San Jose State University Office Hrs: MW 1315-1715
Spring 2009 set by appointment via email
Class hours MW 1200-1315 email Steven.Lee@sjsu.edu
Room: MH 523 phone 408-924-2948
This course will teach an understanding of the fundamental theories of physical evidence, practically applied; and the legal consideration involved in its recognition, collection, preservation and presentation in court. Physical evidence includes such things as fibers, glass, hair, soil, bullets, fingerprints, and shoeprints. Learn the appropriate methods for processing, securing, and isolating a crime scene. Topics include recording the scene, searching for evidence, decision-making about what evidence is appropriate and necessary to collect, procedures for collecting physical evidence, and maintaining the chain of custody to avoid contamination.
Course Text and materials: Spartan Bookstore
Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation, Seventh Edition. 2004 Barry Fisher. ISBN084931691X, 544 pages. CRC Press
Required reading and internet materials:
Journal articles and other readings will be accessible at the SJSU library, on reserve or will be accessible on line. Citations and URLs for on line materials will be provided in assignments. The web sites we will use include the following
American Academy of Forensic Sciences Proceedings: www.aafs.org
California Association of Criminalists: www.cacnews.org
National Criminal Justice Reference Service: http://www.ncjrs.org/
President’s DNA Initiative training: www.dna.gov
Collecting DNA Evidence at Property Crime Scenes- Includes four modules focusing on DNA evidence from property crime scenes: 1) Types of Evidence, 2) Crime Scenes, 3) Evidence Collection and 4) Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Take the course.
First Responding Officers—What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence- Focuses on issues that arise for the first-responding law enforcement officer during the identification, preservation, and collection of DNA evidence at a crime scene. Take the course.
Investigators and Evidence Technicians—What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence- Delivers indepth information for the investigating officer or evidence technician on the identification, preservation, and collection of DNA evidence at a crime scene. Take the course.
Crime Scene Investigation: http://www.crime-scene-investigator.net/
CA Dept of Justice Physical Evidence Bulletins: http://www.cci.ca.gov/Reference/peb/peb.html , http://www.crime-scene-investigator.net/, and other forensic science web sites will be required reading.
Supplementary Texts (Optional)- Course material may include citations from the following:
Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation. 2004. Ross M Gardner. ISBN: 0849320437. CRC Press.
Bloodstain Pattern Analysis: With an Introduction to Crime Scene Reconstruction. 2001. Second Edition. Tom Bevel; Ross M Gardner ISBN: 0849309506. CRC Press.
Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques, Third Edition. 1996. Vernon J. Geberth. ISBN: 0849381568. CRC Press.
Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensic Science (College Version), 8/E, Copyright 2004, published 6-18-2003, RE. Saferstein, Ph.D., ISBN: 0-13-111852-8, Prentice Hall, 608 pp. http://vig.prenhall.com/catalog/academic/product/0,4096,0131118528,00.html
Henry Lee’s Crime Scene Handbook. 2001. Henry Lee. PhD. ISBN 0-12-440830-3, 418pp. Academic Press.
Forensic Science: An Introduction to Scientific and Investigative Techniques. 2003. Stuart H. James and Jon J. Nordby eds.,ISBN: 0849312469, 698pp. CRC Press
Experiments and Practical Exercises in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis. 1998. Laber, T and Epstein B. 1998 5th printing. Minnesota BCA.
The course will include lectures by the instructor and guest lectures from law enforcement agencies. Discussions, small-group hands-on activities, and hands-on crime scene exercises will also be included throughout the semester. On-line chat sessions if possible will also be offered.
Exams – 250 points (100 points per exam, 150 points for final): Three exams will be given in this course. Exams will be cumulative and will include all material covered up to the date of the exam. Exams may include multiple choice, matching, true/false, short answer, diagrams, drawings and sketches, short essay and/or long essay.
Exam 1: Monday Mar 2 1200-1315
Exam 2: Monday April 6 1200-1315
Final Tuesday May 19 0945-1200
Quizzes- 50 points
Quizzes on assigned readings, laboratories, small group activities and other assigned materials will be given during the semester. These will generally be multiple choice, matching, true/false and short answer but may also include essay questions. Quizzes will be given announced as well as unannounced. Each quiz may cover material that is assigned in the reading (on the greensheet) as well as material covered in the lectures and reading for previous days.
Hands-on Crime scene Assignments/Reports and Participation 50 points
There will be at least 5 crime scene activities held throughout the semester. These will include: measurements, documentation, searching a crime scene, fingerprints, and blood stain pattern interpretation, Written reports for three of the activities will be required (see general guidelines for reports below). During the semester, at least 1 report from each crime scene team will be collected, reviewed and returned. Each report will be worth 10 points (3x10=30)
At the end of the semester on May 13th all reports entered in notebooks will be collected. Participation in the crime scenes will also be graded (20 points).
Guidelines for Reports: All reports must contain the following sections: Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion with Conclusions, References, and Appendices with raw data. All pages must be numbered, initialed and dated and all materials must be firmly secured in the notebooks using a tape seal that has been initialed and dated.
Each report is worth 10 points. Reports will be graded using both administrative and technical criteria. Details of format and grading of the reports will be provided at the first crime scene session. Grading in general includes the following considerations
Administrative Criteria- Approximately 1 point each per crime scene report
Is the notebook bound (not spiral and no pages removed/loose) and are all crime scenes included?
Is the chain of custody completed for any evidence transfers and documented appropriately? Are proper citations and acknowledgements documented for other individual’s work (e.g. citations/references/teammates whole names)? Is the evidence, properly sealed and stored where indicated?
Is the documentation complete? Do the reports include notes, sketches and photographs? Are all pages numbered, dated and initialed? Is all data properly and securely inserted into the notebooks?
Where assigned, do the reports address the questions provided?
Are the reports organized with all sections? Is the writing clear and legible?
Technical and Scientific Criteria- Approximately 1 point each per crime scene report
Are data tabulated/summarized and analyzed accurately?
Does the data support the statements in the reports?
Are the statements within the report and between team members consistent? If not, are discrepancies explained?
Is the technical detail provided sufficient for court and would the CSI be able to reconstruct the “crime scene” years from now, based on the documentation?
Are additional external references/citations utilized (those not provided in the class)?
Quizzes 50 points
Exam 1 100 points
Exam 2 100 points
Final exam 150 points
Scene reports and participation 50 points
Total required 500 points
A total of 10 points may be granted for small group assignments and other assignments during the semester. Other assignments may consist of additional journal articles, URL readings, and other lectures and seminars that will be announced during class.
The extra credit assignment will be to read the article and then provide a 200 word summary (no longer than 1 page) with 3 submitted questions and 3 answers. Each assignment will be worth 1-2 points each. The assignments are usually due 1 week after they are made unless otherwise announced. These extra credit points may be used to augment your final point total.
The extra credit assignments will be graded and tabulated by the instructor. These will be returned at the end of the semester upon request.
Make-up exams will not generally be permitted. However, under extraordinary circumstances, with proper documentation and approval by the instructor, a 15 page single-spaced term paper of an instructor assigned topic, may substitute for 1 exam.
Professor Lee holds a BS from SUNY Binghamton, an MS from NYU and PhD from University of California, Berkeley in Molecular Biology. Lee holds several concurrent positions including a consulting position as Director of R&D at MiraiBio Inc. a small biotech company in Alameda, CA, Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley, and holds adjunct professor appointments in Biological Sciences at San Francisco State University and Chemistry at Florida International University. He was formerly the Director of R&D at CA Dept of Justice DNA Laboratory from 1994-2000 where he served as an expert witness in DNA and conducted DNA training courses. He is a full member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the California Association of Criminalists, a Fellow in Criminalistics of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and is an American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board certified inspector. He also served on the FBI Technical Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods group from 1994-2000. He has taught courses in molecular biology at SFSU (1996-1998), Forensic genetics at UC Davis (1997), and most recently forensic DNA Typing of STRs at FIU (2003).
Tentative Course Schedule (subject to change with fair notice):
Dates Topics Fisher
Week 1: Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation Chap 1 (C1)/
1/26 Handouts-Syllabus- Reading material
Ice Breaker- Introductions: Your background, my background
Course Description, requirements, grading etc. Set up small student groups
Welcome- Sign up for small groups - Safety concerns
Assignments- Study for the Quiz (we will have both announced and surprise quizzes)
Sign in- send an email to your team captain with your email address you would like to use. Team captains send an email to Steven.Lee@sjsu.edu and firstname.lastname@example.org with all your team mate emails and phone numbers-
Emails from team captains with all team member emails - Due 2 February
Read: Crime Scene Investigation: http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/200160.pdf
Section A. Arriving at the Scene:Initial Response/Prioritization of Efforts
Due 2 Feb.
Purchase CSI kit materials 1-10 (You may purchase pre-made kits from the forensic science student group See board for information on CSI kits)- Due 2 Feb.
Take Plagiarism tutorial and quiz- Bring hard copy of quiz results
Crime Scene Activity: Outdoor Crime Scene revisted
Week 16: Homicide Investigation and Reconstruction C16
5/11 Murder, Suicide, Accident
Signs of struggle Occums Razor- Estimating time of death- Autopsy
5/13 Ethics, Court Testimony and Crime Scenes & Review for Final
Logic, Ethics, and the Criminal Justice System- Crime Scene considerations
Considerations in evidence interpretation- Lessons from- Court Testimony
Student led- Course Review for final exam
Assignment 1. Due 2/2/08
Start to collect the following individually and with your team mates
For each person:
Bound notebook with page numbers- Spiral notebooks are not as good as pages can easily be torn our. If you need to use a spiral notebook, be sure every page is numbered.
Rulers and protractors (with metric and inches)
Graph paper (10 sheets/person)
Permanent sharpie markers (at least 2- black or blue)
Pens (ball points)
Manila envelopes (30 – 8x11”, 50 coin envelopes)
Paper bags (2/person)
Plastic ziplock bags (2/person)
Q tips (20/person)
For each team
Clear packing tape with dispenser
35 mm camera with 3 rolls of film or Digital Camera
Rope or Twine
Pill boxes (various sizes)
I will provide access to
Etoh wash bottles
Course Add/Drop Statement
Instructors are permitted to drop students who fail to attend the first scheduled class meeting and who fail to inform the instructor prior to the second class meeting of the reason for any absence and their intention to continue in the class. Some instructors will drop students who do not meet the stated course prerequisites. However, instructors are not required to drop a student from their course. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure classes are dropped.
You, the student, are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drops, academic renewal, withdrawal, etc. found at: http://sa.sjsu.edu/student_conduct
Dropping and Adding
Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drops, academic renewal, etc. Information on add/drops are available at http://info.sjsu.edu/web-dbgen/narr/soc-fall/rec-324.html
Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for adding and dropping classes.
Students should know that the University’s Academic Integrity Policy is available at http://www.sa.sjsu.edu/download/judicial_affairs/Academic_Integrity_Policy_S07-2.pdf . Your own commitment to learning, as evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University and the University’s integrity policy, require you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The website for Student Conduct and Ethical Development is available at http://www.sa.sjsu.edu/judicial_affairs/index.html.
Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cheating on exams or plagiarism (presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another person’s ideas without giving proper credit) will result in a failing grade and sanctions by the University. For this class, all assignments are to be completed by the individual student unless otherwise specified. If you would like to include in your assignment any material you have submitted, or plan to submit for another class, please note that SJSU’s Academic Policy F06-1 requires approval of instructors.
Academic integrity is essential to the mission of San José State University. As such, students are expected to perform their own work (except when collaboration is expressly permitted by the course instructor) without the use of any outside resources. Students are not permitted to use old tests, quizzes when preparing for exams, nor may they consult with students who have already taken the exam. When practiced, academic integrity ensures that all students are fairly graded. Violations to the Academic Integrity Policy undermine the educational process and will not be tolerated. It also demonstrates a lack of respect for oneself, fellow students and the course instructor and can ruin the university’s reputation and the value of the degrees it offers.
We all share the obligation to maintain an environment which practices academic integrity. Violators of the Academic Integrity Policy will be subject to failing this course and being reported to the Office of Judicial Affairs for disciplinary action which could result in suspension or expulsion from San José State University. The policy on academic integrity can be found at: http://sa.sjsu.edu/judicial_affairs/students/academic_integrity.html
Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act
If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the DRC (Disability Resource Center) to establish a record of their disability.
At SJSU, cheating is the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for academic work through the use of any dishonest, deceptive, or fraudulent means. Cheating at SJSU includes but is not limited to:
Copying in part or in whole, from another’s test or other evaluation instrument; Submitting work previously graded in another course unless this has been approved by the course instructor or by departmental policy. Submitting work simultaneously presented in two courses, unless this has been approved by both course instructors or by departmental policy. Altering or interfering with grading or grading instructions; Sitting for an examination by a surrogate, or as a surrogate; any other act committed by a student in the course of his or her academic work which defrauds or misrepresents, including aiding or abetting in any of the actions defined above.
At SJSU plagiarism is the act of representing the work of another as one’s own (without giving appropriate credit) regardless of how that work was obtained, and submitting it to fulfill academic requirements. Plagiarism at SJSU includes but is not limited to:
The act of incorporating the ideas, words, sentences, paragraphs, or parts thereof, or the specific substances of another’s work, without giving appropriate credit, and representing the product as one’s own work; and representing another’s artistic/scholarly works such as musical compositions, computer programs, photographs, painting, drawing, sculptures, or similar works as one’s own.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
“The classroom is the essential part of any university. Both freedom to teach and freedom to learn should flourish in the classroom. The professor has the right and responsibility to control the classroom; however, as this control is exercised, the rights of students as set forth in this document should not be denied.
A. Students have the right to consistent and judicious evaluation by the instructor.
B. Students are free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in courses of study. They may be required to know the material set forth by the instructor, but they are free to reserve personal judgment as to the truth or falsity of what is presented.
C. Students have the right to have faculty meet their classes at the scheduled times and make presentations appropriate to the course. When circumstances require cancellation of a class, the instructor shall make an effort to notify students.
D. While faculty and administrators have primary responsibility in curricular matters, students shall have opportunity for participation in revising and improving the curriculum by serving on operational curriculum committees.
E. Students are responsible for meeting standards of academic performance established for each course. Performance in the course shall be the sole criterion by which students are measured and the professor shall take no action to penalize students because of their opinions or because of their conduct outside the classroom in matters unrelated to the class. Students have the right to a course grade which is a just measurement of performance in the course.
F. Information about a student's performance, views, beliefs, and political association which professors acquire in the course of their work as instructors, advisers, and counselors is considered confidential.
G. Students enrolled in a class may be denied admission to the classroom or may be expelled for the remainder of a class period only for considerations relevant to the educational purposes of the class. A faculty member may recommend to the Dean of Student Services that a student be permanently withdrawn from a course if after suitable warning a student's disruptive actions are determined to be in violation of the University policy on "Student Discipline Relating to Conduct on State University Campuses".
H. Students have the right to have instructional faculty schedule a reasonable number of office hours for student conferences.”
The full statement on Student Rights and Responsibilities may be found at: