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AFTE 2007-Tuesday, May 29

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Morning Technical Session

Morning Moderator: Andy Smith                       Technical Session: Grand Ballroom A

8:00 AM


General Annoucements



AFTE 2007 Committee Member

8:05 AM


3D Cartridge Case Update



Serge Levesque – Forensic Technologies Inc. - Canada

FT implemented the DFF (Depth From Focus) acquisition technique in the latest version of BrassTRAX-3D without any hardware change. DFF is used to acquire and view the actual 3D topography of a cartridge case. We will describe every step involved in this technique and demonstrate how a 3D topography is obtained from a set of 2D images. DFF also generates a Best Focus breech face image where any feature is in focus, including the firing pin region. In turn, this improves the 2D visualization. Combining the 3D topography and the Best Focus image generated by DFF yields a highly realistic representation of the cartridge.


8:20 AM


Rethinking Our Defense of Firearm / Toolmark Identification



Diana Paul – Los Angeles Police Department – Los Angeles, CA

Objectives: (1) To suggest an approach to defending the science of firearm/toolmark identification that answers the most basic questions about the foundation of our field in a way that juries and attorneys can understand. (2) To show that “real” science supports firearm / toolmark identification, not just our own “biased” literature.

Methodology: Review of firearm / toolmark identification literature, metallurgy textbooks and consultation with a metallurgist.

Results: The scientific support for firearm / toolmark identification is overwhelming and is based on basic metallurgy. However, we have not addressed our underlying scientific presumptions in a convincing, straightforward way to people outside of our field.

Conclusions: While preparing for a Daubert hearing and trial, I developed an approach to defending the science of firearm / toolmark identification that differed from others I have read or seen presented at AFTE seminars and in classes. The material and information is not new or novel, however, my approach to the material may assist others in their defense of the field.


8:45 AM


Taking a Stand on Daubert!
Daubert Acceptablity Criteria: Testibility and Error Rate



Ron Nichols – BATFE Forensic Laboratory – Walnut Creek, CA

There has been a tremendous amount published and presented dealing with how the discipline of firearms and tool marks meets the various elements of Daubert including: 1) testability of the scientific principle using the scientific method, 2) known or potential error rate 3) the existence and maintenance of standards of control, 4) peer review and publication, and 5) general acceptance in the relevant scientific community. This series of discussions will focus on Daubert principles in action. Each of the presenters will highlight particular prongs of Daubert and offer particularly relevant questions and responses to aid the audience in evaluating their own typical responses with regard to these issues. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of the most recent Daubert hearing in San Francisco.

It is important to remember that each testimony is an opportunity to educate and inform the criminal justice community of the scientific validity of the firearms and tool mark discipline and its application in the criminal justice community. It is hoped that this brief presentation will spur examiners to an introspective assessment of their own testimony and how improvement can be made.


9:10 AM


Taking a Stand on Daubert!



Daubert Acceptability Criteria: Relevant Scientific Community & Maintenance of Standards and Control

Ann Davis – Virginia Department of Forensic Science – Richmond, VA


9:35 AM


BREAK – Held in Vendor / Exhibitor Area – Grand Ballroom B & C



Sponsored by: Armor Forensics




10:00 AM




10:10 AM


Taking a Stand on Daubert!



Daubert Acceptability Criteria: Peer Review

Dom Denio – Federal Bureau of Investigation – Quantico, VA




10:25 AM


Taking a stand on Daubert!



A Daubert Hearing in San Francisco – How it All Comes Together

Andy Smith – San Francisco Police Department – San Francisco, CA


US v. Diaz Court Ruling (pdf)

10:50 AM



Command & Control on the Witness Stand: Employing the Principles of the OODA Loop



Raymond Davis – CourtSkills – Eagle, ID

The first part of the presentation will cover the principle elements contained in the OODA Loop developed by Colonel John Boyd. The acronym stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. Boyd was an Air Force fighter pilot who developed air combat strategies for the US Military. Many of his contributions have been adapted throughout the military and used most notably in the first Gulf War. His talent for elucidating the steps required for obtaining and maintaining control in an adversarial/confrontational situation has also been used across all professional domains. The second part will cover how the OODA Loop functions to provide the expert witness with a high degree of command and control on the witness stand. The third part will cover examples from the author’s experience of 1600 courtroom trials. Specifically, how the principles inherent in the OODA Loop reduced confrontations on cross examination, shortened time on the witness stand, increased juror appreciation while enhancing credibility as an expert witness.


11:15 AM


Submachine Guns and Assault Rifles Used by ETA



Serge Martin - Institut National de Police Scientifique - Laboratoire de Toulouse - France

This is a short presentation on the most common submachine guns and assault rifles used by the Basque terrorist movement (ETA). Special attention will be paid to the hand made or modified submachine guns. Further, the evolutions and tendencies of the ETA armaments will be discussed.


11:40 AM


LUNCH (on your own)

  Afternoon Technical Session

Afternoon Moderator:  Bruce Moran 


1:00 PM






1:10 PM


Effects of Fire Damage on the Ability to Make Identifications: Truck Burn Part III



Kristin Gerber & Jodi Marsanopoli – BATFE Forensic Laboratory – Ammendale, MD

Objectives: The purpose of this research was to determine if identifications can be made with evidence recovered from a site that has been subjected to fire damage.

Methodology: This section of the project was conducted in conjunction with the ATF Fire Research Laboratory, which was attempting to reconstruct a crime scene in which a victim was found shot in a truck that was also burned. During the reconstruction, cartridge cases, bullets and a firearm were burned in a truck similar to the one found at the scene. Fired bullets were also inserted in a pig that was also burned in the truck in order to simulate the victim’s death. The firearms evidence was collected from the truck and the pig. It was then examined and compared for identification purposes.

Results: The results showed that the some evidence recovered can be identified to a particular firearm, as well as to the other evidence collected.

Conclusions: It is possible to successfully identify ammunition components that have been fired from a gun prior to being burned in a fire. There are many factors that will affect the potential for identifications, including heat, changes to the surface of the firearm, rust formation, pitting of the barrel and breech and water damage to the firearm.

Results from Part II specifically related to the identification of the cartridge cases based on chamber marks will also be discussed.


1:35 PM


National Firearms Examiner Academy – Update



Jodi Marsanopoli – BATFE Forensic Laboratory – Ammendale, MD

This presentation will include an overview of the most recent Academy class, the graduates and a brief rundown about the upcoming class. The student selected by the NFEA Staff to represent the graduating class will be introduced.

1:45 PM



Hammer Forging of Rifle Barrels: Individuality of Barrels Forged from a Single Mandrel



Randall Stone – Las Vegas PD Crime Laboratory – Las Vegas, NV

The use of hammer forging in the manufacture of gun barrels, popular in Europe for years, is now being used more frequently in the United States. This presentation provides a description of the process for the hammer forging of gun barrels and the manufacture of mandrels used in the hammer forging technique. In addition, this presentation documents research completed on the individuality of three rifle barrels that were hammer forged from a single mandrel and the criteria for identification used in this research. This study determined that barrels hammer forged from the same mandrel produce unique, reproducible and identifiable microscopic marks.


2:10 PM


Investment Casting in Barrel Manufacture of the Thunder Five



Julianna Price – Virginia Department of Forensic Science – Norfolk, VA

Objective: (1) Introduce the Thunder Five revolver. (2) Brief history of the company, Munitions International Laboratories Incorporated (MILI). (3) Give a detailed description of the manufacturing process of the Thunder Five, which consists mostly of investment casting. (4) Briefly discuss the effects investment cast rifling could have on the identification of fired bullets.

Methodology: The manufacturing facility of the Thunder Five was toured to observe how the rifling is investment cast into the barrel. While at the factory, two revolvers were test fired and 45 test fires were obtained from each firearm. Several specimens of barrels and frames from different stages of the manufacturing process were also obtained.

Results: Only a preliminary examination of the test fires has been conducted so far and further study would have to be performed to conclude whether or not investment cast rifling produces unique markings inside each barrel.

Conclusions: In general test fires from the Thunder Five have poor rifling and several have deformities. The concern for the firearms examiner is the fact that the rifling in the Thunder Five is produced by investment casting. Without any further research there is no way to know whether or not rifling that is investment cast has individual characteristics that will allow a firearm to be uniquely associated with a bullet fired through the barrel. It is possible that because each barrel is made by the same mold that similar microscopic features will be imparted on bullets fired through different barrels. But it is also possible that because of the way in which the ceramic mold is formed that the individual silicate grains could form a unique surface pattern on each mold which would then be imparted onto the steel poured in to make the final product. The finishing processes applied to the steel frame might also create a more unique surface inside the barrel.


2:35 PM


BREAK – Held in the Vendor / Exhibitor Area – Grand Ballroom B & C



Sponsored by: Team Fabrication


3:00 PM




3:10 PM


Subclass Characteristics: Problem or Solution?



Beta Tam – Los Angeles Police Department – Los Angeles, CA

Outline of Objectives
Provide a different prospective for subclass characteristics, with a view to provide a systematic approach to avoid subclass influence to identification

Brief Methodology

  • Discuss the definition of “Subclass Characteristics” as described in AFTE Glossary.
  • Discuss that CMS stated that subclass characteristics are a problem and some examiners are reluctant to identify no gun cases due to the possibility of subclass characteristics.
  • Explain the two types of subclasses:
    (1) Matching tool marks generated by the machining process
    (2) Matching tool marks generated by working tool
  • Provide a different concept of generations of tool marks using:
    (1) Screw driver – door knob - cast
    (2) Cutting Tool – Breech face – cartridge case – photograph (digital images)
    (3) Broach – barrel – bullet
  • Explain how subclass characteristics are only a result of the upper generation tool marks.
  • Provide examples of unique marks for identification using previous subclass papers.
  • Introduction to STRIA, Source Tool Recognition Identification Approach, how to articulate tool marks observed on work pieces.
  • Explain how to appreciate tool movement in order to tackle subclass characteristics.

Summary of Results
Subclass characteristics could be viewed as different generations of tool marks. Examiners have acquired the techniques through experience and now it has become a problem only because we did not get used to articulating tool mark formation and rule out the possibility of subclass.

General Conclusions
Subclass characteristics are very much like a phobia if you do not face it. Learn more about how tool marks are formed and prepare to articulate the formation of marks then you can explain how you eliminate subclass characteristics from your identification.


3:45 PM


The ENFSI Proficiency Testing Program on Identification of GSR by SEM/EDX



Ludwig Niewohner - Forensic Science Institute of the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) – Germany

Within the framework of the ENFSI Working Group "Firearms" a proficiency testing programme on the detection and identification of gunshot residues (GSR) by SEM/EDX was set up and performed [1, 2]. The latest test was carried out in 2005/06 (GSR2005). The test material was designed by the Bundeskriminalamt and manufactured on order by an external company for SEM accessories. The participating laboratories were requested to determine the total number of PbSbBa containing particles on the test samples following their own laboratory specific methods of automated GSR particle search and detection by SEM/EDX.


4:15 PM


FAID 2005 – Proficiency Test or Collaborative Study of Firearms Identification



Petra Pauw-Vugts – Netherlands Forensic Institute – Den Haag, Netherlands


Objectives: Within the ENFSI Expert Working Group Firearms a project group "Quality Assurance and Proficiency Testing, Firearms" started. The Bundeskriminalamt (Germany), Danish National Police (Denmark) and the Netherlands Forensic Institute are members of this project. The group created its first proficiency test for firearms identification: the FAID 2005.

Methodology: The FAID 2005 consists only of castings of bullets and cartridge cases, this way all participants have exactly the same marks to examine. The test contains fifteen sub-sets; each sub-set has two controls (test fires from known firearms, make, model and serial number given) and one unknown. Question for each sub-set is: "Is the unknown item from the same firearm as the two controls". This way a participant has to come to fifteen conclusions.

Results: The FAID 2005 had sixty participants, mostly European also American, Australian and African. All sixty sent in their results. After reviewing the results an extra questionnaire was sent to the participants concerning different properties of the test and more detailed information on the examiners participating in the test. The results were discussed at the closing meeting in Denmark, June 2006.

Conclusions: Results show not all participants of the FAID 2005 interpret found similarities or differences the same. This test should first be used as a collaborative study, to find ways to reduce differences in interpretation and have more (all) examiners use the same identification methodology.



4:55 PM


Class and Individual Characteristics on Primers of Expended Cartridge Cases



Tsuneo Uchiyama – National Research Institute of Police Science – Chiba, Japan



Objectives: Class characteristics are defined as measurable features of a specimen which indicate a restricted group source and it is usually used in estimating type and make of firearms that fired them. Discernible class characteristics on expended cartridge cases are such as; size and shape of firing pin of rimfire cartridge, size of firing pin aperture, relative position of the extractor and ejector. The FBI GRC file lists firing pin shape, position of extractor and ejector and breech face marking pattern as class characteristics on expended cartridge cases. The purpose of this study is to clarify whether the size and position of firing pin indentation and firing pin aperture marking of center fire cartridges are class characteristics or individual characteristics?

Methodology: NRIPS had taken digital photos of primers of test fired cartridge cases which were fired from handguns seized in Japan after 2000. The author measured the diameter of the firing pin indentation and firing pin aperture mark and eccentricity of both of them fired from caliber .25 and .32 semi-automatic pistols. The percentage value of firing pin indentation and firing pin aperture mark to diameter of primer pocket were grouped by each make of firearm. The percentage value of eccentricity of firing pin indentation and firing pin aperture mark to radius of primer pocket were also grouped by each make of firearm.

Results: Significant difference was observed between average values of diameter of firing pin indentation of various makes of semi-automatic pistols, such as those diameters of Beretta were small and those of Raven were large. However great variation was observed among these values on the cartridge cases fired from the same make of firearm. On the other hand, variation between the markings of two cartridges cases fired from the same firearm was small. Eccentricity of firing pin indentation and/or firing pin aperture marking fired from famous firearms, such as Beretta, Browning was not always small. Reproducibility of degree of primer protrusion between firing pin indentation and firing pin aperture marking was high among the cartridge cases fired from the same firearm. When the difference between the diameter of firing pin aperture and firing pin marking was large, the degree of protrusion became high.

Conclusions: Diameter and position of firing pin indentation and firing pin aperture marking is not only class characteristics but individually different characteristics. The range of value of diameter of firing pin and firing pin aperture is wide even among the same make of firearms. Wide variation was observed even on the cases fired from big-name guns because criminals fire a lot of cartridges because of their high reliability and the shape and/or surface of components would be changed a lot.


5:20 PM





Workshops and Armorers Courses




Workshop / Armorer’s Course


6:00 PM-9:00 PM

Introduction to Saw and Toolmarks in Bone: A Class Characteristics Approach

Seacliff A

This half-day workshop will acquaint participants with the recognition and interpretation of tool marks, specifically those produced by saws, on bone. The workshop does not detail the identification of a particular saw to tool marks in bone but, rather, provides the participants with knowledge and skills to interpret and classify a range of tools that may have been responsible for producing the tool marks.

This hands-on workshop will introduce the participants to various techniques for measuring and interpreting class characteristic data present within the tool marks. Each group of participants will be provided with casts of genuine tool marks in bone along with the equipment necessary to evaluate the tool marks.

This project is supported by Award No. 2005-IJ-CX-K016, awarded by the National institute of justice, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice. The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice. This research is also supported by the National Forensic Academy, and Forensic Sciences Foundation, American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

6:00 PM-9:00 PM

ISO Standards and Firearms and Tool Marks

Seacliff C & D

This half-day workshop will be useful to those in laboratories beginning the process of moving from ASLCD/LAB Legacy standards to the ISO standards. Participants will be introduced to highlights in the ISO standards, the interpretation and implication of these standards as they apply to the firearms and tool mark discipline, and various ways in which these standards are being met. This workshop should be especially helpful in putting at ease much of the misinterpreted, anecdotal information about ISO that is spreading throughout laboratories nationwide.

6:00 PM-9:00 PM

Compromise of High Security Locks

Marina Room

Manufacturers that sell high security locks with UL 437 OR ANSI ratings claim that they are highly resistant to covert methods of entry, but are they really in the high tech world of crime? This workshop will focus on the most popular high security locks in the United States: Medeco, Assa, Mul-T-Lock, and Schlage Primus and why some of the claims by certain manufacturers as to their security may not tell the entire story. The UL and ANSI standards will also be analyzed as to how they define high security and why these standards may not fully test for certain vulnerabilities. This workshop will be an extension of the one given by Marc Tobias in 2006 at Springfield on the threat posed by lock bumping.


6:00 PM-9:00 PM

Digital Photography

Golden Gate Room

This half-day workshop will acquaint participants with various digital imaging techniques and applications for the firearm and tool mark discipline. As systems become more cost-effective and efficient it becomes increasingly valuable to be able to understand and learn how to apply digital imaging to firearm and tool mark casework and evidence. This will be a hands-on workshop and as such, registration will be limited.

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