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   2016| January-March  | Volume 2 | Issue 1  
    Online since February 3, 2016

 
 
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REVIEW ARTICLES
Significance of Dental Records in Personal Identification in Forensic Sciences
Vagish Kumar L Shanbhag
January-March 2016, 2(1):39-43
DOI:10.4103/2349-5014.155551  
Forensic odontology is a branch that connects dentistry and the legal profession. One of the members in the forensic investigation team is a dentist. Dentists play an important and significant role in various aspects of the identification of persons in various forensic circumstances. However, several dentists and legal professionals are quite ignorant of this fascinating aspect of forensic odontology. A need was felt to fill this gap. The dental record is a legal document possessed by the dentist and it contains subjective and objective information about the patient. A PubMed search and Google search were done for articles highlighting the importance of dental records in forensic sciences using the key words "forensic odontology, forensic dentistry, forensic dentists, identification, dental records, and dental chart". A total of 42 articles relevant to the title of the article were found and reviewed. The present article highlights the role of dentists in forensic sciences, their possible contributions to forensics, and the various aspects of forensic dentistry, thus bridging the gap of knowledge between the legal and the dental fraternities.
  8,415 917 4
The Hot Issues and Future Direction of Forensic Document Examination in China
Bing Li
January-March 2016, 2(1):22-27
DOI:10.4103/2349-5014.170619  
The domain of forensic document examination consists of a variety of professional tasks related to the history and preliminary of questioned documents. The wide area of tasks implemented by forensic document examiners includes the skill to identify the authorship of handwriting and signature; discriminate among genuine, imitated, or disguised handwriting; to examine and analyze components of inks, papers, and other materials connected with documents; and other highly skilled analyses based on specialized technique. The field of handwriting examination is tightly related to empirical knowledge and practical experience. Handwriting is usually thought to be behavioral activities that are identifiable due to the appearance of features and characteristics within the writing. When we assess these features we universally analyze them in two aspects: Both quality and quantity of writing. As mentioned above, the evaluation of quality and quantity is performed by forensic document examiners. The problem is how to conduct this kind of evaluation related to empirical knowledge and experience. There is not consistent answer yet, although many researchers devote themselves to explore in this hot issue, such as mathematical methods applied in handwriting analysis. In this article, several mathematical methods applied to forensic document field are deciphered in domestic perspective of China. In the digital age, we all inevitably deal with problems with the help of computer or computer technology. We also pay close attention to the computer technique assistant in the field of forensic document examination. Standards or criteria of forensic document examination are still hot issues in China. Although we established a few standards or criterion based on requires of practice, it is also a lack of standards or criterion associated to trainees and continuing education in view of practitioners. At the end of this article, the author intends to discuss a piece of a challenge to forensic document examination, which are also universal issues abroad. Those who are critical of the current state of knowledge in this area argue that members of the judiciary have failed to sufficiently address the shortcomings of the forensic document evidence proffered in criminal trials. Specifically, critics of forensic document examination argue that little valuable wording exists in the report to support the validity and reliability of the methodology and findings of forensic document examination.
  8,461 758 2
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Determination of Diphenylamine in Gunshot Residue by HPLC-MS/MS
Hongcheng Mei, Yangke Quan, Wenhao Wang, Hong Zhou, Zhanfang Liu, Huixia Shi, Peng Wang
January-March 2016, 2(1):18-21
DOI:10.4103/2349-5014.162808  
A high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) protocol was developed for the determination of diphenylamine (DPA). Four productions of DPA were selected for qualitative assay and the peak area of the main product ion for quantitation. By means of separation using an Agilent Extend-C18 column (CA, USA) (150 mm × 4.6 mm, 5 μm) with methanol-water (90:10) as the mobile phase, DPA was detected by electrospray ionization (ESI) tandem mass spectrometry in positive mode. The linearity of the peak area versus concentration ranged 5-500 ng/mL, r 2 = 0.9978. The limit of detection (S/N =3) of this method was 0.3 ng/mL. This method is applicable for the determination of DPA in gunshot residue.
  4,470 641 7
CASE REPORTS
Choking or Epilepsy
Raktim Pratim Tamuli, Debarshee Chakraborty, Nayan Kumar Das, Braja Gopal Das
January-March 2016, 2(1):57-59
DOI:10.4103/2349-5014.155549  
Choking is a form of asphyxia caused by an obstruction within the air passage usually between the pharynx and bifurcation of the trachea. It is commonly associated with alcohol intoxication, neurological injury, or senility. Choking is almost always accidental. Suicidal and homicidal chokings are rare. Here, in the present case, the dead body of a 29-year-old male was brought by the local police to the mortuary of Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Guwahati for medico-legal autopsy, who as reported, was mysteriously found dead on his bed. After complete and thorough autopsy, the cause of death was opined to be due to asphyxia as a result of antemortem choking, following impaction of the food bolus in the laryngotracheal region. The person had a history of a single episode of seizure (epilepsy) about 1 month back.
  4,583 383 -
Application of a Standard Procedure to Avoid Errors When Comparing Fingerprints with Their Reversals in Fake Documents
Carlos Magno Alves Girelli
January-March 2016, 2(1):60-64
DOI:10.4103/2349-5014.162807  
Laterally reversed (mirrored) fingerprints are difficult to detect by applying routine search procedures. One suggestion to avoid errors when dealing with probable reversals is to perform comparisons with both direct and reversed fingerprints. This simple procedure has been applied and led to the detection of two more cases of reversed fingerprint usage in fake documents. In one of the reported cases, experts found on the web the same fingerprints used by criminals in fake documents. This finding is important because it indicates that matched fingerprints do not necessarily link different criminal cases.
  4,173 351 1
REVIEW ARTICLES
Forensic Dental Identification: Practice in Indian Context Compared to Western Countries
Sudheer B Balla
January-March 2016, 2(1):44-47
DOI:10.4103/2349-5014.161629  
Today, in most of the countries forensic dental identification is considered as one of the most accurate and reliable method of identification of human remains. This application of forensic dentistry has proven successful in both single identification cases as well as in multiple fatality incidents such as world trade center disaster in 2001, the Asian tsunami in December 2004 etc. Comparative dental identification is one of the primary means of identification along with DNA and fingerprint analysis and also the most common method of identification of human remains. Identification of human remains from dental records is mandated by the law in some countries. India is one of the most disaster-prone countries of the world. It has had some of the world's most severe droughts, famines, earthquakes, road accidents, and rail accidents. In this paper, few multiple fatality incidents that took place over the last decade in India are reported. A brief analysis of all the reported cases and difficulties encountered during identification were discussed. The purpose of this paper is to discuss some of the issues involved in body identifications following disasters in India. The author also discussed to what extent Indian government is successful in utilizing the expertise of a forensic dentist in body identifications and also compared the present practice of forensic dental identification in India to Western countries. The goal is to cite situations and to bring issues into better focus, and hence that the identification procedures can be refined and changes can be made as necessary.
  3,929 478 2
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Estimation of the Postmortem Interval by Measuring Blood Oxidation-reduction Potential Values
Zhuqing Jiang, Meng You, Xu Wang, Di Lu, Haidong Zhang, Shengli Di, Fengqin Zhang, Zhaoming Guo, Xiaofei E, Lin Chang, Jian Xiang, Rufeng Bai, Tiantong Yang
January-March 2016, 2(1):8-11
DOI:10.4103/2349-5014.155727  
Accurate estimation of the postmortem interval (PMI) is an important task in forensic practice. In the last half-century, the use of postmortem biochemistry has become an important ancillary method in determining the time of death. The present study was carried out to determine the correlation between blood oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) values and PMIs, and to develop a three-dimensional surface equation to estimate the PMI under various temperature conditions. A total of 48 rabbits were placed into six groups and sacrificed by air embolism. Blood was obtained from the right ventricle of each rabbit, and specimens were stored at 10°C, 15°C, 20°C, 25°C, 30°C, and 35°C. At different PMIs (once every 4 h), the blood ORP values were measured using a PB-21 electrochemical analyzer. Statistical analysis and curve fitting of the data yielded cubic polynomial regression equations and a surface equation at different temperatures. Result: The results showed that there was a strong positive correlation between the blood ORP values at different temperatures and the PMI. This study provides another example of using a three-dimensional surface equation as a tool to estimate the PMI at various temperature conditions.
  3,430 569 2
Psychotropic Medication Refusal: Reasons and Patients' Perception at a Secure Forensic Psychiatric Treatment Centre
Olajide O Adelugba, Mansfield Mela, Inam U Haq
January-March 2016, 2(1):12-17
DOI:10.4103/2349-5014.175614  
Poor adherence to prescribed medication regimens can undermine the effectiveness of medications. This study was conducted to determine the demographic profile of forensic psychiatric inpatients refusing medications and to identify the reasons for refusal. Data were collected through interviews using a questionnaire including Drug Attitude Inventory-10. Medication refusal was more common among Aboriginals (68%, n = 34) than Caucasians (32%, n = 16) and was highest among the patients 21-30 years of age (44%, n = 22). Antisocial personality disorder and substance use disorder featured prominently among patients refusing medications. The main reasons for medication refusal were inconvenience (34%, n = 17) followed by side effects (22%, n = 11), ineffective medication (20%, n = 10), illness-related (16%, n = 8), and no reasons (8%, n = 6). Antipsychotic medications topped the list of the major classes of medications refused followed by Antidepressants and Mood Stabilizers.
  2,942 321 1
REVIEW ARTICLES
An Alternative to the Adversarial: Studies on Challenges of Court-appointed Experts
Zhuhao Wang
January-March 2016, 2(1):28-32
DOI:10.4103/2349-5014.170618  
At present, experts have become a mainstay of modern litigation, although criticisms suggest that the problems of how to fit expert knowledge comfortably into the method of adversarial fact-finding are numerous, significant, and without simple solutions. Concerns about partisanship and lack of scientific competence by adjudicators to evaluate contradictory expert testimony have been widely recognized in the traditional use of party-called expert witnesses. While such concerns cannot be wholly ameliorated, there may be alternative mechanisms that can help. One solution would be to call for the use of neutral court-appointed experts, to create a nonpartisan source of expert knowledge. A system of neutral court-appointed experts is an advisory tribunal to the court that could deliver "those general truths, applicable to the issue, which they may treat as final and decisive." However, no matter in which country, the choice of appointing neutral experts still seems to be a rare option for trial judges to consider and exercise. An obvious question would be: Why are neutral experts not used more frequently at trial? This paper did a study on court-appointed experts, with a focus on challenges that such mechanism faces. Part I examines problems in the traditional use of expert witnesses in an adversarial system. Part II discusses the incentives to make greater use of court-appointed experts in a typical adversarial system and to what extent such mechanism would solve difficulties within the traditional use of party-called expert witnesses. Part III further explores and analyzes obstacles that a typical neutral expert system nowadays encounters when it operates in practice. Taking all analysis together, Part IV makes an overall evaluation of the mechanism of court-appointed experts.
  2,792 296 1
CASE REPORTS
Meckel-Gruber Syndrome: Autopsy Based Approach to Diagnosis
Asaranti Kar, Ipsita Dhal, Neha Madurwar, Shyama Kanungo
January-March 2016, 2(1):53-56
DOI:10.4103/2349-5014.165708  
Meckel-Gruber syndrome (MGS) is a rare lethal congenital malformation affecting 1 in 13,250-140,000 live births. The classical diagnostic triad comprises multicystic dysplastic kidneys, occipital encephalocele, and postaxial polydactyly. It can variably be associated with other malformations such as cleft lip and palate, pulmonary hypoplasia, hepatic fibrosis, and anomalies of central nervous system. A 20 weeks fetus was diagnosed as MGS with classical features along with many other congenital abnormalities such as microcephaly, microphthalmia, hypertelorism, cleft lip and palate, neonatal teeth, and the right side club foot which were detected only after doing autopsy. This case is reported because of its rarity emphasizing the importance of neonatal autopsy in every case of fetal death, especially where the antenatal diagnosis has not been made previously. A systematic approach to accurate diagnosis of MGS based on autopsy will be described here which can allow recurrence risk counseling and proper management in future pregnancies.
  2,670 251 -
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Changes of Adenylate Cyclase and Guanylate Cyclase in the Frontal Cortex, Lenticula, Corpus Amygdaloideum, and Hippocampus in Morphine-dependent Rats
Shijun Hong, Dongxian Zhang, Lihua Li
January-March 2016, 2(1):1-7
DOI:10.4103/2349-5014.161631  
To detect the changes of adenylate cyclase (AC) and guanylate cyclase (GC) in the four cerebral regions that are concerned with psychogenic dependence of morphine in rats, including the frontal cortex, lenticula, corpus amygdaloideum, and hippocampus. To discuss the relation between the expressions of AC and GC with the psychogenic dependence on morphine. Different periods of morphine-dependent rat models were established, and enzyme histochemistry was used to detect the variations of AC and GC in four cerebral regions. Compared with the control group, AC and GC in all the morphine-dependent groups increased. The data indicated that the amounts of AC and GC were significantly different between the morphine-dependent groups and the control group when tested at periods of 1 week, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks (P ˂ 0.05 or P ˂ 0.01). There were significant differences when comparing the 1-week group with the 2-week, 4-week, and 8-week groups (P ˂ 0.05 or P ˂ 0.01). There were significant differences when comparing the 2-week dependent group with the 4-week dependent group or the 8-week dependent group (P ˂ 0.05 or P ˂ 0.01). The activities of AC and GC increased in four cerebral regions of morphine-dependent rats. The psychogenic dependence on morphine appears to be closely linked to the upgrade of AC and GC.
  2,436 282 -
BRIEF COMMUNICATION
Integration of Trace Images in Three-dimensional Crime Scene Reconstruction
Quentin Milliet, Eric Germain Sapin
January-March 2016, 2(1):48-52
DOI:10.4103/2349-5014.172009  
Forensic image analysis has greatly developed with the proliferation of photography and video recording devices. Trace images of serious incidents are increasingly captured by first responders, witnesses, bystanders, or surveillance systems. Image perception is exposed with a special emphasis on the influence of the field of view on observation. In response to the pitfalls of the mental eye, a way to systematize the integration of images as traces in three-dimensional crime scene reconstruction is proposed. The systematic approach is based on the application of photogrammetric principles to slightly modify the usual photographic documentation as well as on the early collection and review of available trace images. The integration of images as traces provides valuable contributions to contextualize what happened at a crime scene based on the information that can be obtained from images. In a wider perspective, the systematic analysis of images fosters the use and interpretation of forensic evidence to complement witness statements in the criminal justice system. This article outlines the benefits of integrating trace images into a coherent reconstruction framework in order to improve interpretation of their content. A solution is proposed to integrate perception differences between the field of view of cameras and the human eye.
  2,390 270 -
REVIEW ARTICLES
Practical Straits of the Forensic Examination in China
Zhong Zhang
January-March 2016, 2(1):33-38
DOI:10.4103/2349-5014.175615  
With the revision of the Criminal Procedural Law of the PRC and the Civil Procedural Law of the PRC in 2012, it has entered a new historical stage of litigation system and made significant progress in forensic examination system in China. However, for a long time, the illegal forensic examinations have been commonly seen in forensic practice, the right to start the forensic examination process only lies with public security and judicial authorities, while the parties only have the limited right to apply for supplementary forensic examination or re-examination. To the problem of experts' refusal to appear in court to testify, the Criminal Procedural Law and the Civil Procedural Law have further improved the expert testimony system, but the situation has not fundamentally changed. To compensate for judges' lack of knowledge of professional issues, the expert advisor system is introduced, but there are no workable rules. Besides, judges depend too much on and accept the expert opinions blindly become a common phenomenon in the proceedings.
  1,715 175 -