Why do Many Victims of Domestic Violence Lose the Courts?

, , , , | 12/08/2023

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Forensic Insights: Understanding the Complexities of Blood Stain Analysis in Domestic Violence Trials

Written by Maria Morgunova

In our mission to support victims of domestic violence and help them navigate the legal system, we recognize the importance of understanding the complexities surrounding the analysis of blood stains as evidence. Joining forces with leading forensic experts and Investigation Hotline, we empower victims by offering guidance on gathering solid evidence and seeking the justice they deserve. By highlighting crucial details beyond blood stains, we aim to address the challenges faced by victims in court.

Investigation-Hotline-Private-Investigator-Toronto-OJSimpson-ReutersOne prominent case that sheds light on the unreliability of blood stains as evidence is The People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson. This high-profile trial involved O.J. Simpson, a former NFL player and actor, who was tried and ultimately acquitted for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

Dr. Lee, the laboratory director for Connecticut State Police forensic laboratory, played a pivotal role in this trial as an independent expert witness for both the Prosecution and Defense. His testimony cast doubt on the handling of evidence by the LAPD, particularly focusing on the analysis of bloodstain patterns. Here are key questions and answers from Dr. Lee’s testimony that provide insights into the case.

By sharing this information, we aim to shed light on the complexities of bloodstain analysis and its impact on domestic violence cases, empowering victims to pursue justice with a broader perspective.

Lee was asked to explain how blood comes out of the body.

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He described the closed circulatory system and how blood is carried through the body to support its functions. Once this system is interrupted, blood is released. The type of blood flow varies depending on the part of the body affected. For example, if an artery is cut, blood will gush out in what is known as arterial spurting or arterial gushing. If a vein is cut, blood will rush out, and if a capillary is cut, blood will drip out. Once blood is outside the body, it cannot be taken back or controlled. It will deposit on the nearest surface based on gravity and environmental factors.

What do blood stains mean to forensic experts?

Dr. Lee discussed how blood patterns are interpreted by forensic experts. He explained that when blood

drips without any force, it forms certain patterns known as low-velocity blood drops. To demonstrate this, Dr. Lee dropped red ink directly down onto a piece of paper using an eyedropper, making a perpendicular drop at a ninety-degree angle.

If one were to measure the diameter of those drops, could this be correlated with the source of it to the target?

Featured-Articles-What-do-blood-stains-mean-to-forensic-experts-500px-wide-Images-Investigation-Hotline-Private-Investigator-TorontoDr. Lee explained that experts can estimate the source of blood by considering various factors such as the substrate (e.g., paper, carpet, wood) and the size of the blood drops. While some correlation can be made, an exact determination of the height or distance from the source is not always possible. Documenting the size of drops is important for determining the impact angle based on the width and length of the bloodstain pattern.

What is transferred blood stain?

Dr. Lee discussed a blood stain found inside a paper bag, which is referred to as a transferred stain. He explained that these stains occur when wet blood comes into contact with a surface, such as a paper bag, during the time of collection. Dr. Lee expressed his own procedure of not placing wet objects into paper bags to avoid potential transfer and alteration of the bloodstain pattern. He emphasized that cross-contamination can occur when different types of blood mix or when evidence is mishandled.

What is cross-contamination of evidence?

Featured-Articles-cross-contamination-of-evidence-500px-wide-Images-Investigation-Hotline-Private-Investigator-TorontoDr. Lee described cross-contamination as a situation in which different pieces of evidence come into contact with each other, potentially leading to the mixing of blood or other materials. He highlighted an example involving socks found together in a single bag and envelope, which demonstrated cross-contamination. Dr. Lee pointed out that mishandling and cross-contamination of evidence raise concerns about the integrity and reliability of forensic procedures conducted by the LAPD.

Whether it is reasonable to conclude that someone cannot be involved in a crime with bloodshed simply because they do not have blood on them or their clothing?

Lee responded by stating that it depends on the specific situation. He used examples, such as beating up a rabbit versus a human or firing a gunshot from a distance versus at close range, to illustrate that the presence or absence of blood on a person or their clothing does not necessarily determine their involvement in a crime. Dr. Lee emphasized that circumstances play a significant role, and definitive statements cannot always be made.
However, if a person were to place a gun next to someone’s head and fire a shot, effectively blocking the back spatter, Dr. Lee stated that he would expect to find some blood spatter. Dr. Lee concluded by mentioning that he cannot make a definitive statement in certain situations, as correctness may differ in other scenarios.

Is the absence of blood on a person enough to conclude non-participation in a crime? What does Forensic Science Literature Say?

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Dr. Lee confirmed that the absence of blood on a person alone is not sufficient to conclude their non-participation in a crime. He explained that in cases involving shooting from a distance, it is not expected to find the same amount of blood on a suspect with a long gun as on the victim.

Lee was asked his opinion about whether an assailant or assailants would be covered in blood from a struggle in a closed environment involving hand-to-hand combat, multiple stab wounds, and blood stains indicating multiple contact smears.

Dr. Lee responded that in theory, there should be some presence of blood on the assailant(s) in a closed environment in such a scenario. He further explained that the amount of blood on the assailant(s) would depend on their position during the struggle. If there was a distance between the individuals involved, the chances of getting blood on the suspect would be lower, unless there was forceful spurting or certain internal or external forces. However, if there was close contact and a significant amount of blood was released, then it is likely that more blood would be present on the assailant(s).

If the attacker hit the victim on the head with a brick, will there be much blood?

Featured-Articles-If-the-attacker-hit-the-victim-on-the-head-with-a-brick,-will-there-be-much-blood-500px-wide-Images-Investigation-Hotline-Private-Investigator-TorontoIn the case of People versus Hoe Linger, a well-known 1984 case where a husband allegedly beat his wife to death with a brick, this question was posed to Dr. Lee. He confirmed that such an assault would indeed produce a significant amount of blood, shedding light on the brutality of the crime.
Dr. Lee further explained that in this case the body was carried to a location at the end of the driveway, then dragged into a pack of Sandril near the neighbor’s house, and finally half carried and half dragged back into the family room where it was placed on the sofa.

Were there only two drops of blood on the suspect’s jeans considered as a piece of evidence?

Dr. Lee confirmed that there were only two drops of blood on the suspect’s jeans, acknowledging that while he presented the blue jeans as evidence worn by the husband at the time of the murder, he lacked definitive records to confirm their authenticity. Additionally, he mentioned the discovery of a washed T-shirt in the pond, further highlighting potential discrepancies in the evidence.

Would there be a significant amount of blood if the attacker hit the victim with a knife?

Featured-Articles-Would-there-be-a-significant-amount-of-blood-if-the-attacker-hit-the-victim-with-a-knife-500px-wide-Images-Investigation-Hotline-Private-Investigator-TorontoMoving on, Dr. Lee was also asked about a scenario involving someone wrapping their hand around another person’s throat and slitting it, resulting in blood spurting forward. In response, Dr. Lee stated that he would not expect the assailant to be extensively covered in blood in such a case.

Dr. Lee’s testimony and expertise created a reasonable doubt about the integrity of the forensic evidence, which was crucial for the defense in building their case. While Dr. Lee’s involvement did not directly result in O.J. Simpson’s acquittal, his testimony played a role in creating scepticism about the prosecution’s evidence and contributed to the defense strategy. Ultimately, the jury found O.J. Simpson not guilty of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

It’s crucial to gather as much evidence as possible to strengthen your case.

In the legal system, the presence of blood stains on a suspect’s clothes doesn’t automatically mean guilt. The burden of proof to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt lies with the prosecution. Blood stains alone are insufficient to determine guilt.

After domestic violence incidents, victims often overlook crucial details due to shock and stress. They may not seek medical attention for visible injuries or recognize the significance of damaged clothing or objects used during the altercation. Every detail, no matter how small, can be decisive in litigation.

In toxic relationships, intimidation can escalate to assault, leaving victims in traumatized and potentially suffering from PTSD. Gathering evidence in these cases can be challenging.

At the same time, the police may not always arrive immediately due to their workload. Evidence collection and storage can be mishandled, leading to potential trial losses for victims and freedom for abusers.

Investigation Hotline is here to help! Call us today!

If you find yourself trapped in a toxic relationship or experiencing domestic violence, it is crucial to pay attention to warning signs and start collecting evidence. If you are unable to do so, don’t hesitate to reach out to Investigation Hotline at 416.205.9114. Our experienced private investigators, in collaboration with forensic experts, will ensure meticulous analysis and expert guidance throughout your legal journey.

Understanding the complexities of blood stain analysis in domestic violence trials is paramount to achieving justice for victims. By challenging assumptions, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive evidence examination, and highlighting the significance of overlooked details, we strive to create a fairer legal landscape. Together, we can empower victims and strengthen their cases, ensuring that the hidden truths behind domestic violence incidents are unveiled.

 

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If you need any assistance, please don’t hesitate to call us at (416)205-9114.

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