Case Reviews

Case Review Expertise

In addition to analysis, Microtrace also conducts document reviews for crime laboratories, public defenders, innocence projects, and attorneys.  Microtrace conducts reviews in areas related to trace evidence, microanalysis, and chemistry.  Topics include, but are not limited to hair, gunshot residue, fiber, paint, glass, tape, soil, physical matches, headlamp, unknown materials, chemical analysis, analysis of stains, residues, paper, ink, explosives, particle size, and polymer analysis.  For a more complete list of our topics of expertise, please see our page on materials analyzed.  In addition to supporting our work through detailed reports and analysis, we also support our results in court through expert testimony where our staff have testified in local, state, federal, military, and courts in countries outside of the US.

Innocence Project and Public Defender Case Reviews

On the subject of trace evidence, we work with public defenders, innocence projects, and defense attorneys around the country to assist them with case reviews, testimony support, review analysis, and taking analyses further than a standard crime laboratory analysis.  We have a somewhat unique perspective on case reviews since we are active on numerous fronts of the forensic trace evidence community.  In addition to conducting reviews, we also conduct analysis on active casework for both prosecution and defense (as well as in civil litigation), conduct research projects on forensic trace evidence and microanalysis, teach on these topics around the world, publish on forensic analysis, and serve on the ASTM and US forensic science standards committees (OSAC) that write and review the methods used for forensic trace evidence analysis around the world.

While most case reviewers provide only a desk review, we are in the somewhat unique position of being scientific practitioners that can and do conduct all of the analyses performed, both for the prosecution and defense, in our own state-of-the-art analytical lab, which is fully equipped (generally better equipped), and accredited to the same ISO standard as crime labs around the world.  As a result, our reviews are extremely thorough and detailed. They are conducted with both a historical knowledge of these disciplines and with knowledge of current topics of debate in forensic science.  We have the capabilities of both redoing analyses conducted in cases (for example, to explore subtle differences that may exist in the data) and taking the analyses further when topics arise that warrant this additional work.

Our assistance to public defenders and innocence projects typically involves the review of case notes, standard operating protocols (SOPs), chain of custody details, raw data, conclusions, and testimony.  We can also observe sampling and testing of evidence being conducted by other laboratories and provide testimony and testimony support.  Our results may be provided in the form of a formal report, the preparation of cross examination questions, or simply helping an attorney come up to speed on the significance of an unfamiliar type of evidence or analysis.

Forensic Laboratory Report Peer Review

Many forensic laboratories do not have redundant expertise in all areas of analysis.  In those instances, peer reviews of casework can be difficult to obtain.  Microtrace can provide assistance through the technical review of documents and data in cases involving virtually any type of trace evidence.  Our standing on several national and international forensic working groups and boards, along with our active research programs, provide us with a broad perspective to offer critiques into issues ranging from high level approaches down to the most minute details that may impact the interpretation of results.

Technical Report Review

Microtrace provides critical reviews of laboratory reports in civil litigation, patent infringement cases, environmental work, and for various industrial clients (e.g., manufacturing, pharmaceutical).  Our critical reviews, based on solid theoretical knowledge, as well as, practical experience with a vast range of materials and analytical methods allows us to advise clients on the meaning of technical results in the context of a specific question they are trying to address.  For instances, many laboratories are rely on standard analytical methods, be it ASTM, EPA, AATCC, USP or from another body.  While these methods can be useful, they are often not directly applicable to the specific topics at issue in litigation matters.  Microtrace has helped clients around the world understand technical reports in the context of a particular case, advise on the strengths and weaknesses of an analysis, and determine whether other analyses may be warranted.

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