Crime Laboratory

Austin, TX, United States

Crime Laboratory

Austin, TX, United States
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DETROIT, MI--(Marketwired - February 13, 2017) - SmithGroupJJR, one of the nation's leading architecture, engineering and planning firms, is pleased to announce that Tom Butcavage, Sam D'Amico, Mark Kranz and David Varner have been elevated to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows. The recognition reflects their significant contributions to architecture and society and achievement of a standard of excellence in the profession. The four from SmithGroupJJR will be among the 178 new Fellows recognized at an investiture ceremony at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017, to be held April 27-29 in Orlando, Florida. Tom Butcavage, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, is a SmithGroupJJR vice president and leader of the Higher Education Studio at the firm's Washington, DC office. He has spent the past 20 years as a pioneer in the programming, planning and design of award-winning and nationally significant higher education facilities across the U.S., ranging from instructional facilities and student centers to libraries and professional schools. Butcavage is widely recognized for his unparalleled expertise in law school design. He has led more than 20 law school projects, each containing a variety of spaces for specialized instruction, research and legal skills development. Among his most recently completed law schools are the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, American University Washington College of Law, George State University College of Law, and New York Law School - all which exemplify cutting-edge environments for modern legal education. Presently, he is leading the design of a number of new professional education facilities at the University of South Carolina, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Georgetown University. A frequent presenter at national academic conferences such as the Society for College and University Planning, American Bar Association and Association of College Unions International, Butcavage speaks on topics including the design of student spaces and maximizing student engagement through new facilities. He has served as a critic and lecturer at the Corcoran College of Art + Design and Catholic University of America School of Architecture and Planning. Butcavage is a graduate of Columbia University with a Master of Architecture, preceded by a BA in art history at Swarthmore College. His is a resident of Washington, DC's Shepherd Park neighborhood. Sam D'Amico, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, is a SmithGroupJJR vice president and design leader for the firm's Health Practice. Based at its San Francisco office, he is now commencing his 35th year practicing architecture throughout the U.S. as well as parts of Asia. D'Amico approaches every project with a specific architectural response that integrates the client's culture, context and place. His design tenets include the integration of daylight, nature and art into the healthcare environment to improve the healing process. D'Amico has designed for world-class teaching institutions and national leaders in healthcare such as the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, and Barnes Jewish Hospital. Currently, D'Amico is design principal for a new medical office building and bed tower, part of a multi-year expansion program for Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, California. His design of the new Robley Rex Veteran Administration Medical Center, a 1.2 million-square-foot replacement hospital to be constructed in Louisville, Kentucky, led to SmithGroupJJR's award of a prestigious AIA Academy of Architecture National Health Design Award, Unbuilt Category. Another D'Amico design, for the Fuwai Huazhong Cardiovascular and Heart Hospital, Zhenghou, Henan Province, China, was the recipient of an AIA San Francisco Citation Award for unbuilt design. At SmithGroupJJR, D'Amico is a member of the firm's National Design Committee. In 2016, he served as a featured panelist at firm's public forum on design, Perspectives, for a program titled, "The Fusion of Art and Architecture." A graduate from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors, the Houston, Texas native now resides in Lafayette, California, where he is on the Board of the city's Improvement Association. Mark Kranz, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, vice president and design director at SmithGroupJJR, is known for his elegant and synthesized solutions for research and higher education environments across the U.S. As the designer of projects recognized by a total of 27 AIA design awards to-date, he believes that each has the potential for excellence, regardless of budget or constraints. Kranz, who is based at the firm's Phoenix office, is an advocate of pushing the boundaries of innovation and sustainability. He designed the LEED Platinum Energy Systems Integration Facility at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado, leading a complex team and design vision for a high performance/ultra-low energy building later honored as R&D Magazine's "Lab of the Year." His design of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Center for Excellence, located at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Oahu, Hawaii, was the recipient of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) 2015 Commander's Award for Design Excellence. Among Kranz's projects currently underway is the $82 million Engineering Building, now under construction at the University of Texas at Dallas. Scheduled for completion in 2018, the new, 208,000-square-foot building will house the university's rapidly growing mechanical engineering program. He is also serving design principal for the new $60 million San Diego County Crime Laboratory, slated to be completed in 2019. Kranz was elected to the SmithGroupJJR Board of Directors in 2015 and is a member of the firm's National Design Committee and Science & Technology Practice. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science in architectural studies, followed by a Master of Architecture from Arizona State University. He now resides in Phoenix. David Varner, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, is vice president and director of the firm's 200-person office in Washington, DC, located in the 1700 New York Avenue building in the heart of DC's monumental core. Varner is known for his talent in discovering and celebrating hidden environmental, economic and design opportunities in existing buildings. His special expertise and success in creating new value for owners, communities and cities through such building transformation is well demonstrated with the complete transformation of the 2.1 million-square-foot, Constitution Center, a repositioning of a 1960's property into the largest, privately-owned office building in Washington, DC. Certified LEED Gold, the building today is not only highly energy-efficient, but secure, elegant and fully leased. Varner is currently serving as SmithGroupJJR's principal-in-charge for one of the District's most exciting new buildings now under construction: the $60 million, 150,000-square-foot, DC Water Headquarters. When completed in late 2017 along the waterfront of the Anacostia River, the new building will set a new standard for low-energy, high-performance and resilient waterfront development. As a result of his expertise in existing buildings, transformation, planning and mixed-use development, Varner is frequently invited to join interdisciplinary panels of some of the nation's most significant leadership groups. In 2015 he was elected a Trustee of the Federal City Council, a position that catalyzes the collaboration of key business leaders in Washington, DC to solve challenging problems across the city. He is a long-time member of the Urban Land Institute and currently on its exclusive Redevelopment and Reuse Council. Varner has been a member of the SmithGroupJJR Board of Directors since 2011. He is graduate of Rice University with dual degrees: a Bachelor of Arts degree in architecture and art/art history and a Bachelor of Architecture. A native of Houston, Texas, Varner now lives in Arlington, Virginia. The American Institute of Architects Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level. SmithGroupJJR ( is an integrated architecture, engineering and planning firm, employing more than 1,100 across 10 offices. In May 2016, SmithGroupJJR was ranked as one of the nation's top architecture firms by Architect magazine's Architect 50. A national leader in sustainable design, SmithGroupJJR has 420 LEED professionals and 160 LEED certified projects.

News Article | March 16, 2016

A third tour has been added to the Laboratory Design Conference agenda. The conference will be held April 25-27 in Houston, Texas. . Sign up to tour the Harris County Forensics facility (Existing DNA Laboratory and New Building): In January 2013, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences opened its 15,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art Forensics Genetics Laboratory within a renovated train bay of Houston’s historic Nabisco cookie plant, today known as the Texas Medical Center’s John P. McGovern Campus.  The location of the laboratory in the TMC campus allows for close collaboration with other renowned medical and research science faculties. The Institute’s Forensic Genetics Laboratory received a Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Construction from the Texas Building Branch of the Associated General Contractors. The project consisted of 17,000 sq. ft. designed for Serology Labs, Extraction Labs, Evidence Receiving/Storage, and administrative space for the laboratory. Vaughn Construction is serving as the construction manager-at-risk, with Johnston L.L.C. as the architect. The new, 140,000 sq. ft. Main Campus of the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences is currently being constructed on a 3.2-acre site directly across from its existing location. The comprehensive planning process for the building, which will house both the Medical Examiner and Crime Laboratory services for Harris County, began in 2007 and incorporated experts from business, medical, laboratory and scientific fields. The resulting design culminates in an integrated use of space flowing seamlessly between clinical, laboratory, administrative, public and teaching/training areas. Consideration was also given to the exterior design of the facility to ensure it complements the aesthetics of neighboring institutions located on the Texas Medical Center Campus. The new Forensic Center is expected to be completed in 2017. Vaughn Construction is serving as the construction manager-at-risk, with Page/ as the architect. The other facilities offered as part of the Laboratory Design Conference's tour package are Brockman Hall for Physics at Rice University, and Texas Medical Center. Click here for more information about these facilities . Tours of exemplary lab facilities, including those to which attendees would not otherwise have access, are an integral part of the overall   experience. Breakfast and round-trip transportation from the hotel to these sites will be provided.

Girardet R.,University of Houston | Bolton K.,University of Houston | Lahoti S.,University of Houston | Mowbray H.,University of Houston | And 6 more authors.
Pediatrics | Year: 2011

OBJECTIVE: To determine the time period after sexual assault of a child that specimens may yield evidence using DNA amplification. Secondary questions included the comparative laboratory yields of body swabs versus other specimens, and the correlation between physical findings and laboratory results. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Data from evidence-collection kits from children 13 years and younger were reviewed. Kits were screened for evidence using traditional methods, and DNA testing was performed for positive specimens. Laboratory data were compared with historical information. RESULTS: There were 277 evidence-collection kits analyzed; 151 were collected from children younger than 10; 222 kits (80%) had 1 or more positive laboratory screening test, of which 56 (20%) tested positive by DNA. The time interval to collection was <24 hours for 30 of the 56 positive kits (68% positives with a documented time interval), and 24 (43% of all positive kits) were positive only by nonbody specimens. The majority of children with DNA were aged 10 or older, but kits from 14 children younger than 10 also had a positive DNA result, of which 5 were positive by a body swab collected between 7 and 95 hours after assault. Although body swabs were important sources of evidence for older children, they were significantly less likely than nonbody specimens to yield DNA among children younger than 10 (P = .002). There was no correlation between physical findings and laboratory evidence. CONCLUSIONS: Body samples should be considered for children beyond 24 hours after assault, although the yield is limited. Physical examination findings do not predict yield of forensic laboratory tests. Copyright © 2011 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Gardner R.M.,Bevel | Maloney M.,Bevel | Rossi C.,Crime Laboratory
Journal of Forensic Identification | Year: 2012

Impact bloodstain patterns occur across a variety of violent crime scenes. In the hands of a trained bloodstain pattern analyst, these patterns can provide a wealth of information that may be probative to the court. Unfortunately, trained bloodstain pattern analysts are not always on scene to capture the required information or guide the crime scene investigator in deciding what stains and measurements to document. This creates a data disconnect that will eliminate the possibility for any future area-of-origin (AO) analysis effort. This article describes a documentation method for crime scene investigators to bridge this disconnect and capture sufficient information for subsequent off-scene AO analysis.

PubMed | University of Helsinki, Crime Laboratory and Aalto University
Type: Evaluation Studies | Journal: Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM | Year: 2016

Fast methods that allow the in situ analysis of explosives from a variety of surfaces are needed in crime scene investigations and home-land security. Here, the feasibility of the ambient mass spectrometry technique desorption atmospheric pressure photoionization (DAPPI) in the analysis of the most common nitrogen-based explosives is studied.DAPPI and desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) were compared in the direct analysis of trinitrotoluene (TNT), trinitrophenol (picric acid), octogen (HMX), cyclonite (RDX), pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), and nitroglycerin (NG). The effect of different additives in DAPPI dopant and in DESI spray solvent on the ionization efficiency was tested, as well as the suitability of DAPPI to detect explosives from a variety of surfaces.The analytes showed ions only in negative ion mode. With negative DAPPI, TNT and picric acid formed deprotonated molecules with all dopant systems, while RDX, HMX, PETN and NG were ionized by adduct formation. The formation of adducts was enhanced by addition of chloroform, formic acid, acetic acid or nitric acid to the DAPPI dopant. DAPPI was more sensitive than DESI for TNT, while DESI was more sensitive for HMX and picric acid.DAPPI could become an important method for the direct analysis of nitroaromatics from a variety of surfaces. For compounds that are thermally labile, or that have very low vapor pressure, however, DESI is better suited.

News Article | December 24, 2016

James A. Green has been working as a Forensic Document Examiner for over a quarter century. He is an expert in handwriting and signature analysis, and he examines wills, contracts and other documents. He does handwriting comparisons on anonymous notes, wills and forms. He utilizes specialized laboratory instruments such as the Video Spectral Comparator 4Plus that compares inks and verifies security paperwork, among other functions. He uses the Indented Writing Materializer to recover indented writing and provide vital evidence in cases of questioned signatures and handwriting. He also examines obliterations. For further details, please visit Mr. Green has been well-trained in his field. He is certified by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners and now holds the position of Treasurer for the organization. In the past, he has served as President, Vice President and Secretary for this distinguished group of professionals. He also served as a Director of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences-Questioned Document Section Southwest Association of Forensic Document Examiners. Each year, Mr. Green attends conferences and workshops to hone his document examination skills and to retain his standing as certified with the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners. He is an active member of three well-known document examiner groups and regularly takes part in training seminars. In addition, he trained at the United States Secret Service-Questioned Document Course in 1989 and the United States Postal Inspection Crime Laboratory in 1991. Mr. Green also has extensive practical experience. Since the year 2000, he has worked in private practice on both civil and criminal matters. He served as an apprentice in the Eugene, Oregon Police Department for two and a half years, and was a Forensic Document Examiner for them from 1988 to 2000. He assisted them in various positions from 1976 until 1988. Mr. Green has much experience in both State and Federal Court, giving expert witness testimony in Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. He has provided his expertise in a foreign court as well. He has spoken as an expert witness in over 110 court cases. In choosing Mr. Green, one receives high-quality Forensic Document Examiner service at an affordable price. Fees are calculated after he has viewed the documents and assessed the issue or issues involved. Most contested document cases are analyzed and have a report completed within a week of him receiving the papers. He provides service across the United States. He quickly responds to calls and emails, so issue or issues will be resolved in a timely manner. Please contact him toll free at (888) 485-0832 or in Oregon at (541) 485-0832 to have an analysis done right away. For more information, please visit

Stein D.,Crime Laboratory | Yu J.C.C.,Sam Houston State University
Journal of Forensic Sciences | Year: 2013

An imaging technique that is capable of reducing glare, reflection, and shadows can greatly assist the process of toolmarks comparison. In this work, a camera with near-infrared (near-IR) photographic capabilities was fitted with an IR filter, mounted to a stereomicroscope, and used to capture images of toolmarks on fired bullets and cartridge cases. Fluorescent, white light-emitting diode (LED), and halogen light sources were compared for use with the camera. Test-fired bullets and cartridge cases from different makes and models of firearms were photographed under either near-IR or visible light. With visual comparisons, near-IR images and visible light images were comparable. The use of near-IR photography did not reveal more details and could not effectively eliminate reflections and glare associated with visible light photography. Near-IR photography showed little advantages in manual examination of fired evidence when it was compared with visible light (regular) photography. © 2013 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

PubMed | Crime Laboratory and University of the Philippines
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Heart Asia | Year: 2016

Sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome (SUNDS) has been linked to the Brugada syndrome. In some places, acute haemorrhagic pancreatitis is widely held to cause it. We conducted a systematic, controlled autopsy study on Filipino SUNDS victims to rule out structural heart findings as well as acute haemorrhagic pancreatitis as causes.A case control autopsy study was conducted comparing SUNDS victims between 18 and 50years of age who died within 1h of symptom onset with age- and gender-matched controls. There were 24 SUNDS (mean age 34.5years) and 24 controls (mean 32.7years). The autopsy incidence of structural heart disease was 8.3% (95% CI (1% to 27%)) and focal pancreatic haemorrhage was 4.17% (95% CI (0.1% to 20%)) but zero for true acute haemorrhagic pancreatitis among SUNDS victims. Autopsy findings in SUNDS versus controls were not significantly different from each other, showing no diagnostic abnormality in any of the organs. There was no significant difference in the incidence of acute haemorrhagic pancreatitis in both the SUNDS and control groups. We did not find fetal dispersion of the atrioventricular (AV) node, sclerosis or fibrosis of the AV conduction system, in a substudy of SUNDS cases.We have shown that there is no significant difference in the overall autopsy findings between SUNDS and controls. Autopsy findings were normal in 70% of SUNDS; no cardiac structural pathology was found in 87% of cases. Haemorrhagic pancreatitis is the cause of death in a minority of SUNDS. The cardiac conduction system is normal in a subgroup of SUNDS studied.

Cowan J.M.,Breath Alcohol Laboratory | Burris J.M.,Crime Laboratory | Hughes J.R.,Breath Alcohol Laboratory | Cunningham M.P.,Breath Alcohol Laboratory
Journal of Analytical Toxicology | Year: 2010

The relationship between normal body temperature, end-expired breath temperature, and blood alcohol concentration (BAC)/breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) ratio was studied in 98 subjects (84 men, 14 women). Subjects consumed alcohol sufficient to produce a BrAC of at least 0.06 g/210 L 45-75 min after drinking. Breath samples were analyzed using an Intoxilyzer 8000 specially equipped to measure breath temperature. Venous blood samples and body temperatures were then taken. The mean body temperature of the men (36.6°C) was lower than the women (37.0°C); however, their mean breath temperatures were virtually identical (men: 34.5°C; women: 34.6°C). The BAC exceeded the BrAC for every subject. BAC/BrAC ratios were calculated from the BAC and BrAC analytical results. There was no difference in the BAC/BrAC ratios for men (1:2379) and women (1:2385). The correlation between BAC and BrAC was high (r = 0.938, p < 0.0001), whereas the correlations between body temperature and end-expired breath temperature, body temperature and BAC/BrAC ratio, and breath temperature and BAC/BrAC ratio were much lower. Neither normal body temperature nor end-expired breath temperature was strongly associated with BAC/BrAC ratio.

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