameters, including digital stitching method, number of images per 360° rotation of shell, image cropping, and overlap. The results suggest that this method may be successfully used to recover fingermark impression evidence from the surfaces of ammunition cases or other similar cylindrical surfaces.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Identification of cocaine and subsequent quantification immediately after seizure are problems for the police in developing countries such as Brazil. This work proposes a comparison between the Raman and FT-IR techniques as methods to identify cocaine, the adulterants used to increase volume, and possible degradation products in samples seized by the police. Near-infrared Raman spectra (785 nm excitation, 10 sec exposure time) and FT-IR-ATR spectra were obtained from different samples of street cocaine and some substances commonly used as adulterants. Freebase powder, hydrochloride powder, and crack rock can be distinguished by both Raman and FT-IR spectroscopies, revealing differences in their chemical structure. Most of the samples showed characteristic peaks of degradation products such as benzoylecgonine and benzoic acid, and some presented evidence of adulteration with aluminum sulfate and sodium carbonate. Raman spectroscopy is better than FT-IR for identifying benzoic acid and inorganic adulterants in cocaine. © 2014 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: An ink dating method based on solvent analysis was recently developed using thermal desorption followed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and is currently implemented in several forensic laboratories. The main aims of this work were to implement this method in a new laboratory to evaluate whether results were comparable at three levels: (i) validation criteria, (ii) aging curves, and (iii) results interpretation. While the results were indeed comparable in terms of validation, the method proved to be very sensitive to maintenances. Moreover, the aging curves were influenced by ink composition, as well as storage conditions (particularly when the samples were not stored in "normal" room conditions). Finally, as current interpretation models showed limitations, an alternative model based on slope calculation was proposed. However, in the future, a probabilistic approach may represent a better solution to deal with ink sample inhomogeneity.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Pediatric rib head fractures are typically described as "posterior" or "costovertebral," terms lacking specificity. To resolve this issue, a scheme was developed to describe the location of rib head fractures observed in a pediatric forensic population. The scheme uses three anatomical landmarks, terminus (tip), tubercle, and costovertebral articular surface to divide the rib head into two subregions, costovertebral and costotransverse. Examples of five cases of infants with rib head fractures are presented using this scheme. Forty-eight rib head fractures were observed in these infants with the following frequencies: 56% (three infants) at the terminus; 21% (three infants) in the costovertebral subregion; 21% (one infant) at the costovertebral articular facet; and 2% (one infant) in the costotransverse subregion. Due to the small number of cases assessed, statistical analyses could not be performed; however, the data demonstrate the variation in distribution of pediatric rib head fractures.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In some countries, it is illegal to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in blood; in others, the legal limit is 0.5 g/L or lower. Recently, some defendants charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and have claimed that positive breath alcohol test results were due to the ingestion of homeopathic mother tinctures. These preparations are obtained by maceration, digestion, infusion, or decoction of herbal material in hydroalcoholic solvent. A series of tests were conducted to evaluate the alcoholic content of three homeopathic mother tinctures and their ability to produce inaccurate breath alcohol results. Nine of 30 subjects gave positive results (0.11-0.82 g/L) when tests were taken within 1 min after drinking mother tincture. All tests taken at least 15 min after the mother tincture consumption and resulted in alcohol-free readings. An observation period of 15-20 min prior to breath alcohol testing eliminates the possibility of false-positive results.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Odontological identification consists of the comparison of antemortem dental information regarding a missing person with postmortem data from an unidentified corpse or human remains. Usually, the comparison concerns morphologic features that the operator chooses among all the visible characteristics because of inter-individual uniqueness; for this reason, implants can be of enormous assistance. A case concerning the recovery of a burnt oral implant, connected to a bone fragment, among 2780 charred bone fragments, suspected to have belonged to a victim of homicide, is presented to demonstrate that dental implants and their site of bone integration represent a very precious element for personal forensic identification. Because of their morphological invariability in time and because of their morphologic uniqueness, they were used as evidence to associate unidentified human charred remains to a missing person where DNA analysis failed to do so. The case illustrates the fundamental contribution, not yet described in literature, given by the clinical aspects of tooth replacement with dental implants to a forensic discipline. Clinical practitioners should therefore be aware of the great importance of their work and of dental records in a forensic identification scenario.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to compare the accuracy of contact and laser 3D scanners in tooth mark analysis. Ten dental casts were scanned with both 3D scanners. Seven linear measurements were made from the 3D images of dental casts and biting edges generated with DentalPrint© software (University of Granada, Granada, Spain). The uncertainty value for contact 3D scanning was 0.833 for the upper dental cast and 0.660 mm for the lower cast; similar uncertainty values were found for 3D-laser scanning. Slightly higher uncertainty values were obtained for the 3D biting edges generated. The uncertainty values for single measurements ranged from 0.1 to 0.3 mm with the exception of the intercanine distance, in which higher values were obtained. Knowledge of the error rate in the 3D scanning of dental casts and biting edges is especially relevant to be applied in practical forensic cases.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to assess observer error in phase versus component-based scoring systems used to develop age estimation methods in forensic anthropology. A method preferred by forensic anthropologists in the AAFS was selected for this evaluation (the Suchey-Brooks method for the pubic symphysis). The Suchey-Brooks descriptions were used to develop a corresponding component-based scoring system for comparison. Several commonly used reliability statistics (kappa, weighted kappa, and the intraclass correlation coefficient) were calculated to assess observer agreement between two observers and to evaluate the efficacy of each of these statistics for this study. The linear weighted kappa was determined to be the most suitable measure of observer agreement. The results show that a component-based system offers the possibility for more objective scoring than a phase system as long as the coding possibilities for each trait do not exceed three states of expression, each with as little overlap as possible.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to clarify whether positive results for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and acid phosphatase (AP) occur in postmortem swabs from the genito-anal region in males (n = 80; 4 regions) and females (n = 20; 3 regions) and to calculate the positive predictive value (PPV) concerning the presence of spermatozoa. In male subjects, the highest incidence of positive test results was found in urethral swabs (PSA 76%, AP 71%) and the lowest frequencies appeared in perianal and rectal swabs (15-20%). Microscopic evaluation for spermatozoa was positive between 39% in urethral swabs and 1% in rectal swabs. PPV regarding positive identification of spermatozoa was 33.3% for PSA and 31.5% for AP. The combination of both tests yielded a PPV of 38.2%. In female cases, no spermatozoa were identified, and one case was PSA- and AP-positive in perianal swabs. Our findings indicate that PSA and AP tests are of limited value for the postmortem detection of spermatozoa in male subjects.
    Journal of Forensic Sciences 11/2014;