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Crime Scene Interpretation

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While reconstructing the crime scene you are in reality interpreting the information that you find by examining and processing the scene for evidence. This evidence will then permit you to make factual statements in regards to your findings. For instance, examining a footwear impression left at a scene you will be able to determine what direction the person was walking when that impression was made. Therefore you are interpreting the information you discovered to develop a factual reconstruction. In other words you are placing your interpretations in a logical order to reconstruct what has taken place in the crime scene. This will apply to all crime scenes that are left intact and are not disturb by the victims, paramedics or police officers. Never, never assume or guess at the reconstruction without all the facts from the interpretation.

As trained crime scene technicians you are expected to develop the maximum amount of information from the crime scenes. This information is developed by processing the scene for physical and testimonial evidence. The testimonial evidence is the interpretation of the facts in the crime scene.

Let’s take an armed robbery at a convenient store as an example. The store clerk is approached by an armed suspect who robs the store and flees from the store, jumps into an awaiting car and escapes from the scene. The store clerk gives the investigators a statement as to what has occurred. This statement will include what the store clerk observed. His or her observations will include the description of the suspect and vehicle. This is testimonial evidence. They will testify in court as to their observations, the same as a trained crime scene technician will testify to his interpretations. However his interpretations are based on facts that he will have to prove in court. This proof will be based on physical evidence and the interpretation of that evidence.

Let’s carry this a little farther. You are called to a residential burglary where unknown suspects forced their way into a residence and stole items belonging to the victim. You examined the residence and find that the back door has been forced open with the use of a wide pry type tool. You know this to be a fact because of the size and shape of the tool mark. A closer examination of the tool mark reveals a blue paint transfer from the tool to the white wood door casing. Now you know for a fact that the tool used is a wide pry type tool that is either blue in color or has blue paint on it. Since this is the point of entry to the residence you exam the outside area around it. You discover a footwear pattern in the soil leading to the point of entry. This same pattern is evident on the door where the suspects had also kicked the door to force it open. Again you have factual evidence, the footwear pattern, to make this interpretation. You process this door and casing for fingerprints and discover cloth impressions. The cloth impressions would indicate that the suspects either had gloves on at this point or a cloth material over their hands. Just because you find cloth impressions at the point of entry don't assume that the suspect kept his gloves on all the time. You may find an item that he had to handle with both hands and discover that he had a glove only on one hand.

Inside the residence you observe the same footwear pattern as found on the door and in the yard. This pattern leads to every room in the residence that has obvious disturbance caused by the suspects, i.e., drawers pulled out and dumped, closets rifled, jewelry boxes dumped on the bed, and so on. This footwear evidence will lead you to interpret the direction that the suspect went inside the house. Finding different patterns of footwear impressions inside and out could tell you how many suspects were in the residence.

This procedure continues throughout the residence gathering physical evidence that will allow you to make factual interpretations of the crime scene. Unfortunately this information usually is not documented by the crime scene technician in his crime scene report. Documentation is made by notes, sketches and photographs. If you observe something in the crime scene then DOCUMENT IT!

How are you going to convince the judge or jury of your interpretations if you can't prove the facts as you observed them. This is where most mistakes are made by the crime scene technician testifying in court hearings. They know what they saw but failed to properly document their observations. Remember to never assume or guess and always document your observations by sufficient notes, photographs and sketches.

Слова к тексту 3:

1. in regards to - относительно, в отношении, что касается

2. an impression - отпечаток, след

3. to be intact - быть неповрежденным, нетронутым

4. to assume [əˊsju:m] - предполагать, допускать

5. testimonial evidence - свидетельские показания

6. a convenient store [kənˊvi:njənt] - магазин, работающий до поздна

7. residential [ˏrezɪˊdenʃəl] - жилой (район)

8. a pry type tool - инструмент похожий на монтировку

9. to be evident - быть очевидным

10. to handle - держать

11. disturbance [dɪsˊtə:bəns] - беспорядок

12. to rifle [ˊraɪfl] - обыскивать (с целью грабежа)

13. to convince [kənˊvɪns] - убеждать

14. to testify - давать показания в суде


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