Forensic Expert via The Forensic Science Public Desk, India

Who is an Expert?

I am an expert in doing sketches. How? I am passionate about sketching and drawing since my childhood and still, I practice it. I take a very short time to do any kind of sketch within few minutes compared to the capability of any other common human. Hence, It can be said as he has expertise in the art of sketching and he has knowledge on sketching where he can form an opinion or comment on other work whether it is authentic, truly hard work, commendable work or possibilities and what were the possible ingredients used to make a certain sketch.

So that was an example which gives us a better understanding of who is an expert.

A person who has special knowledge and skill in a particular branch of learning and thus qualified to give his opinion, whereas, an ordinary person is not competent to do so.

Thus, Doctors, artists, engineers, surveyors, engravers, mechanics, artisans, and the diverse classes of specifically skilled workmen would all be experts within the meaning of the expert, of course, each in his walk of life.

How can you be one? 

Crimes are associated with the number of evidence like blood, bullet or a dead body. Identification or classifying any of this would easy due to definite science which is available as the experience of individuals working with a field like serologists, Ballistic experts or Doctors. This particular aspect can be learnt and it can apply to

Section 45 in The Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Opinions of experts.—When the Court has to form an opinion upon a point of foreign law or science or art.

What is foreign law or science or art? Means, Court is represented by personnel’s dealing with law and justice enforced for public welfare. I pursuit of justice there are certain aspects which are also involved like science. Representatives of court, that is judges or law Practitioners are not aware of these particular sciences like serology or physics or medicine nor they can complete the degree in few days nor they can be unethical by justifying anything on their own. They are knowledgeable personnel’s in enacting law and justice for public welfare but not to justify truth hidden within the scientific evidence like nature of injury on the body or striation marks on the bullet.

Hence, the Court needs to rely on expert opinion to understand the significant scientific evidence role of any kind of case dealt with in the court.


Doctor: As to ascertain the cause of death or time since death

Chemical examiner: identification of a questioned substance by conducting chemical examination which approved by scientific statutory bodies.

Ballistics expert: identification of alleged firearm by comparing test-fired bullet and questioned bullet.

Court believes science-based literature, research held and scientific principles or laws developed during a search of the reality behind happenings of many unknown things to mankind.

Whom will you handover the evidence to?

Just imagine if you are having an Evidence which is a “Document with disputed signature, questioned age of ink in the signature and contents on the questioned document” Whom will you handover the evidence to?

One who has just completed Masters in Forensic Science – has experience practice with demo samples or simulated samples or experience while in internship or project under the supervision of an expert. The court cannot rely on you leaving behind qualified experts but you should be having the capability to convince the court in the science subject matter thus makes you an expert. Anybody one who can prove or involve in the scientific examination of the evidence on the grounds of being intellectual in scientific principles and law which are in current practice by many of the recognized scientists can be referred and can be used to prove the truth hidden with evidence. This can be regarded as the private practice of forensic consultancy.

According to IEA 45, an opinion formed by an expert is based on recognized principles regulating the scientific study. The opinion so formed by a person having the necessary special skill in the subject is, therefore, the opinion of an expert in that branch of the science. Such an opinion is the opinion of an expert in a branch of science which is admissible in evidence under Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act. (or)

One who has 10 years of experience dealing with similar types of cases as an expert – Similar kind of cases here means, there is plenty of complications involved in dealing with crime evidence. Hence, Experience will be vast and much expertise in nature. Many of the times experts may fail to form an opinion and where by the court will justify such conflict by itself being expert by considering other circumstantial evidence and facts of the case. Under section 73 IEA.

Though Section 73 deals with Comparison of signature, writing or seal with others admitted or proved. It has also relevance with the explanation given for court expertise.

Patna High Court State (Through Cbi) vs S.J. Choudhary on 13 February, 1996

Are there any designated experts recognized by the court?

Yes, Forensic Science Laboratories personnel’s under section 293 says Reports of certain Government scientific experts. Subsection 4 applies to the Government scientific experts, namely:-

(a) any Chemical Examiner or Assistant Chemical Examiner to Government; of Forensic Science Laboratories or Govt. Chemical Examiners Laboratory.

(b) the Chief Inspector of- Explosives; current position is Joint Chief Controller of Explosives (HOD) of Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organization (PESO).

(c) the Director of the Finger Print Bureau; both state level and central level.

(d) the Director, Haffkeine Institute, Bombay; as a bacteriology research Centre called the “Plague Research Laboratory”. It now offers various basic and applied biomedical science services.

(e) Director, Deputy Director or Assistant Director] of a Central Forensic Science Laboratory or a State Forensic Science Laboratory;

(f) the Serologist to the Government. Head of Institute of Serology that is Serologist & Chemical examiner or Assistant serologists.

So these people are regarded as experts in the court officially or they can also appoint assistants working with case actually under subsection 3 of Cr.P.C 293


This article will help to understand forensic expertise, the role of an expert in criminal justice system by providing suitable examples accordingly Indian Evidence Act Sections 45 & 73 and also gives a glance on government scientific experts under section 293 of Criminal Procedure Code.

via Forensic Expert — Forensic Science Public Desk, India

Ethical Dilemmas in Forensics

Most forensic “scientists” have little understanding of scientific methodology, do not design or conduct research (and do not know how to), often have not read the serious scientific literature beginning to emerge in their fields. . . . Scientific findings relevant to a given forensic science often are ignored in the conduct of everyday casework.
via: Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science
Although witnesses in American courtrooms are called upon to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, they may be enjoined from volunteering information. A witness’s individual sense of relevance must often bow to a court’s judgment. The legal system seeks truth, yet it sometimes defers to other values, such as fairness and confidentiality, and in general demands acceptance of formalized rules of procedure. In their capacity as experts, forensic scientists typically enjoy greater latitude than ordinary witnesses in expressing opinions and making judgments in the courtroom, but they too must operate within the often cumbersome and sometimes counterintuitive requirements of the “system” of “justice.”

Definition: Principles of conduct, moral duty, and obligation that guide individuals in their decisions and actions.

Significance: As scientists, forensic scientists have a professional obligation to seek and to speak the truth about matters within their purview. As participants in a forensic process, they are subject to additional, sometimes conflicting, duties. This tension generates many ethical dilemmas.

Although witnesses in American courtrooms are called upon to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, they may be enjoined from volunteering information. A witness’s individual sense of relevance must often bow to a court’s judgment. The legal system seeks truth, yet it sometimes defers to other values, such as fairness and confidentiality, and in general demands acceptance of formalized rules of procedure. In their capacity as experts, forensic scientists typically enjoy greater latitude than ordinary witnesses in expressing opinions and making judgments in the courtroom, but they too must operate within the often cumbersome and sometimes counterintuitive requirements of the “system” of “justice.”

Entrance sign at the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT) Meeting, July 5, 2012. By Monika M. Wahi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Forensic scientists are measured against a standard of professional integrity, although the professionalization of the scientific study of crime is far from complete. Professions are substantially self-regulating, usually through agreed-upon standards and codes of ethics, and this creates the need for them to articulate appropriate expectations and the responsibility of members of professions both to act correctly themselves and to provide appropriate correction for their errant colleagues. A case in point is William Tobin’s campaign against the chemical analysis of bullet lead, also known as comparative bullet-lead analysis (CBLA).

Tobin’s Exposure of CBLA

CBLA is a technique that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) used for four decades—the investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 was an early use—to make cases against defendants when traditional firearms analysis (that is, examination of barrel rifling on bullets) was not possible. By measuring the proportions of seven trace elements (antimony, arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, copper, silver, and tin) found in the lead of a bullet in evidence, forensic scientists sought to establish the probability that the bullet came from the same provenance as a bullet in the suspect’s possession. The belief that the comparison of the chemical composition of bullets could connect two bullets rested on unexamined assumptions about the similarities and differences of the source lead from which the bullets were cast. FBI experts testified in thousands of cases that the facts ascertainable through CBLA established likely identity and therefore pointed toward the probable guilt of the accused. Sometimes, as in the case of Michael Behm, who was convicted of murder in 1997, CBLA provided essentially the only evidence of guilt.

In the 1990s, FBI metallurgist William Tobin began to question the validity of the technique. He felt strongly enough about the issue to research the matter, after his retirement in 1998, with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory metallurgist Erik Randich. They analyzed data from two lead smelters in Alabama and Minnesota and discovered that the FBI techniques could not distinguish batches of lead produced months apart. They also discovered that differences existed within single batches. Their research was published in Forensic Science International in July 2002.

Although he still defended the technique, the director of the FBI Laboratory requested that the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences review CBLA. In February 2004, the NRC report, titled Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence, confirmed that only extremely limited claims could be made about the relationship between bullets based on CBLA. Given the NRC findings, a New Jersey appeals court overturned Behm’s conviction in March 2005. The results of the NRC study have obvious implications for many other cases as well.

In an article titled “Forensic Significance of Bullet Lead Compositions,” which appeared in the Journal of Forensic Sciences in March 2005, FBI research chemists Robert D. Koons and JoAnn Buscaglia argued that “compositional comparison of bullet lead provides a reliable, highly significant point of evidentiary comparison of potential sources of crime-related bullets.” In September of that year, however, the FBI announced that it would no longer use CBLA. (In a curious subsequent development, Tobin and a member of the NRC committee, Clifford Spiegelman, suggested that a reanalysis of the bullet fragments from the Kennedy assassination might be in order.)

An article published in New Scientist in April 2002, quoted Tobin as saying of the interpretation of bullet data based on CBLA, “It offended me as a scientist.” In fact, Tobin has a long record as a critic of FBI procedures he regards as bad science and of testimonial practices he regards as unwarranted by the scientific data. To complain about testimony that unreasonably goes beyond what the data can support is to respond equally to the demands of science and the demands of ethics. It is a feature of commonsense justice that the punishment should fit the crime, and a basic requirement of that, in turn, is that the people who are punished should be guilty. Violating that requirement is both bad science and bad ethics.

Joyce Gilchrist’s Tainted Evidence

Is it enough that the accused be guilty of some crime, or does it have to be the one in question? If the accused is guilty of the crime in question, does it matter whether the evidence actually shows that? The belief that one can convict the guilty by tweaking the evidence a little, or shading one’s testimony a bit, is among the most common sources of unethical (and, often enough, criminal) behavior on the part of forensic scientists. The cautionary tale of former Oklahoma City police Department forensic scientist Joyce Gilchrist probably falls into this category.

In May 2007, Curtis Edward McCarty, who was facing his third trial for a 1982 murder, was freed as the result of the improper handling and representation of hair evidence by Gilchrist, who apparently had tried to frame McCarty. The judge dismissed the charge despite her belief that McCarty was probably not completely innocent. This was merely the latest in a series of episodes involving Gilchrist.

Questions about the integrity of Gilchrist’s work began as early as January 1987, when a Kansas City colleague, John Wilson, complained about her to the Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists, without result. In 1998, Robert Miller was exonerated after he had been convicted a decade earlier based in part on Gilchrist’s testimony regarding blood, semen, and hair evidence. In 1999, Gilchrist was criticized by a judge for having given false testimony (regarding semen evidence) in the rape/murder trial of Alfred Brian Mitchell in 1992. In the spring of 2000, Jeffrey Todd Pierce was ordered released after he had served a decade and a half for a rape he did not commit; he had been convicted based on Gilchrist’s testimony. In January 2001, Gilchrist was criticized for the various judicial reprimands and professional critiques her work had received. In August 2001, doubts were raised about the guilt of Malcolm Rent Johnson, who had been executed for a 1981 rape and murder; Johnson was convicted based on Gilchrist’s testimony.

A month later, in September 2001, Gilchrist was finally fired, after years of reputedly shoddy forensics work, including both mishandling and misrepresentation of evidence, on many cases in addition to those noted above. The world of criminal justice contains innumerable isolated instances of perverse idealism, self-serving cynicism, and simple incompetence, but Gilchrist is one of the most striking cases of flagrant disregard for ethics in the forensics community. Was she genuinely convinced of the guilt of those against whom she testified? (She was certainly persuasive to juries.) Was she cynically distorting her testimony, and the evidence, to help prosecutors gain convictions, or was she just incompetent?

Ethics of Competence

One may well agree with forensics ethicist Peter D. Barnett’s remark that “there is a certain baseline level of competence that every criminalist is expected to understand, and there are certain procedures and protocols that are so fundamental to the practice of criminalistics that failure to follow them is evidence of gross incompetence or malfeasance, which is unethical.” As Barnett himself notes, however, “in the practice of forensic science, the disparate educational and experiential backgrounds of workers in the field make determination of a baseline level of competence relatively difficult.”

This is a problem throughout the American criminal justice system. In June 2007, all sergeants in the New Orleans Police Department were required to attend a four-day seminar to learn how to improve their (and their subordinates’) writing of police reports. This was part of an attempt to smooth out conflicts between the department and the New Orleans district attorney’s office, which claimed that part of its difficulty in prosecuting criminals stemmed from “incomplete or vague reports” by officers. More generally, criminalists frequently lament that frontline officers are not more skilled in observing, protecting, collecting, and preserving crime scene evidence.

One certainly can (in theory) impose reasonable expectations about competence and development in forensic science. However, that is not made easy by the variety of educational backgrounds and practical experience of the people who actually work in the field. In an unflattering assessment published in 2005, Jane Campbell Moriarty and Michael J. Saks bluntly asserted that “in the forensic sciences . . . 96 percent of practitioners hold bachelor’s degrees or less.” They went on to note:

Most forensic “scientists” have little understanding of scientific methodology, do not design or conduct research (and do not know how to), often have not read the serious scientific literature beginning to emerge in their fields. . . . Scientific findings relevant to a given forensic science often are ignored in the conduct of everyday casework.

Moreover, as with the difficulty in defining the qualifications for expert testimony, the fact that crime fighting is not a natural kind of expertise has an impact. Almost any expert might be relevant to a criminal case, depending on circumstances. Given the diverse forms of knowledge relevant to the application of science to crime solving, and to the providing of suitable expert testimony, it may be that the only truly unifying factor is the application of the so-called scientific method, broadly understood as intellectual integrity—the determined effort, as physicist Richard P. Feynman put it, not to fool oneself (or others).

What is impressive about the case of William Tobin is his determination to ensure that his colleagues (or former colleagues) not testify to more than the data warrant, both out of scientific integrity and out of fairness to those whose lives are affected by what scientists say. What is appalling about the case of Joyce Gilchrist is the stubbornness of her effort to resist correction by colleagues or even by the seemingly obvious limits of the evidence itself. Sometimes the individual needs to correct the group, by exposing a bogus or complacent consensus; sometimes the group needs to correct the individual, by identifying willful deception or self-centered fantasy. Unfortunately, no formula exists to guarantee the right result, and that is why ethics remains a constant challenge to conscientious souls.

Ethical dilemmas in forensics

Related Information

  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS)
  • American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD)
  • Brain-wave scanners
  • Criminal personality profiling
  • DNA database controversies
  • Ethics of DNA analysis
  • Expert witnesses in trials
  • Forensic journalism
  • Innocence Project
  • Interrogation in criminal investigations
  • Training and licensing of forensic professionals
  • Truth serum in interrogation

Last reviewed: October 2016


Barnett, Peter D. Ethics in Forensic Science: Professional Standards for the Practice of Criminalistics. Boca Raton: CRC, 2001. Print.

Inman, Keith, and Norah Rudin. Principles and Practice of Criminalistics: The Profession of Forensic Science. Boca Raton: CRC, 2001. Print.

Lucas, Douglas M. “The Ethical Responsibilities of the Forensic Scientist: Exploring the Limits.” Journal of Forensic Sciences 34 (1989): 719–29. Print.

Macklin, Ruth. “Ethics and Value Bias in the Forensic Sciences.” Journal of Forensic Sciences 42 (1997): 1203–206. Print.

Moriarty, Jane Campbell, and Michael J. Saks. “Forensic Science: Grand Goals, Tragic Flaws, and Judicial Gatekeeping.” Judges’ Journal 44.4 (2005): 16–33. Print.

Peterson, Joseph L., and John E. Murdock. “Forensic Science Ethics: Developing an Integrated System of Support and Enforcement.” Journal of Forensic Sciences 34 (1989): 749–62. Print.

Derived from: “Ethics.” Forensic Science. Salem Press. 2009.


The science behind forensic toxicology

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) Featured Image -- 122
WRITTEN BY: Katherine Ellen Foley

When we get our blood tested for cholesterol, it doesn’t take long to get the results. And if someone turns up at the hospital with what looks like a drug overdose, doctors can perform a quick test to verify their suspicions before treatment.
But unlike popular crime series like CSI, in which investigators whip up test results in the span of a quick montage, most forensic toxicology reports take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. This can be an excruciating wait after mysterious deaths and unsolved crimes. Why does it take so long?
Quartz spoke with Robert Middleberg, a toxicologist from NMS Labs in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, to find out.
Unlike other medical tests, where technicians isolate a specific compound like cholesterol, Middleberg says that you don’t always know what you’re looking for with forensic toxicology. “If you have a young person who is found dead in bed and there’s no history of drug abuse, you’re looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack,” he tells Quartz.
Testing times

After a body is found and an autopsy is performed by a pathologist, a separate lab will look for any environmental or pharmaceutical toxins that could be the killers. Without any clear clues, Middleberg says they will start testing for about 400 different substances. “We never know what we’re going to get,” he notes. It takes creative intuition to guide a cycle of testing and interpreting the results of tests to inform further testing.
Once an initial analysis returns a match for a particular substance, toxicologists must gather more specifics for the official report. Bodies that have already started decaying produce some toxins naturally, like ethanol (another name for the alcohol we drink) and cyanide, so toxicologists may have to perform additional tests to determine whether these played an active role in the cause of death.
All of this is further complicated by the fact that samples often arrive in less than ideal conditions. “If somebody is pulled out of the water after being missing for two or three weeks, these samples are very, very bad,” Middleberg says.
Unlike testing in an emergency room to confirm an overdose, pathology focuses on specifics. “For [medical toxicologists], sometimes it doesn’t really matter exactly what’s there,” Middleberg says. “In our world, the pathologists want to know exactly what it is and how much.”
Not every test is a complicated affair—despite all of the unknowns, Middleberg says that most labs try to have a turnaround time of 3-5 days for ruling things out and 7-10 days for identifying the specific factors leading to death.
Looking for clues

Like detectives, toxicologists look for clues to narrow down which tests are necessary. Knowing a subject’s history with drug or alcohol use obviously helps. There are also several somewhat macabre rules of thumb that tip toxicologists off to seek substances they wouldn’t normally test for:
Bright red blood as a sign of carbon monoxide poisoning
A green brain as a sign of exposure to hydrogen sulfide
Chocolate brown blood as a sign of excess methemoglobin poisoning
Hair falling out can be a sign of chronic arsenic or thallium poisoning
Blue skin can be a sign of gadolinium poisoning
Cocaine and methamphetamines can change the shape of the heart
Dear Jeff Bezos: My husband needed therapy after working for Amazon
Green tech is helping restore Florida’s $40 billion economic catalyst: the Everglades

The Making of a Serial Killer / Child Molester: How to improve Police-Community relations?

What’s missing in how to improve police-community relations?

Written on 5/27/201529uwo0l

It’s amazing that no federal, state or municipal political leader; no police administrator; and certainly no media talking head has come forward to ask why only ONE side of the narrative of how police-community relationships should change.

The clear theme that is evident in ALL of these police-involved citizen deaths is that a history of bad life choices made by citizens creates a confluence of circumstances resulting in unintended consequences that unfortunately have led to the deaths of those portrayed in the media and by uninformed activists as “innocents.”

Bad parenting, no parenting, the irresponsibility of young males to impregnate young naive females and then abandon their parental responsibilities; failing to embrace the benefits of education; failure to develop meaningful job skills; drugs abuse; gang involvement; embracing and glorifying gangsta rappers who forward a destructive narrative of drugs, crime, and disrespect/violence against police.535cc702-6d8c-479b-96e8-65c869e0eb6d-original

Nearly every so-called “victim” of these recent police-involved deaths had a history of criminal arrests; were fleeing from detention and arrest on foot and/or in vehicles; had verbally and physically resisted detention or arrest; had assaulted police with weapons; were in possession of weapons; and/or were under the influence of drugs during the encounter and altercations.

Where is the public’s ownership of these poor life decisions? Why aren’t the parents, the political leaders, the community activists, the media talking heads, celebrities, nationally prominent athletes and the jet setting, race bating civil rights “activists” such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton extolling our children and citizens NOT to make these very obvious and poor life choices?

Why do some communities seem to have an overwhelming number of violent crimes, high levels of gang violence and drug abuse and interactions with police – and others either very low or almost no such instances? And why aren’t the obvious differences in these communities discussed?

Why are the false narratives such as “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” forwarded by the media, street activists, and our political leaders? Why are some segments of American society more intent upon assigning blame to the police; rather than accepting responsibility for their poor life choices?

The police are not psychologists, sociologists, criminologists and mental health practitioners. They are “First Responders.” Police respond to society’s problems; they can’t fix them. Police officers come from our communities; not from distant planets. They are us and we are them. Police get the training that YOU provide them with. Can they be better trained? Of course. Do they want and ask for better training and equipment? All the time, but YOU don’t want to pay for it. Do police need to be smart and better educated? Of course, but the problem is that agencies can’t find qualified officers because many who apply lack even the most basic education and personal skills to pass the tests to become a police officer. How are these issues the fault of police? Yet the public, politicians and the media consistently heap criticism on them.

If you want a dramatic national change in police-community relations, begin by first looking into the mirror as citizens and as a society and ask yourselves what are YOU willing to do to bring about this needed change? When will YOU begin accepting responsibility for YOUR actions? When you take this first step, you begin the journey upon the road towards positive change between yourselves and your police.

Dr. Ron Martinelli is a nationally renowned forensic criminologist and police expert with a national presence who investigates and independently reviews high-profile police-involved death cases at:

Dr. Ron Martinelli

Written on 5/27/2015

It’s amazing that no federal, state or municipal political leader; no police administrator; and certainly no media talking head has come forward to ask why only ONE side of the narrative of how police-community relationships should change.

The clear theme that is evident in ALL of these police-involved citizen deaths is that a history of bad life choices made by citizens creates a confluence of circumstances resulting in unintended consequences that unfortunately have led to the deaths of those portrayed in the media and by uninformed activists as “innocents.”

Bad parenting, no parenting, the irresponsibility of young males to impregnate young naive females and then abandon their parental responsibilities; failing to embrace the benefits of education; failure to develop meaningful job skills; drugs abuse; gang involvement; embracing and glorifying gangsta rappers who forward a destructive narrative of drugs, crime, and disrespect/violence against police.

Nearly every so-called “victim”…

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Forensic Psychology; The Cognitive Interviewing of witnesses


IMG_3167The Cognitive interview is derived from a range of sources of cognitive evidence relating mainly in the psychology of memory.  It was formulated by combining a number of techniques to assist in allowing an interviewer, such as a police officer, to provide conditions that would allow for the greatest level of accuracy possible, in essence a systematic set of tools to allow access to someone’s memory without inadvertently altering it or not gaining the full insight due to poor phrasing. The Cognitive Interview (CI) is primarily used for witnesses and victims as it needs to assume a willing party. Suspects cannot be relied upon to tell the truth for obvious reasons, hence alternative approaches have been created for their interviewing, such as the controversial  Reid Technique.  The Cognitive Interview can also be used with children as witnesses, which is a significant advancement in police methods as to the historical

View original post 65 more words

Medical Students Don’t Learn About Death

The following is part 1 in a series about death and dying in the medical context. This reflection was written by me earlier this year, before I sought out a Palliative Medicine elective. Part 2 will follow soon.


Until the last week of my sub-internship, I had never had a patient die on my watch. To be sure, I had patients on the cusp of dying – and some who did die, of course, when I was already on another rotation. I have been around dying patients who were on our team but were being taken care of by the other resident/medical student. But never a patient of my own, until my final year of medical school.

I have never been sure whether to consider myself lucky or unlucky. Is that a morbid way to think about it? That maybe I was lucky (and my patients were lucky) that they didn’t die on my watch? That maybe I was lucky that I hadn’t had to experience those awful and heartbreaking conversations with a patient’s family. In the Russian roulette game of hospital care and medical education, I felt spared.

At the same time – and I feel almost selfish for saying this – I considered myself unlucky. I had never been around a dying patient. I had never known what it meant to take care of someone in their final days. I had never had the opportunity to learn and grow as a person and a physician from those difficult moments.

My first clinical experience with death was during my sub-internship, with a woman with end-stage ovarian cancer. I had scrubbed in on her most recent debulking surgery, and I had followed her post-operatively. Though her overall prognosis was poor, she was progressing well after this most recent operation. Her pain and abdominal bloating were slightly improved. She was even about ready to go to a rehab facility; all the arrangements had been made for transfer.

But then she started failing – started not being able to get out of bed. Started being more confused about herself and her surroundings. Started sleeping more of the day. She was physically and mentally breaking down. The cancer burden was overwhelming her body, and she was not able to hold up.

This experience was undoubtedly sad, but the experience for me was compounded by the suddenness and relative unexpectedness of it all. “She was not dying when I met her!” I naively believed.

She did have terminal cancer, after all.

The emotional impact was heightened for me because of the fact that only one of her family members was with her until the end. I felt bad that nobody she knew from outside the hospital was there for; yet I hope our medical team was able to be a somewhat second family to her in her final days. I visited in on her, spoke with her relative, did everything non-medical I thought to try to make her comfortable (I didn’t know much).

When she passed, I imagined the briefest moment of stillness amongst the chaos, but the hospital quickly moved on. There was no closure, no reflection, almost no conversation. When the other team members who had helped take care of her found out the news, there was a general statement of sadness, but then it was back to work as usual. There was more work to be done, other patients to take care of.

I heard that the nursing and floor teams held a small commemoration for our patient later that week (as they do for any patient on the cancer floor who dies). I wasn’t aware it was happening, and I’m positive none of the medical team was present.

Do doctors not mourn, too? Don’t we all need a moment to breathe, to reflect on our relationship with that patient, and to acknowledge our emotions about their passing?

Why don’t they prepare us for this?


The following is part 1 in a series about death and dying in the medical context. This reflection was written by me earlier this year, before I sought out a Palliative Medicine elective. Part 2 will follow soon.


Until the last week of my sub-internship, I had never had a patient die on my watch. To be sure, I had patients on the cusp of dying – and some who did die, of course, when I was already on another rotation. I have been around dying patients who were on our team but were being taken care of by the other resident/medical student. But never a patient of my own, until my final year of medical school.

View original post 540 more words

FBI Upgrades Animal Cruelty To A Felony

Posted by: James Lautner, Senior Cats Editor on April 7, 2015 in Editors Choice, News 10885402_1027032530656996_5962253481430927823_n

A report from WMC Action 5 FBI Raises Animal Cruelty to Top Tier Crime reports on how animal cruelty has been raised to a crime against society at the same level as arson, burglary and kidnapping.

A Huffington Post article more fully explains the implications of this:

Young people who torture and kill animals are prone to violence against people later in life if it goes unchecked, studies have shown. A new federal category for animal cruelty crimes will help root out those pet abusers before their behavior worsens and give a boost to prosecutions, an animal welfare group says.

For years, the FBI has filed animal abuse under the label “other” along with a variety of lesser crimes, making cruelty hard to find, hard to count and hard to track. The bureau announced this month that it would make animal cruelty a Group A felony with its own category — the same way crimes like homicide, arson and assault are listed.

“It will help get better sentences, sway juries and make for better plea bargains,” said Madeline Bernstein, president and CEO of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles and a former New York prosecutor.

The category also will help identify young offenders, and a defendant might realize “if he gets help now, he won’t turn into Jeffrey Dahmer,” she said.

Law enforcement agencies will have to report incidents and arrests in four areas: simple or gross neglect; intentional abuse and torture; organized abuse, including dogfighting and cockfighting; and animal sexual abuse, the FBI said in statement. The bureau didn’t answer questions beyond a short statement.

Unfortunately, it will be January 2016 before this vital data on animal cruelty will even start to be collected – apparently it takes that long to put all the necessary systems in place.

This change of status is clearly a step in the right direction in the battle against animal cruelty. It seems to us that legislators still have much work to do in order to make a real difference.

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Reasons why The Use of Bite Mark Evidence should not be Admissible in Court.

Bite mark evidence has a high margin of error.

Bite mark evidence is very flawed and should only be used “in combination” with solid evidence when used in trial.

In otherwords, its not an exact science. A bite mark matching advocacy group just conducted a study that discredits bite mark evidence
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By Radley Balko April 8
In February, I posted a four-part series on the forensic speciality of bite mark analysis. The series looked at the history of the field, how it came to be accepted by the courts as scientific evidence despite the lack of any real scientific research to support its basic assumptions, the innocent people who have been convicted based on bite mark analysis and how the bite mark matchers, advocacy groups like the American Board of Forensic Odontology and their supporters have waged aggressive, sometimes highly personal campaigns to undermine the credibility of people who have raised concerns about all of this.

The series ran during the annual American Academy of Forensic Sciences convention in Orlando, Florida. That conference included a presentation by Adam Freeman, who sits on the executive board of the ABFO, and Iain Pretty, who is not a member of the ABFO, has been critical of bite mark analysis and chairs the AAFS committee on forensic odontology.* Freeman and Pretty were to present the results of a study they had designed with David Senn, another ABFO member and a proponent of bite mark analysis.**

Senn in fact was the main witness for New York County Assistant District Attorney Melissa Mourges during a 2013 evidentiary hearing on the scientific validity of bite mark analysis in State v. Dean. That hearing was the first to assess the science behind bite mark matching since the field came under fire in a landmark 2009 report by the National Academy of Sciences. Ultimately, Senn and Mourges prevailed. Judge Maxwell Wiley ruled that the evidence could be admitted at Clarence Dean’s trial. In fact, to date, every court to rule on the admissibility of bite mark analysis has allowed it to be used as evidence. This, despite an ever increasing number of wrongful convictions, wrongful arrests, and lack of scientific research to support the field, and a new body of research suggesting that its core assumptions are false.

The study:

All of this makes the presentation by Pretty and Freeman particularly interesting. In response to mounting criticism, last year the ABFO released a “decision tree” for bite mark specialists to follow when performing their analysis. The “tree” is basically a flow chart. It begins by asking if there is sufficient evidence to know whether or not a suspicious mark is a human bite. It then asks whether it is in fact a bite, then what distinguish characteristics are noticeable in the bite, and so on.
But the problem with bite mark analysis was never the lack of a flow chart. The problem is that there has never been any real scientific research to support its two main underlying premises — that human dentition is unique, and that human skin is capable of registering and recording that uniqueness in a useful way. And the research that has been done strongly suggests those two premises are not true. The flow chart was just adding a series of procedures to a method of analysis that is entirely subjective, and that lacks basic scientific quantifiers like probability and margin for error.

Yet the ABFO wanted to show that its flow chart worked. So last year, the organization put together an exam to prove its effectiveness. Pretty and Freeman, with consultation from Senn and others within the organization, gave 39 ABFO-certified bite mark analysts photos of 100 bite marks, then asked them to answer three preliminary questions, all based on the decision tree chart. The average analyst who participated in the study had 20 years experience as a forensic odontologist. Here are the three questions they were asked:

Is there sufficient evidence in the presented materials to render an opinion on whether the patterned injury is a human bite mark?
Is it a human bite mark, not a human bite mark, or suggestive of a human bite mark?
Does the bite mark have distinct, identifiable arches and individual tooth marks?
That last question is asking if, once the analyst has determine that the mark is a human bite, the mark contains enough distinguishing features to be of value as evidence.

Interestingly, the intent of this study was to measure consensus, not whether the analysts were actually correct in their conclusions. Consensus is important, particularly in a field that relies so much on pattern matching and subjective analysis instead of quantifiable data. Consensus also shows predictability, which is also an important characteristic when assessing whether a field is legitimately based in science. There will of course occasionally be cases in which the evidence is ambiguous, but if a cross section of experts from a particular field consistently fail to reach consensus conclusions after looking at the same pieces of evidence, you have to start asking if the field is much more than guesswork.

But it’s also notable that there was no effort here to determine the rightness or wrongness of the answers. For example, if 10 out of 10 analysts agree that a mark on human skin is a human bite, that would suggest that the decision tree succeeded at fostering consensus. If only 7 out of 10 agree, that’s more troubling. But it would be even more troubling if the seven in the majority were also wrong.

The study didn’t measure for accuracy in part because the photos were taken from actual cases, so for many of them, whether or not the bite is actually human has never been definitively determined. But as I pointed out in my original series, it’s also keeping the field’s tendency to be more concerned about methodology than veracity. ABFO conducts its certification exams in a similar manner. The candidates are evaluated only on their method of analysis, not on on whether or not they’re actually correct in matching a bite mark to the correct dental mold.
This reflects an ugly reality about the pattern-matching fields of forensics: Because they’re so subjective, it isn’t difficult for attorneys on either side of a case to find an expert who will testify to the conclusion they’re looking for. In these fields then, the most important attribute in a witness is not that they be accurate, but that they sound accurate — that they be more convincing to a jury than the expert on the other side. Juries don’t like wishy-washy witnesses. They like witnesses who seem sure of themselves, who speak with authority. But in forensic specialties as subjective as pattern matching, certainty is a red flag. Most of the time, an honest witness should hedge, speak in probabilities, and avoid definitive conclusions. But this means that the least honest experts can often be the most persuasive, and there’s a clear incentive for prosecutors and defense attorneys to seek them out.

Finally, note that this study also did not ask the examinees to actually match a mark to the teeth of an individual human being the way this sort of evidence would be presented in court. (A previous competency test administered by bite mark critic Michael Bowers in 1999 found a 60 percent error rate among the analyst test takers.) It only asked the three preliminary questions above.

So in sum, this study only measured the ability of ABFO-certified experts to come to a consensus, and only on the most basic, preliminary questions about a piece of evidence.

The results

Even within these limited parameters, and even when designed and administered by the field’s biggest advocates, this study shows that bite mark analysis fails.

The first question — again, whether the test provided sufficient evidence to determine whether or not the photographed mark was a human bite — isthe most basic question a bite mark specialist should answer before performing an analysis. Yet the 39 analysts came to unanimous agreement on just 4 of the 100 case studies. In only 20 of the 100 was there agreement of 90 percent or more on this question. By the time the analysts finished question two — whether the photographed mark is indeed a human bite — there remained only 16 of 100 cases in which 90 percent or more of the analysts were still in agreement. And there were only 38 cases in which at least 75 percent were still in agreement. (These figure come from my own examination of the raw data, as well as processing of the data done by the Innocence Project.)

By the time the analysts finished question three, they were significantly fractionalized on nearly all the cases. Of the initial 100, there remained just 8 case studies in which at least 90 percent of the analysts were still in agreement.

“These results are really disturbing,” says Paul Giannelli, a law professor at Cast Western Reserve University who specializes in scientific evidence. Giannelli also serves on the National Commission on Forensic Science, started by President Obama to address and remedy the shortcomings in forensic evidence outlined in that 2009 NAS report. “But they aren’t all that surprising. There have been a number of cases over the years in which one bite mark analyst testified that a mark was a human mark, while another testified it was something entirely different, for example a bug bite, or an indentation from a belt buckle.”

Peter Bush, who with his wife Mary heads up the University of Buffalo research team that has cast doubt on the integrity of bite mark analysis (and who has been attacked by the community of bite mark analysts and their supporters for that research), agrees: “When there have been exonerations of people convicted with bite mark evidence, the forensic odontologists have said that the problem is with the analysts — that they’re rogue or incompetent experts who didn’t do the analysis properly. This is just another piece of evidence that’s it’s both of these things. It’s the improper analysis, but it’s also the very nature of the evidence itself.”

To put these results in perspective, it might help to ask what might have happened if a similar exam had been given to specialists from a more science-based field of forensics, such as DNA analysis.

“It would be difficult to set up a DNA test that was exactly the same, but if you could, you’d see overwhelming agreement,” Giannelli says. “I’d expect it to be unanimous. And on the questions where it wasn’t unanimous, you’d be able to go back and find the source of the problem — whether it was tainted evidence, or some glitch in the exam. With bite mark analysis, you can’t really even go back, because it’s just a subjective disagreement over what the analysts are seeing.”

Chris Fabricant, the director of strategic litigation for the Innocence Project who is challenging bite mark evidence in several cases across the country, points to a similar study of fingerprint analysts published in 2011 that found 99 percent agreement. “Contrast that to some of the questions in this study, in which the level of agreement among the analysts was only slightly better than randomness,” Fabricant says.

The reaction

The bite mark community reacted with shock, disappointment, and ultimately an effort to suppress the results of the study. According to reliable sources within the ABFO, David Senn initially wanted to cancel the panel at the AAFS conference in which Freeman and Pretty were to present the results. These sources say Senn was astonished at the results, and told other members of the ABFO that he was “reeling” from them. He also apologized to the organization for his role in the study.

In the end, the organization did proceed with the presentation of the results, but then played down their significance. Newly-elected ABFO president Gary Berman briefly mentioned the study in his quarterly message to the organization’s members.

In order to improve the study of bitemarks the ABFO developed a decision tree to assist practitioners in the proper selection and pathways of analysis in bitemark analysis. The ABFO has conducted preliminary research, presented in Orlando, designed to evaluate the first step of a revised decision tree; statistical analysis of the study showed inconsistent overall agreement among the individuals who participated in the project. The ABFO in reaffirming its commitment to ensure accuracy in bitemark analysis is revising the decision tree to ensure reliable results by forensic dentists and will be conducting additional studies this year.

While it’s commendable that the ABFO is attempting to create guidelines that will “ensure reliable results,” it’s far more troubling that the current guidelines don’t, that the unreliable results those guidelines produce have for years been used and continue to be used in court, and that rather than running to courtrooms across the country to halt the convictions, imprisonments and pending executions based on the results, the organization continues to fight for its members’ ability to testify using the very analysis it now concedes is flawed.

In an email in response to my query, Berman blamed the poor design of the study for the results. “Post analyses of the results indicate that the design of the survey and the design of Step 1 of the decision tree may be flawed, and that an ABFO guideline term may be the root cause,” Berman wrote. “The troublesome term, ‘suggestive of a human bitemark’, is one of the currently recommended terms for confidence that a pattern is or is not a bitemark.”

Berman writes that some of the test-takers may have answered the first question in the affirmative (that there was sufficient evidence to show that the mark was a human bite), but then changed their mind as they answered the other questions. He writes, “they were loathe to go back and change the answer to the negative . . . Instead they selected the hedged, and available third choice, ‘suggestive of a human bitemark.’”

Berman’s explanation raises another common criticism made by skeptics of bite mark evidence, although perhaps he raised it inadvertently: Because so much of their value as expert witnesses relies on their credibility, there’s a strong disincentive to change their minds about their conclusions once they’ve made them, even when new evidence suggests they should. If an analyst is loathe to admit a mistake in an anonymous proficiency study, it doesn’t bode well for his ability to admit to a mistake after putting his name and reputation behind court testimony, or in an affidavit leading to an arrest.

Indeed, bite mark analysts have concocted some fantastic theories of culpability even after a suspect convicted based on their testimony was found not to be a match to the semen taken from a victim who was raped, or even to the saliva taken from the bite mark itself. On more than one occasion, for example, a bite mark analyst has confronted a DNA mismatch on semen taken from a rape victim by arguing that someone else must have raped the victim while the suspect implicated by their testimony must have held the suspect down and bit her.

But even more concerning than the results of the study itself, the ABFO has since decided to hold off on publishing those results until the organization can tweak the design of the study and conduct it again, a process that’s expected to take at least a year.

“If this were truly a science-based organization, I would not only expect them to be extremely troubled by the results of this study, I would expect them to want to publish the results,” says Paul Giannelli. “And sooner rather than later, so that they could be considered in any pending criminal cases in which bite mark evidence is a factor.”

The ABFO did release the raw data from the study in spreadsheet form to a few people, but won’t release the presentation given at the AAFS meeting, nor will they publish the data in a journal or another publicly assessable format, at least until the completion of the second study. “We are in the process of modifying the decision tree, the language, and then we will be running the study again,” Adam Freeman wrote in response to an email query. “The results of both studies will then be sent to the [Journal of Forensic Sciences] for publication.The release of the presentation at this point would be premature. ”

Critics like Fabricant are skeptical. “If the results had been more to their liking, I can’t imagine that they’d be objecting over the language in their own study, then taking another year or so to rerun the study to get more favorable results before releasing the data. In the meantime, people are suffering in prison. Some are fighting a death sentence.”

One of the pending criminal cases is the one mentioned at the start of this post: that of Clarence Dean, which is expected to go to trial sometime this year. As noted above, that case included an important evidentiary hearing in which a New York judge ruled that bite mark evidence is admissible and scientifically valid. Many other judges have made that ruling in the past, but this was the first such ruling since the publication of the NAS report in 2009. The prosecutor in Dean’s case is Melissa Mourges, a fierce advocate for bite mark matching who, as I explained in the series in February, has not only advocated for bite mark analysis as a field, but has waged nasty, often highly personal attacks on those who have raised concerns about its legitimacy.

Mourges included a reproduction of the ABFO’s “decision tree” in her brief for the bite mark hearing in the Dean case. She cited the tree as another example of the bite mark community’s dedication to accuracy:

An important Guideline revision was added in February 2013 when the ABFO voted to include a bitemark flow chart or decision tree, included below. Properly used, the decision tree will guide forensic odontologists’ investigatory paths leading to proper conclusions based on the quality of the bitemark and the teeth of the suspected biters. This new guideline offers specific recommendations for forming degrees of linkage conclusions based on the quality of both injury features and suspected biter dentitions.

Mourges attended the presentation by Pretty and Freeman at the AAFS conference in February. I reached out to the Manhattan DA’s office where Mourges works to ask for her official reaction to the study. She didn’t respond, but the office did issue a statement from Chief Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman Agnifilo:

This study reinforces the importance of basing decisions on the best possible evidence available. The use of forensic odontology, properly performed, has been and continues to be a valuable tool to aid in the identification of assailants and can also be used to help place victims, many of whom are children, out of harm’s way. Equally important, forensic odontology is used to exclude and exonerate suspects.‎ Each time an injury is recognized as a bitemark and swabbed, investigators gain both DNA evidence and potential bitemark identification. Forensic odontology differs from DNA evidence in that it may not be dispositive, but it is probative. Undeniably, bitemarks have significant evidentiary value, which is why this type of evidence is admissible in all 50 states.

Agnifilo’s statement conflates a lot of issues, and I examined several of the points she makes in the February series. But briefly, few would object to swabbing potential bite marks for DNA. Rather, critics of bite mark evidence fault the attempt to match marks on human skin to human teeth. The fact that bite mark evidence is admissible in all 50 states is convincing only if you believe the courts have done an adequate job of keep bad science out of criminal cases. Part two of the February series argues that they haven’t. Agnifilo’s point about the quality of the evidence is a good one. But it remains true that even with the most pristine bite mark evidence, there’s no scientific research to support the contention that the marks we make with our teeth are individually, or to what extent they’re unique, or that, even if they were unique, that human skin is capable of preserving that uniqueness in a way that allows it to be analyzed.

The Manhattan DA’s office insistence on standing behind bite mark evidence is interesting in and of itself. Current Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr., was elected in 2009 on a platform of “community justice,” and won endorsements from criminal justice reform advocates — including, interestingly, Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck, co-founders of the same Innocence Project that is now feuding with Mourges in court. On its website, Vance’s office stresses the importance of fairness and sound evidence in preventing wrongful convictions:

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office spares no effort in seeking justice in every case that comes before it. Through the years and around the country, innocent men and women have been convicted of crimes they did not commit. This not only robs an innocent person of his or her freedom, it leaves a criminal on the street, free to commit more crimes.

To protect New Yorkers and ensure justice, District Attorney Vance created the Conviction Integrity Program in March 2010. The Program is comprehensive in scope, and is unique in purpose: not only does it address claims of actual innocence, it also seeks to prevent wrongful convictions from occurring . . .

The Conviction Integrity Policy Advisory Panel is comprised of leading criminal justice experts, including legal scholars and former prosecutors, who advise the Office on national best practices and evolving issues in the area of wrongful convictions.

The work of the Conviction Integrity Program, combined with the Office’s commitment to using the most advanced scientific and investigative tools available, has made the cases brought by the Office stronger for victims and more fair for defendants.

But meanwhile, at least two of Vance’s top lieutenants continue to defend a field of forensics that has contributed to at least 24 wrongful convictions and arrests around the country, despite numerous studies showing it lacks any basis in science, including one organized by the field’s leading advocacy organization.

Finally, I noted in my original series that last fall, the National Institute for Science and Technology announced the members of the forensic odontology subcommittee that will study the scientific validity of bite mark matching. The committee is one of several that will study various fields of forensics as part of the federal government’s push toward reform in light of the 2009 NAS report. Incredibly, 10 of the 16 members are either practicing bite mark analysts, or are open advocates of the practice, including the chairman, Robert Barsley. It’s a development one critic of bite mark matching likened to starting a committee to investigate the scientific validity of astrology, then stacking it with astrologists.

Pretty and Freeman’s study is a major development in the field of bite mark analysis. It’s one you’d think would attract the attention of the committee charged with investigating whether bite mark analysis is suitable for court. The committee held its first meeting on February 16. The results of the ABFO study were by then well known to the members affiliated with ABFO. According to the webcast and public notes from the meeting, chairman Barsley did include the ABFO “decision tree” in his presentation. He also incorrectly compared the uniqueness of bite marks to fingerprints, and noted that while he couldn’t point to a citation of a study showing that human dentition is unique, “there are studies that lead us to believe this is true.” (In fact, the only peer-reviewed, scientifically rigorous study of the uniqueness of human dentition has been conducted by Peter and Mary Bush’s team, and they’ve found no basis for that assertion.) Curiously missing from Barsley’s presentation was any discussion of the ABFO study showing that the decision tree failed to produce a consensus among even the ABFO’s most experienced analysts.

As the ABFO hems and haws on this study and takes another year to redesign it, ostensibly to achieve more favorable results, bite mark evidence continues to be used in criminal cases, and existing bite mark cases continue to move forward. Over the last several months there have been new filings in the death penalty cases of Eddie Lee Howard in Mississippi, and Jimmie Duncan in Louisiana. At least 15 people convicted with bite mark evidence are currently awaiting execution.

Meanwhile, just last week a sheriff in northern Indiana announced that he’ll be assembling a “forensic dentistry team” within his department. From the Chicago Tribune:

Sheriff David Reynolds recently swore in three local dentists as part of the department’s forensic dentistry team . . .

The dentists will do everything from matching bite marks with suspects or victims, to using dental records to identify victim’s remains, Reynolds said . . .

Over the years, Reynolds has used forensic dentists a number of ways.

“We used them for rape cases, investigating bite marks,” he said, as well as for remains . . .

“There were other cases where people were bitten and we were able to take (dental) models and pictures and match them up to bite marks on the victims.”

So even as we await the results of the ABFO’s do-over on its own study to assess the validity of this field, not only do those convicted due to bite mark analysis remain in prison, law enforcement groups are still using it to win convictions. It’s almost as if those 24 exonerations never happened.

(*Forensic odontology or forensic dentistry, includes the controversial field of bite mark matching, but also the more accepted practice of using dental records to identify human remains.)

(**Senn did not respond to my request for comment. In an email, Pretty acknowledged the study, the results, and that the ABFO will be conducting another study to be published next year. But because the study was administered by the ABFO, using ABFO case studies, he wrote that “it would be wrong of me to make any comments on the work beyond those that were made at the AAFS.”)
Radley Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He is the author of the book “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces.”
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FBI To Formally Open New South Florida HQ

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The FBI’s new South Florida field office in Miramar. (Source: CBS4)

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There will be a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony Friday for the FBI’s new South Florida field office in Miramar.

FBI Director James Comey and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson are scheduled to officially open the building which is named for agents Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry L. Dove, who were killed in a gun battle with bank robbers in South Miami-Dade on Friday, April 11, 1986. The firefight is still considered the bloodiest in the history of the FBI. Agent Grogan was a 25 year veteran of the Bureau. Agent Dove had been with the FBI for four years.

“The naming ceremony and dedication is a fitting tribute to Special Agents Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry L. Dove. These brave men answered the call of duty and gave their lives to keep our streets, communities and country safe. We owe them and their families a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid,” said Wilson in a statement.

The new $194 million office building contains 330,000 square feet and sits on a 20-acre site adjacent to Interstate 75.

For 28 years, the FBI’s South Florida headquarters was located in North Miami Beach. The field office has jurisdiction over federal cases along Florida’s southeast coast from Vero Beach to Key West.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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