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Crime Scene Glossary
Vocab for 311
81
Criminal Justice
01/27/2011

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Accelerant
Definition
A substance, such as gasoline, used to assist the ignition and spread of a fire.
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Accumulated Degree Days
Definition
The collective total of the average daily temperature; used as an indicator in calculating time since death.
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Adipocere
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The waxy, soaplike substance formed during the decomposition of a body; consist mainly of fatty tissues; sometimes referred to as grave wax
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AFIS
Definition
Automated Fingerprint Identification System
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Algor Mortis
Definition
The reduction of body temperature after death
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Alternate light source
Definition
A light source other than a laser that luminesces latent fingerprints, as well as body fluids; also referred to as the forensic light source.
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Anthropology
Definition
The science of the origin, development and culture of humans
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APIS
Definition
Automated Palm print Identification System
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Area of Convergence
Definition
Term used in bloodstain pattern analysis; the area in space where the violence or bloodshed took place.
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Argon laser
Definition
An ion laser used to detect latent fingerprints
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Arson
Definition
Deliberate and Intentional setting of a fire
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Arterial Spurting
Definition
Bloodstain pattern caused by blood exiting the body under the pressure of a punctured artery.
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latent print examiner
Definition
a person who can not only recover latent prints from a scene but can process evidence
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Locard's exchange principle
Definition
When someone comes into contact with another person or walks in a room they leave evidence
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Luminol
Definition
Chemical used to detect presence of blood
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Maggot
Definition
Wormlike larva
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Major case prints
Definition
All ridge detail in the palms, joints, tips, sides of fingers
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Manner of death
Definition
Also known as MO, the way it was caused
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Mass spectrometer
Definition
Records data electronically
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Medical Examiner
Definition
Physician who determines cause of death
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Mummification
Definition
Shriveling and drying of a body
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Ninhydrin
Definition
Used to detect latent fingerprints
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Osteology
Definition
Study of bones
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Pathologist
Definition
Trained in the cause of death by disease through examination of fluids, cell and tissue samples.
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Petechial Hemorrhage
Definition
Small hemorrhages that occur beneath the skin, typicaly in the eyelids. Strangulation or Asphyxiation
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Postmortem
Definition
After death
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Postmortem interval
Definition
Time period between death and discovery
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Pubic symphysis
Definition
Pelvis meets pubic bone
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Pugilistic pose
Definition
Distortion of a body that is being burned
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Putrefaction
Definition
Decomposition of soft tissues
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Satellite pattern
Definition
Blood originally part of a bigger stan leaves through force
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Sharp force trauma
Definition
Trauma by a sharp object
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Swipe pattern
Definition
Object with blood comes into contact with an object that is not stained
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Tardieu spots
Definition
Brownish black round spots caused by capillaries rupturing
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Theory of Transfer
Definition
Into a room evidence
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Thermocouple device
Definition
Thermoelectric devise used to accurately measure temperatures
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Trace evidence
Definition
Physical evidence that can only be detected by special processing
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Trajectory
Definition
Path of a projectile
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Transient evidence
Definition
Fragile
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Ultraviolet light
Definition
invisible band of radiation at the upper end of the spectrum
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V pattern
Definition
Thermal pattern formed by fire as it burns against a wall, usually indicates origin
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Volatile fatty acids
Definition
The major end products of microbial activity in the digestic tract resulting in fluids
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Wipe pattern
Definition
Stain caused by an object coming across a bloodstain already on another item.