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Forensics Exam, Exhibits, Key to Determining Caylee’s Killer

By Carol Forsloff     Dec 20, 2008 in Crime
Forensic work requires that the evidence be gathered, prepared and exhibited properly, for the best resolution of a case.
That’s likely to be the tedious part of work on the Caylee Anthony case and why the public needs to be patient because it is the most important part. Announcements about the case out of Orange County have underlined the need for this.
As an expert in document examination and life care planning for more than a decade before retirement, I have had practice in securing evidence and making sure that it was relevant for cases. I have, therefore, had practice in putting together evidence in a manner that can be properly prepared for juries. That’s what is occurring in the Caylee Anthony case. As the authorities surrounding the investigation have maintained, collecting the evidence properly is paramount to developing a case well. That proper collection is also critical for the prosecution as well as the defense. That’s why the public pronouncements about the case of Caylee Anthony in Florida need to be circumspect because those statements can also be used as evidence to support, reinforce, or cause a case to be thrown out.
Evidence collection is a science and an art, because it not only has to be collected properly, and then examined carefully; it also has to be manipulated and displayed in the best possible way to convince jurors of the efficacy of an attorney’s argument. The experts, in chemistry, anthropology and DNA, in the Caylee Anthony case need to be careful to review the evidence in great detail while at the same time making sure that whatever exhibits they develop are done with the kind of design and detail that will allow the jury members to review and understand the information presented. That’s why the defense has put together that “dream team,” a term given the high-profile experts in the O.J. Simpson case and referred to frequently by Fox.
Whether it is a handwriting exemplar from Patsy and John Ramsey in the Jon Benet Ramsey case, or remains collected at a crime scene, such as those where Caylee Anthony was found, evidence handling and presentation is sometimes the key to a final decision. No one watching the jury trial of O.J. Simpson could forget the too-tight gloves found or the shoe prints examined by Henry Lee. So it is critical that everyone be careful and close-lipped about the information. That’s because insertion of speculation from news media or leaks to either side from one or the other can be disastrous for the effective prosecution or defense of a case.
Presentation of evidence about a crime may appear boring to jurors and observers, but it needs careful attention because it is usually given careful examination and arrangement in advance of trial. In the case of Caylee Anthony, experts have many items to examine that will take weeks to review and for exhibits to be developed. These items include the plastic bag, the bones, a book found at the scene as well as other pieces of evidence that have been discussed or that either the defense or prosecution haven’t yet divulged. As the Orlando Sentinel has pointed out where the remains were found and the way the body was disposed of can be important clues in determining how Caylee Anthony was killed.
Despite the talking heads on Larry King Live who have, and will continue to, dominate the airwaves with speculations about who killed Caylee, the evidence assessment by scientific analysis and the development of appropriate exhibits to present information properly is an important process that can’t be hurried and likely won’t be in the Caylee Anthony case.
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Carol Forsloff is court-qualified as a forensics expert in military, Federal and civilian courts in document examination and in federal, state and district courts in rehabilitation and life care planning
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