• Home
  • Archive by category 'Investigative Science'

Archive for ‘Investigative Science’

Are Drug Dogs Unreliable? Yes!

“Are Drug Dogs Unreliable? Yes!” by John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.

The Washington Post just published an article that says that the science on the subject indicates “that drug dogs have disturbingly high rates of ‘false alerts’, sometimes with error rates well above 50 percent”. The article indicates that drug dogs can be deliberately or inadvertently influenced by their handlers. If this is true, the validity of evidence developed from the use of these dogs is questionable, at best. This should be the subject of a lot of discussion in the criminal justice system, especially in the criminal defense sector.

Check these links and others (in the article) collected by Radley Balco, the author of the above noted Washington Post article.

“The Mind of a Police Dog”

“NHP Troopers Sue…”

“Police Dog Named “Bono”…”

“Illinois State Police Drug Dogs…”

Tribune analysis: Drug-sniffing dogs…

“Handler beliefs affect…”

 

 

Bite Mark Analysis Fair Basis For Criminal Conviction?

Bite Mark Analysis Fair Basis For Criminal Conviction? by: John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.  

A forensic dentistry methodology known as bite mark analysis came up in the news today. The story is about a former Akron, Ohio, police captain who has spent 14 years in prison for allegedly murdering his wife. It appears that bite mark analysis was the sole evidence supporting the charges against him. The Ohio Innocence Project is working to get him exonerated.

The story raises an obvious question in my mind. How can evidence derived from a very controversial forensics methodology be used to convict a person of a crime with no other evidence to support the charges? It seems to me that the the controversial nature of the methodology should raise the “reasonable doubt” question in our innocent-until-proven-guilty criminal justice system.

Until the controversy is resolved, no one should be convicted solely on bite mark analysis.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/forensic-dentistry4.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forensic_dentistry#Bite_mark_analysis

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-12-25/news/ct-met-bitemark-lawsuit-20111225_1_bite-mark-evidence-wrongful-convictions-dna-evidence

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090916123515.htm

 

 

U of Washington PI Certification Program #1 in Nation

U of Washington PI Certification Program #1 in Nation by John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.

As a successful Seattle private investigator and graduate of the Private Investigation Certification program at the University of Washington in Seattle, I am very pleased to see that PInow.com ranked the program as #1 of the “Top 25 Private Investigator Training and Education Programs” in the nation.

As a professional trainer and as someone with a lot of formal education, I had ranked it, based on personal experience, as excellent, both for faculty and program content. I’ve recommended the program to several people who wanted to know how to get into the business. It’s nice to get validation for my views from PInow.com.

 

Domestic Violence Victims Likely Child Victims First

Adult Domestic Violence Victims Likely Child Victims First by John F. Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator

Domestic violence cases almost always leave me feeling a mix of emotions, anger, sadness and frustration. Too often, adult domestic violence cases involve the abuser and a victim who keeps coming back for more abuse, time after time after time. When a victim keeps making excuses for the abuser’s behavior and keeps returning for more, the sick co-dependency becomes obvious. The emotions I feel are for both abuser and victim, because the abuser very likely has a history of being a victim of abuse as a child.

The following report about a recently published research project helps explain this phenomenon. I believe that teenage abusers and some of their victims are very likely to go on to similar behavior in adulthood.

“Teen victims of dating violence are overwhelmingly more likely to have been victims of other forms of violence, such as sexual violence and child abuse, according to new research from the University of New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center.”

 

Weather

Weather by: John F Hays, a Seattle Private Investigator.

Do you need to know the weather for a particular day at a particular location in the past? Is the weather pertinent to a legal case? Or do you just want to settle an argument with your spouse?

The Weather Underground site will tell you the weather at the closest data collection points for dates back through the early 70’s.

First fill in the search box in the upper left corner of the home page to identify the location for which you are searching for weather data. Hit “enter”.

Then go to the “History and Almanac” box on the page that comes up for the location you selected. Fill in the date of interest and hit the “Go” button. You will get a page showing a summary of weather details for that location.

Some pages will give you more detailed data (hourly observations and seasonal weather averages) for that date and location; be sure to scroll down to get the extra data when provided.

Remember that the data you get is specific to the location and date you selected. Click on “View Current Conditions” to get the latitude, longitude and elevation for the data collection point.

Micro-climates matter. Weather varies over time and, for a specific time, over geographic location and elevation. Unless the data collection point is your real point of interest, you can only make inferences about the data for any other locations, even close by.

You can triangulate by getting data from surrounding data collection points. For a recent case, I collected data for Boeing Field, Everett and Bothell to allow more reliable inferences about road conditions for a location near to, but outside of, Bothell.

Be sure to play with the site; it offers a considerable amount of interesting and educational information.

 
© 2012 HSI Investigations, A Seattle Private Investigator