Evidence Found

Evidence Found

An Approach to Crime Scene Investigation

1st Edition - January 5, 2015

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  • Author: David Miranda
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128020944
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128020661

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Evidence Found: An Approach to Crime Scene Investigation is not another analysis of forensic errors using an "After the Fact" or "Lessons Learned" approach but a "Before the Fact" guide that examines the thought processes that can lead to those mistakes. Plus a few extras tips and tricks from the author’s experience of over 25 years. Many high-profile crime scene investigations (and routine ones, for that matter) have suffered errors that have had negative impact on the investigation result and in the courtroom. Typically, we examine what happened and develop a useful list of what to do and what not to do, fixing the symptoms but potentially leaving ourselves open to the same error type on the next scene. The reason? Many crime scene mistakes are the result of systemic issues that are repeated due to a failure to include an evaluation of the decision-making process, including our own foundations of knowledge. Through case study and logical argument, this book attempts to provide a framework to recognize, evaluate, and alter negative decision-making patterns, including evaluating our own experience, before they negatively impact an investigation or the overall operation of a forensic unit.

Key Features

  • Enhances the base concepts of evidence search and sequential processing for error avoidance
  • Examines the systemic areas/practices of a crime scene investigation where errors can occur
  • Includes a Evidence Matrix - a crime scene evaluation tool that aids in sequential processing decisions
  • Contains tips on overcoming common crime scene issues, inlcuding night time searches
  • Provides courtroom Testimony - communicating comparison findings to a jury


Forensic professionals and those who work with them. Anyone who manages a forensic unit or has authority over the forensic portion of an investigation. Professionals involved in an analysis of a crime scene investigation or unit or those with a general interest in the field.

Table of Contents

    • Foreword
    • Preface
    • Acknowledgments
    • Introduction
    • List of Figures
    • Chapter 1. The Evidence Search—Where It All Begins
      • Fifteen Minutes of Planning Can Save Hours of Problems
      • Intention Is a Conscious Choice Not a Default Setting
      • Case Study 1: Cartridges? What Cartridges?
    • Chapter 2. Evidence Search Techniques—Tips and Tricks
      • Situation 1—Knowing Where Evidence Is Not
      • Situation 2—Field Testing of Theories
      • Situation 3—Grass, Shell Casings, and Night
      • Situation 4—Suspects Wearing Gloves (Latent Prints)
      • Situation 5—Suspects Wearing Gloves (DNA)
      • Situation 6—Magnetic Powder Usage: Metal
      • Situation 7—Nighttime Evidence Search
      • Situation 8—Nighttime Evidence Search
      • Situation 9—Evidence Search Indoors
    • Chapter 3. Sequential Processing: Determining Evidence Value
      • Definitions
      • Crime Scene Layout Analysis
    • Chapter 4. Sequential Processing: Evaluating Evidence and Process
      • Definitions
      • Application of the Concepts to the Decision-making Process
      • Case Study 1 Analysis
    • Chapter 5. Sequential Processing: Crime Scene Briefing
      • Case Study 1: The Video
      • Case Study 2: Step by Step
    • Chapter 6. Evidence Processing: The Decision-Making Process
      • Case Study 1: A Request for DNA
    • Chapter 7. The Schema of Criminal Investigations: Knowing and Not Knowing
      • Case Study 1: Understanding Our Own Scope of Knowledge
      • Case Study 1: Researching the Tool
      • Case Study 1: Researching the Money
      • Case Study 2: Redefining What Makes an Expert
    • Chapter 8. The CSI Effect: A New Approach
      • Analysis and History of the Phenomenon
      • Responding to the Phenomenon
      • Responding: Let the Air Out of the Balloon but Don’t Pop It
      • Responding: Questions: A Distracting Opportunity
      • Responding: Forensic Translation
      • Case Study 1: The Recalcitrant Assistant
    • Chapter 9. Emergencies: Plan, Respond, Create
      • Case Study 1: The Need Is Urgent and the Time Is Now
    • Chapter 10. Courtroom Techniques—Old and New
      • Are “Yes” and “No” Sufficient for Today?
      • Planning for the First Impression
      • Who Are You Talking to?
      • Use the Right Words at the Right Time
      • Print Comparison Testimony: An Alternative Approach
      • 100% Certainty in Conclusions
      • Discomfort and Boredom: Do Not Show Them
      • Public Speaking: Your Secret Terror?
      • The “Other” Side
      • The Prosecution
      • Testifying to Mistakes
      • Clerical Errors
      • Procedural Errors
      • Substantive Errors
      • Clerical Error Testimony
      • Procedural Error Testimony
      • When Testimony Tries to Deflect the Error
      • Substantive Error Testimony
      • Explaining Justified but Misunderstood Decisions
      • Testifying to Evidence Contamination
      • Hypotheticals: What Really Is Possible?
    • Chapter 11. Ongoing Challenges
      • Reflections on the First Public Meeting of the National Commission on Forensic Science
      • Applied Science versus Pure Science
    • Chapter 12. Miscellany
      • Do’s and Don’ts for First Responders
      • Additional Tips and Tricks
    • Chapter 13. Final Thoughts
      • A Note of Encouragement
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 198
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2015
  • Published: January 5, 2015
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128020944
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128020661

About the Author

David Miranda

I worked for the Pasadena (CA) Police Department for 24 years and was a founding member of the forensic unit when it became civilianized. During my tenure, I attained a high level of expertise in several areas including crime scene investigation, evidence processing, fingerprint comparisons, crime scene reconstruction, and courtroom testimony. Prior to retirement, I became the primary trainer of all new hires for crime scene processing, lab processing of evidence, and training to competency in print comparisons. I also worked several years as a part-time in instructor at a local forensic school, with several students going on to employment and current service in the field in various agencies throughout Southern California and one in Michigan. My career included work in several high profile cases such as the 1993 Halloween Homicide and the assisting in the Glendale Train Wreck of 2005. During my tenure, I began work on the Instructor Development Course from the California Peace Officer Standard and Training (California POST) and recently completed the Level 3 Certification. I will be applying for the Master Instructor course in 2015. After retirement from Pasadena, I worked for BAE Systems in the JEFF Program (Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facilities) and deployed to Afghanistan as a contractor for a total of 21 months. This was in support of the Coalition mission. I worked in different labs as an evidence processor as well as a fingerprint expert. I also was privileged to be an instructor of Afghan nationals from the Ministry of Interior of the government of Afghanistan. My field of instruction included developing their expertise in fingerprint comparisons as well as giving them tools to be trainers of future examiners. This relationship also led to the sponsorship of the first members from Afghanistan to the International Association for Identification, 2011-2012. During my employ, I passed the required elements and became a Certified Latent Print Examiner (CLPE). Prior to my career in forensics I attained a Master’s degree in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, one of the top seminaries in the world and worked as a ministry professional, obtaining an ordination from the American Baptist Church in 1983. I hold a 1st degree Black Belt in Hapkido. Finally, my first job was as a park construction worker in my hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado. A park I constructed, 95% solo, can be seen on Goggle Maps as Blevins Park, Ft Collins, Colorado.

Affiliations and Expertise

Glendale Community College, Glendale, CA, USA

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