CJ312 Criminalistics

for F1T 2011

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


CJ 312 Criminalistics


F1T 2011 DL


Scheffner, Douglas W.


Senior Instructor/Adjunct Faculty


MPA, University of Missouri
BA, Park University

Office Hours

Monday-Friday, 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Daytime Phone


Other Phone





Semester Dates

August 15, 2011 - October 9, 2011

Class Days



CJ100 and CJ200.

Credit Hours


Criminalistics, An Introduction to Forensic Science, Ninth Edition

Author: Richard Saferstein

ISBN: 0-13-221655-8

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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FAQ's for Online Students - You might find the answer to your questions here.

Course Description:
CJ312 Criminalistics: This intermediate course covers topics such as the discovery, recognition, observation,identification and collection and comparison of physical evidence, including a review of various current techniques in testing of physical evidence. Prerequisite: CJ100 and CJ105. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
Your instructor's educational philosophy is based upon virtual lectures, examinations, information from web sites provided, writings from outside sources and dialogue with myself and fellow students.  Assignments are intended to encourage a thoughtful exploration of ideas and application of information provided during the course.  Contradictory thoughts are encouraged as part of the learning process.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Distinguish different types of evidence used in criminal prosecutions.
  2. Critique the admissibility of evidence.
  3. Recognize and develop evidence.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. 4. Develop improved communications skills through interactive discourse and preparation of written reports or constructing papers in specific formats.
  2. 5. Realize and identify the relationships between forensic test results and criminal investigations
Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:

Each week, students are required to engage in discussion among themselves by answering and commenting upon questions posed for that week.  Each week's discussion is worth 20 points, with 1-10 provided for content and 1-10 points provided for timeliness and substantive quality and quantity of replies to other students' postings.  Spelling, grammar and punctuation is counted as part of this grade. As a general rule, simple replies like "good comment" or "I agree" do not count as substantive.  Instead, you will be expected to provide personal viewpoints or pose significant questions to other students. As a minimum, at least four substantive discussion postings should be submitted each week, not counting the initial answers to the questions posed that week. 

Weeks 1, 3 and 5 each require a paper which provides the students opportunities to apply material learned from reading, virtual lecture and discussions.  Each paper carries a maximum of 100 points.   These papers must be at least 750 words and written in APA format.

During weeks 2, 4, 6 and 7 you will not have a weekly paper due, but will instead take a timed quiz.  In week 7 you will have the CORE paper as well as a quiz.  This CORE paper will be graded on a scale of 100 points, must be in APA format, and shall be not less than 1000 words in length. In this paper, you must use at least four sources of material that are not from the text or course lectures, and must be cited within the body of the paper. 

Please note that weeks 1, 3 and 5 have quizzes, but these are not part of your grade; they are only for your practice.

During the eighth week, a proctored final exam will be taken by the student which will combine multiple choices with short answer questions. 


The grading scale is as follows:

A = 90-100;
B = 80-89;
C = 70-79;
D = 60-69;
F = 0-59.

The final exam will count 25% of your total grade, weekly discussion presentations will count 2.5% each week for a total of 20% of your course grade; the quizzes for weeks 2, 4, 6 and 7  count 2.5% each for a total of 10% of the course grade; Your papers for weeks 1, 3 and 5 are worth 5% each for a total of 15% of the total course grade.  In Week 8, the CORE paper will be worth 30% of your overall grade. A grading chart is included to show the relative weights of each week’s work.

Each student is responsible for:
Completing weekly Reading assignments.
Completing Weekly Discussion Questions and posting discussion questions or comments to other student’s discussion answers.
Completing four writing assignments, referred to as Papers.                                                    
Completing a CORE paper in Week 8
Completing a proctored Final Examination

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Work should be submitted to the instructor by the last day of each assigned week.  Students experiencing a problem should contact the instructor to advise the reason work may be submitted late.  Unless authorized, late work will be subject to a penalty of 10 points reduction for each week late.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Policy #1:  Submission of Work:

A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday 12:01 am MST and Sunday at 11:59 PM MST. The first week begins the first day of the term/semester. Assignments scheduled for completion during a class week should be completed and successfully submitted by the posted due date.
Create a back up file of every piece of work you submit for grading. This will ensure that a computer glitch or a glitch in cyberspace won't erase your efforts.
When files are sent attached to an email, the files should be in either Microsoft Word, RTF, ASCII, txt, or PDF file formats.
Policy #2: Ground Rules for Online Communication & Participation

General email: Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. When sending email other than assignments, you must identify yourself fully by name and class in all email sent to your instructor and/or other members of our class.
Online threaded discussions: are public messages and all writings in this area will be viewable by the entire class or assigned group members.
Online Instructor Response Policy:  I will check my email frequently and will respond to course-related questions within 24-48 hours.
Observation of "Netiquette": All your Online communications need to be composed with fairness, honesty and tact.  Spelling and grammar are very important in an Online course.  What you put into an Online course reflects on your level of professionalism.  Here are a couple of Online references that discuss writing Online http://goto.intwg.com/ and netiquette http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html.
Please check the Announcements area before you ask general course "housekeeping" questions (i.e. how do I submit assignment 3?).  If you don't see your question there, then please contact me.  
Policy #3: What to do if you experience technical problems or have questions about the Online classroom.  

If you experience computer difficulties (need help downloading a browser or plug-in, you need help logging into the course, or if you experience any errors or problems while in your Online course, click on the  button in your Online Classroom, then click on the helpdesk menu item, and then fill out the form or call the helpdesk for assistance.  
If the issue is preventing you from submitting or completing any coursework, contact me immediately.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week 1, August 15 - 21, 2011: An Introduction to Criminalistics and Crime Scenes

Learning Objectives for Week 1:

  • Explain how the class will be conducted and how to submit work for evaluation.
  • Identify the expectations of the instructor, and what the instructor believes the student's expectations to be.
  • Analyze the early history of the field of Criminalistics and its early contributors.
  • Explain how to manage the search and documentation of evidence at a crime scene.
  • Identify the legal basis for searches.
  • Compare and contrast the Frye and Daubert Rules relating to the admissibility of scientific evidence in the courtroom.
  • Understand what basic and specialized forensic services are available to law enforcement personnel
  • Describe the proper procedures of conducting a systematic search of a crime scene for physical evidence.
  • Understand the implications of the cases of Mincey v. Arizona and Michigan v. Tyler.
  • Discuss the responsibilities of the first police officer who arrives at a crime scene.
  • Understand the concept of ethics in forensic science.

Readings for Week 1:

  • Text: Chapters 1 and 2.
  • On-line site homework assignment sources:


Assignments for Week 1:

This week’s interactive discussion will involve discovering how various agencies process the evidence from major crime scenes and compare it to how the text recommends. Students will begin by contacting their local police department to answer the two questions below. Following that, students should provide comments or pose questions to each others’ answers. 

Students will also have a paper due this week as described below.

  • Weekly On-line Discussion Questions:
    • After contacting your local police agency, determine who would process a major crime scene: do they do it themselves or use mutual aid from another agency?  Ask where the evidence would be submitted for forensic testing and report both aspects of information to the rest of the class.
    • Comment upon whether your selected agency's means of forensic development seems to be adequate based upon your readings and any comments made by the agency.
  • Paper: Select one of the articles found on ethics in the one of the two web-sites assigned this week and review/comment upon it.  Be sure to identify which article you chose for instructor review.

Week 2, August 22 - 28, 2011:  Physical Evidence and Properties of Glass and Soil

Learning Objectives for Week 2:

  • Recognize and explain the importance of physical evidence.
  • Understand the various types of physical evidence commonly found.
  • Explain the difference between identification and comparison of physical evidence.
  • Explain the purpose physical evidence has in reconstructing the events surrounding the crime.
  • Explain the differences between "class" and "individual" evidence and provide examples of both.
  • Identify the basic physical properties of glass and soil examined in crime labs.
  • Recognize the basic types of glass and their differences.
  • Appraise the importance and terms of glass fracture lines.
  • Understand how to examine glass fractures to determine the direction of impact for a projectile.
  • Describe the proper collection of glass and soil evidence.

Readings for Week 2:

Assignments for Week 2:

This week’s discussion will challenge you to provide your own thoughts on the Wayne Williams serial homicide cases as well as prompt interactive discussion on the nature of the evidence used and some of the controversies in his conviction. I have provided you with four web sites that present varying sides: some supporting his conviction, some criticizing it. I must remind you that material found on the internet must be read carefully; anyone can post anything they want with no controls. Any research on the internet should always include looking at the source and determining if it is legitimate and would pass the same controls used in published works.

  • Weekly Discussion Topics/Questions:
    • What evidence do you feel is more compelling: the physical or the testimonial? Why?
    • Why do you feel there is continuing controversy and refusal to accept the successful prosecution in the face of the physical evidence presented?
  • Paper: You will have no paper to write this week, but will instead take a timed on-line quiz which counts toward your overall grade.


Week 3, August 29 - September 4, 2011: Microscopy, Organic/Inorganic Analysis, Forensic Entomology and Forensic Anthropology

Learning Objectives for Week 3:

  • Identify the types of microscopes and their primary characteristics;
  • Recognize the difference between a compound and a comparison microscope;
  • Identify those microscopes that use light and which do not;
  • Realize the primary difference between organic and inorganic substances;
  • Recognize the differences and applications of different types of analysis methods for organic and inorganic substances;
  • Learn the advantages and disadvantages to the various analysis methods for both organic and inorganic substances;
  • Examine and explain the uses and importance of forensic anthropology and entomology;
  • Discover what a criminalist can determine from forensic anthropology and entomology
  • Identify the major bones and skeletal structures used in forensic anthropology.
  • Explain the major methods of determining age, gender, race and identification from skeletal remains.
  • Learn which insects are of importance in forensic entomology;
  • Describe the life cycle of the fly and the general time frames of those cycles.

Readings for Week 3:

  • Text: Study Chapters 5,  6 and 7
  • News article reprint supplied by your instructor
  • Applicable assigned web-site reading:
    • Discussion material:



Assignments for Week 3:

This week’s discussion will be based upon material regarding the University of Tennessee’s Anthropological Research facility, commonly called “The Body Farm.” One reprinted article is to be found in this week’s Week 5 menu selections. I have also provided some web site reading to help you understand the work done there. Your paper will more specifically be about the entomology involved. 

·         Weekly Discussion Topic/Questions:

o    After reviewing the information regarding forensic anthropology, provide your view of the methods used in Dr. William Bass’ Anthropology Research Facility. Do you feel they are ethical? Why are they needed, or why are they not?

  • Paper: From the assigned website, select three cases, identifying in your paper which of the cases you chose. Provide a brief review of the major aspects and compare and contrast similarities and differences in the cases: what aspects were the same, what aspects were different and what actions by the investigators contributed to successful results?


Week 4, September 5 – 11, 2011: Hairs, Fibers and Paint; Drugs

During Week 4, we will begin by examining the physical and forensic aspects of hairs, fibers and paints, drawing back on some of the discussions of the crime scene presented in Week 2.  We will also examine the means of collecting and preserving these types of evidence.   During Week 4 we will additionally discuss the forensic aspects of drugs along with a brief history of their influence on our culture.  Particular emphasis will be placed upon recognition of both legal and physiologic classifications of common drugs and the proper methods of collecting and preserving them for evidentiary use.

Week 4: Learning Objectives

After the completion of the learning activities for this week the student will be able to:

  • Explain the structure and forensic importance of hair.
  • Identify what aspects can be determined from hair
  • Classify hair as class or individual forms of evidence
  • Identify the types of laboratory analysis done on fibers and paints.
  • Determine what fibers are composed of natural material
  • Explain the difference between regenerated and synthetic fibers
  • Explain the types of fibers found in forensic analysis
  • Discuss the history of drug usage in the world.
  • Identify the categories of drugs by both their action and by their legal classification.
  • Name significant tests that are done to identify drugs.

Readings for Week 4:

·         Text: Study Chapters 8 and 9.

Assignments for Week 4:

This week your discussion will provide you with the opportunity to study how fiber and hair has been used in various cases. To do this, read your chapters in the text and begin a search on the internet for cases in which hair and fiber were used. You should find cases that describe both of these, finding both good and bad aspects of the use of that evidence.

  • Week 4 Discussion Topics/Question:
    • From your research of high-profile cases as well as your text, how important do you see hair and fiber evidence to the majority of crime scenes? Provide one example in your discussion of good handling of each type of evidence, and one example in which the evidence was not well handled. In the discussion, present brief descriptions of the cases and defend or criticize the manner in which the evidence was used.

Week 4 Paper:

o    You have no paper for this week, but will instead take a timed, graded quiz.


Week 5, September 12 - 18, 2011: Toxicology and Arson/Explosives Evidence

During Week 5, we will examine the forensic aspects of toxicology and arson/explosives.  Particular emphasis will be placed on the most common toxicologic testing done, that of alcohol presence, but other discussion will involve less common poisons.  The section regarding arson and explosives will draw upon chemical and physical evidence aspects commonly encountered in these crime scenes.

Week 5: Learning Objectives

After the completion of the learning activities for this week the student will be able to:

  • Identify and explain the difficulties in the field of forensic toxicology.
  • Understand how alcohol is absorbed into and metabolizes in the body
  • Realize the forms of excretion of alcohol from the body
  • Describe common alcohol field testing methods.
  • Recognize the signs of arson at a crime scene.
  • Examine and discuss the difficulties of investigating arsons and explosives.
  • List the component parts of improvised explosive devices.
  • Explain the differences in classifications and characteristics of explosives.
  • List common commercial, homemade and military explosives

Readings for Week 5:

Text: Study Chapters 10 and 11.

Applicable assigned web-site reading:            



Assignments for Week 5

· Week 5 Discussion Topics/Question:

  • Toxicology examinations are needed in most suspicious deaths, but many jurisdictions do not have a qualified forensic pathologist to perform the autopsies. What would you recommend be done if your jurisdiction lacks a forensic pathologist but you as the detective feel toxicologic testing is needed?

· Week 5Paper:

·         After reviewing the web-site for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the FBI, seek any related links and offer your opinion on whether bombings inside the United States are on the rise and any changes you see in motives, explosive material used, or methods.


Week 6, September 19 - 25, 2011:  Forensic Serology and DNA

During Week 6, we begin with an examination of forensic serology, with special emphasis on blood stains and spatter patterns.  Discussion on seminal evidence will lead into the second half of the week's material involving DNA.  We will briefly note its historical use but will emphasize the current techniques, uses and misuses of this dynamic field of forensic evidence.

Week 6: Learning Objectives

After the completion of the learning activities for this week the student will be able to:

  • Recognize tests that indicate a stain is composed of blood;
  • Explain how blood and semen samples should be preserved for evidence;
  • Explain the importance and specifics of serology and blood spatter pattern analysis
  • Name and number the nucleotides that make up DNA;
  • Describe the significant differences between nuclear and mitochondrial DNA;
  • Identify the major types of DNA analysis;
  • Discuss the major concerns and precautions in DNA evidence collection
  • Understand the use of DNA computerized databases in forensic and criminal investigation

Readings for Week 6:

·         Text: Study Chapters 12 and 13.

Assignments for Week 6:

·         Week 6 Discussion Topics/Question:

o    Do you see DNA as having become more important than any other form of forensic testing and analysis? Why or why not?

·         Week 6 Paper:

o    You have no paper for this week, but will instead take a timed, graded quiz.


Week 7, September 26 - October 2, 2010: Fingerprints, Firearms and Toolmarks; Document and Voice Examination

During Week 7, we will discuss fingerprinting, examining the fundamentals, brief history of their forensic uses and the traditional as well as emerging means of detecting and preserving them as evidence.  We will finish the week with studying firearms/toolmarks and document and voice analysis. During this week you will also submit your CORE paper.

Week 7: Learning Objectives

After the completion of the learning activities for this week the student will be able to:

  • Discuss the history of fingerprints;
  • Recognize the three basic patterns of fingerprints and their respective subclasses;
  • Know the common ridge characteristics on fingerprints;
  • Distinguish between latent, visible and plastic fingerprints;
  • Discuss the new technology of fingerprint storage and search;
  • Understand some of the challenges to fingerprints under the Daubert standard;
  • Explain the significance and types of tool marks;
  • Appraise the significant forensic evidence to be found from firearms;
  • Understand the meaning of ‘rifling’ in a gun barrel;
  • Recognize the class and individual characteristics of bullets and cartridge cases;
  • Explain the procedure for determining how far a weapon was fired from a target;
  • Identify the laboratory tests for determining whether a person has fired a weapon;
  • Identify the significant aspects of document and voice examination.


Readings for Week 7:

  • Text: Study Chapters 14, 15 and 16

§ Internet article: The Reliability of Fingerprint Identification, A Case Report.

o    http://www.forensic-evidence.com/site/ID/pollak2002.html


Assignments for Week 7:

·         Week 7 Discussion Topics/Question:

o   With the advent of highly sophisticated forensic techniques, do you feel that fingerprinting is now outdated and over-rated at the crime scene?  Should more emphasis be placed on more high-tech evidence collection?

·         Week 7 Paper:

o   For this week, you have your CORE paper to submit.

Week 8, October 3 -9, 2010: Computers, the Internet and Forensic Future

 During Week 8, we will conclude the course with an examination of the internet in investigations and discussion of the future in forensic science and criminology.    During this week you will also complete the final examination for this course.

Week 8: Learning Objectives

After the completion of the learning activities for this week the student will be able to:

  • List and identify the hardware and software components of a computer;
  • Understand the difference between read-only memory and random-access memory;
  • Describe how a hard drive is partitioned;
  • Describe the proper procedure for preserving computer evidence at a crime scene;
  • Understand the difference between and location of visible and latent data;
  • List the areas of the computer that will be examined to retrieve forensic data;
  • Understand how the Internet is structure;
  • Know how to search for information on the Internet;
  • Relate various areas found on the computer where a user’s Internet activities can be investigated;
  • Describe how e-mails, chat and instant messages on the Internet can be traced and recovered;
  • Discuss some of the changing future techniques in forensics.

Readings For Week 8:

Assignments for Week 8:

·         Weekly Discussion Topics/Question:

o   What dangers do you see as well as applications of computers on criminology?

o   In what ways do you see the internet being used in forensic studies?

o   Are you aware of any other areas of forensic science being developed but not discussed by your text?

·         Final Exam to be taken

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93
Academic honesty is required of all members of the learning community.  Many of you aspire to criminal justice careers and the expectation of professional honesty and integrity is both expected and rigidly enforced.  Hence, neither the college nor I will tolerate cheating or plagiarism on examinations, papers or other course assignments.  Students who engage in such dishonesty should expect to receive failing grades and possible expulsion from Park University.  Plagiarism is sometimes the act of carelessness or ignorance.  This does not, however, make it less serious.  One of the most frequent offenses occur with information taken electronically from internet sites.  Be aware that I do check sources.  If I find any form of plagiarism, the minimum result will be a grade of 0% on that work.  If I believe it to have been a deliberate or flagrant act, I may fail the student for the course and may additionally recommend expulsion from Park University.  If you have any questions in this regard please see me.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a courserelated question, or using any of the learning management system tools.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 96

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


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Last Updated:8/3/2011 2:28:00 PM