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  • Unit 5 Crime Conversations: Atlanta Child Murders

    Posted by Stacey Leitz on 4/13/2017 10:34:44 AM

    Crime Conversations: The Atlanta Child Murders

    Case:  Wayne Williams was convicted of murdering two people in 1981, however the cases of many other Atlanta children were closed at the same time.  Click here for a video review of the case profile.  There was circumstantial evidence as well as class evidence in the form of hair and fibers.  In a 2010 interview with CNN Williams maintained his innocence.  His appeal.   Many people argue that Williams was framed.   Additionally, hair analysis has been called into question as an incontrovertible forensic science technique by The Innocence Project, the National Academy of Sciences and the FBI's inspector general.  In a recent Retro Report for the NY Times, titled: DNA Analysis Exposes an Inexact Forensic Science, hair analysis is reexamined.  At the time of the murders, DNA fingerprinting was not available, so we may never know the validity of the hair analysis.

     
     

    Investigate:  Consider the following questions:

    • Do you think the circumstantial and class evidence was sufficient to convict Williams?

    • Many people maintain that Williams was framed.  What do you think the defense could have done to better promote this thesis?

    • Williams got upset when he testified, if you had been a juror, how do you think that would have affected you?

     

    Evaluate:  You will earn up to 10 points for your participation in the discussion and will be assessed using the discussion rubric: General Requirements for Discussions.

    Post your thoughts on the questions posed about the case and submit them by the due date. 10 points
    Comments (0)
  • Unit 4 Crime Conversations: The Roy Brown Case

    Posted by Stacey Leitz on 3/27/2017 11:47:00 AM

    Crime Conversations: The Roy Brown Case

    Case: The bite pattern of a suspect can be matched to the bite marks associated with a crime scene, just as fingerprints of suspects can be matched to fingerprints at a crime scene.  (Bertino p. 443)

    In 1991 Sabina Kulakowski was found murdered and Roy Brown was convicted of the crime based on bite-mark analysis.  Watch Part 2 (second 15 minutes) of the PBS documentary Forensics on Trial for details into another case of mistaken identity.   

    Investigate: Consider the following questions:

    • Do you think the circumstantial evidence influenced the forensic dentistry analysis?

    • Do you think there should be any consequences when it is discovered that a forensic scientists incorrectly analyzes evidence?  If so, what consequences?

    • The documentary claims that fingerprint and bite mark analyses are more art than science.  Do you agree with this statement?

    • Do you think evidence that involves interpretation should be allowed into a trial?

     

    Evaluate:  You will earn up to 10 points for your participation in the discussion and will be assessed using the discussion rubric: General Requirements for Discussions.

    • Post your thoughts on the questions posed about the case and submit them by the due date. 10 points

    Comments (0)
  • Unit 3 Crime Conversations: The Madrid Train Bombings

    Posted by Stacey Leitz on 3/16/2017 10:46:00 AM

    Case: This week we'll consider The Madrid Train Bombing Case.

    In 2004 several commuter trains were attacked with bombs in Madrid.  As you read the wikipedia overview of the Madrid train bombings, I'm sure you'll see several similarities the Boston bombings case.  Unlike the the Boston bombings, the Madrid case relied heavily on fingerprint evidence which turned out to be misleading.  Watch Part 1 (first 15 minutes) of the PBS documentary Forensics on Trial for details into the case of mistaken identity.

     

    Investigate: Consider the following questions:

    • Did the film change your perceptions on fingerprints?

    • Do you think it was inappropriate for the FBI to make an arrest based on fingerprint evidence?

    • What changes need to be made to fingerprint analysis in order to make the process more scientific?  How would you prioritize those changes given governmental budget constraints?

    • Do you think fingerprint evidence will continue to be a significant form of evidence now that we have DNA fingerprinting?

     

    Evaluate:  You will earn up to 10 points for your participation in the discussion and will be assessed using the discussion rubric: General Requirements for Discussions.

    Post your thoughts on the questions posed about the case and submit them by the due date. 10 points
    Comments (10)
  • Unit 2 Careers in Forensics Blog

    Posted by Stacey Leitz on 2/23/2017 9:55:28 AM

    Part 1:

    • ​Research and record the following information for your assigned career:
    • ​​(Click here for career assignments)​
      • Name of Career
      • Daily tasks and Responsibilities
      • Education

      • Certification/Licenses Required

      • Salary
        (cite all sources!)

    • Once you have gathered the information listed above post it to this blog in the above format. ​

    Part 2:
    • Read through the posts on each of the different careers in the field of forensics.
    • Make one reply comment to your classmates’ posts in the blog.

    • Things you could comment about:

      • The career you are most interested in and WHY (thoughtful posts here don’t just say ‘cause I think it would be wicked cool’ OK?)

      • The career you don’t think you could do and WHY

      • The career that surprised you some way and WHY

     

    I’m looking for quality in your two posts.

     

    Evaluate:

    You will earn up to 15 points for this assignment.

    10 points for your initial career post.

    5 points for your reply.

    Comments (14)
  • Unit 1 Crime Conversations: The Jeffrey MacDonald Case

    Posted by Stacey Leitz on 2/7/2017 9:30:00 AM

    Crime Conversations: The Jeffrey MacDonald Case

    Introducing Crime Conversations:

    Most units we will start by having a discussion of one or more cases that relate to that week's topic.  You will be supplied with a brief video or online reading on the case, and then you will be required to post your thoughts on the case within the context of the guided questions.  

     

    A final note, many well-publicized cases involve highly controversial topics.  When you discuss the case you need to be mindful of the guidelines that were set forth in the course expectations.  Under no circumstances should conversations deteriorate into slanderous or derogoratory comments.  This isn't YouTube or Twitter; you are being graded on these discussions in an academic forum.  If you have an concerns about the nature of the conversation, please let me know.

     

    Case:

    This week we'll consider the Jeffrey Macdonald Case.

    Macdonald was a green beret doctor who was convicted of murdering his wife and two children in 1970.  Watch this video for an overview of the case.  Errol Morris reexamined the case in 2012 for his book, "A Wilderness of Error".  In it he claims the investigators "rejected, supressed and misinterpreted crime scene evidence".  In an NPR interview on "A Wilderness of Error" Morris also claims  authorities "pursued an unethical vendetta"  against Macdonald.

    Click here for a recent article in People Magazine regarding the case.

     

    Investigate:

    • Consider the following questions:

    • Do you think the State should reexamine cases when claims of evidence mishandling are made?

    • From your perspective, how has crime investigation changed since 1970 when these murders occurred?

    • Do you think if the case was tried now that the verdict would be different?  Why or why not?

     

     Evaluate:

    You will earn up to 10 points for your participation in the discussion and will be assessed using the discussion rubric: General Requirements for Discussions.

    Post your thoughts on the questions posed about the case and submit them by the due date. 10 points
    Comments (16)

Announcements

  • Welcome!

    Welcome to Science class!  I am looking forward to a great year getting to know each of you and exploring the scientific world together.

    Comments (-1)