Criminal Case Research

Evidence for a criminal matter must be protected and handled with the highest priority at all times.  Any carelessness could bring into question whether or not due care was practiced in preserving the evidence or securing the chain of custody.  In Commonwealth of Virginia vs. Honaker, Edward Honaker was convicted of rape, sodomy, and sexual assault charges.  He was sentenced to three life terms plus thirty-four years.  He served a total of ten years before receiving a pardon from the governor and exonerating him from the crimes.
The evidence used to convict Edward Honaker is questionable at best.  Physical evidence such as a semen stain on the victims shorts, vaginal and oral swabs, hair analysis, and a semen sample were collected.  These collections were made at a hospital and retrieved by using a physical evidence recovery kit, or PERK kit.  It became obvious during the trial that exculpatory evidence was withheld from the defense.  Witnesses for the prosecution were alleged to have been hypnotized in order to improve their testimony on the stand.  Honaker provided the Commonwealth of Virginia with blood, hair, and semen samples, however the semen sample was not able to be used since the defendant had undergone a vasectomy years prior to the alleged crime.  He was unable to produce sperm.  This key note was not divulged to the prosecutors criminalist before or during the trial.  Although latent evidence, evidence not visible to the naked eye, was a critical factor in this case, visible evidence was also used.  Witnesses identified Honaker out of a police lineup as did the victim in court.  It should also be noted that Honaker had an alibi and several witnesses placing him in another location at the time of the crime (1996).
As soon as evidence is collected, it must be given top priority care.  The evidence collected in this matter was protected at the Department of Forensic Science, DFS, which maintains a library of DNA evidence collected.  The evidence contained in the PERK kit was obtained by a forensic nurse.  Chain of custody is validated via certificate.  In the supporting case of Anderson vs. Commonwealth of Virginia, the preservation of evidence was brought into question.  In the courts opinion, Charles Friend said, an authenticated certificate of analysis creates a prima facie inference that DFS maintained a proper chain of custody at all times while the samples were in the laboratory (1993).  The Commonwealth of Virginia did preserve and give proper care to all evidence, but it was erroneous in the aspect of reviewing the evidence before rushing to trial.  The methods of collection and storage are to be commended.  The use of available information from witnesses, lab results, and communications of evidence are deplorable.
Edward Honaker was pardoned after serving ten years in prison.  During the time of his trial and conviction, the law provided that new evidence could only be submitted within a twenty-one day period post trial.  He was forced to seek help from an outside innocence project in order to request a pardon from the governor.  The only question concerning chain of custody involves the defendants inability to produce sperm. Blacks Law Dictionary terms prima facie evidence as being evidence that will sustain a fact or judgment (2001).  This fact alone brings the entire case under tremendous scrutiny since the conviction was secured on evidence not belonging to the defendant.
The legal system is far from perfect, but certain criteria and protocol must be adhered to in order to preserve the integrity of the judicial system.  Evidence collected must be treated with top level priority since it could be called upon at any time.  Defendants must be assured that their samples are protected on some level.  Not all evidence is visible with the naked eye.  Special forensic laboratories are utilized to search and find minute evidence that may solve crimes, secure convictions, and identify missing persons.  Receipts for receiving and transferring evidence are crucial.  The chain of custody in all matters is pertinent.

Microscopy Is it Human or Animal

The field of forensic science can be an exciting and challenging realm of investigation. Every fiber of existence can be meticulously broken down into the most minute molecules and still be identifiable.  Human and animal hairs are no different in the forensic science community.  Hairs are often found within crime scenes and require determination as to whether they are of human or animal origin.  The following is a list of results determined after carefully calculating the images of fifteen specimens given for analysis.
Specimen 1 is of an animal origin most likely belonging to a deer.  This result was determined due to the lattice shape of the hair vortex.  Specimen 2 is also of an animal origin.  It belongs to a bat because of the crown scale patterns (Deedrick  Koch, 2004). Specimen 3 was concluded to belong to that of a Caucasian human due to the pigment facing towards the cuticle. Specimen 4 is also a human hair with regard to pigment distribution.  Specimen 5 is a human hair that shows the different pattern of appearance with regard to coloring.  Specimen 6 is a human hair that has been artificially colored.  Specimen 7 was elected to be a human hair based on the scale patterns. Specimen 8 was viewed for the petal scales and proved to be an animal hair belonging to a mink. Specimen 9 is a human hair with different shades and hues, while specimen 10 is an animal hair with different shading and hues (2004).  Specimen 11 is the cross section of several human hairs.  Specimen 12 is an animal hair identifiable to a cow, and Specimen 13 is an animal hair specific to a dog.  Both of these specimens illustrate a difference in appearance with regard to coloring.  Specimen 14 is an animal rabbit hair confirming a multiserial ladder contusion.  Finally, Specimen 15 is a human hair exhibiting various scale patterns.  Developing a true understanding for trace evidence in the field of forensic science is crucial since every piece of evidence starts out as a mystery.

Peacemaking Criminology

Peacemaking criminology is a vital tool in realizing the peaceful resolution of law violations and criminal behaviors in tie society. There are a number of methods which have been successfully used to realize peacemaking criminology.

The first method is the use of awareness creation in the society. The aim of creating awareness to the general public on the need or upholding the law is to prevent the occurrence of crimes in the society. This also improves the frequency of criminal reporting by the general public to law enforces.

Also employed is the method of rehabilitation and arbitration rather than punishment in addressing criminal issues in the society. It is to be understood here that the aim of this method is to ensure the sustainable re-fitting of criminals in the society. This method leads to long term resolving of criminal acts in the society.

Another method is the employment of community policing. It is to be realized here that it is the community members who best know the criminals in the society. Therefore by engaging in community policing, the law enforcers have increased chances of reducing discriminative conviction in the society thus realizing successful employing of peacemaking criminology.

Peaceful responding to criminal acts is still an applicable method of realizing peacemaking criminology in the society. It has been evidently established that the escalation of criminal acts in the society is mainly due to revenge mentality by the members of the community. This makes peaceful responding to crime crucial as it encourages understanding among the different stakeholders in the society thus instilling some sense of fair and just treatment of the criminals thus reducing chances of revenge acts.

Race Young People and the Judicial System

Youth Deviance
It is thought that deviant behavior exhibited in youth is the result of chemically based body changes in the transition from child to adulthood.  During this transition, there is a period of continual fluctuation that occurs rendering the youth helpless to control his or hers emotions.

Youth is a term that came into existence in the involvement of the concept of adolescence which came to be known at the end of the 18th century.   Arnett (2006) advises that G. Steven Halls theory on adolescence details the relationship of the biological and chemical changes.  These are
Unbridled sexuality
Rejection of parents and teachers
Lack of concentration
Extremes of emotion and violence

It further expresses that deviant behavior is based on a pathological disease.

Social outlooks tend to label the behavior negatively.  It is argued that while social encounters of confinement within the family home or in a school classroom exacerbate the deviance, the condition is simply that of growing up.  It is natural and all humans go through this process.

Buehler (2006) advises that the transition youth goes through should be a time for parents to recognize the changes in cognitive growth.  Parents should according to the behavior exhibited, grasp the opportunity to restructure and redefine the parent and adolescent relationship.  Parents who instead react with hostility to the behavior will result in increased hostility of the adolescent, thus resulting in a home environment with a conflict pattern.

This pattern is a vicious cycle and soon spills over into the youths social interactions, such as at school.  In essence we all go through this psychological growth spurt and depending on other environmental factors and their impact, for example at home, or at school will determine how each individual reacts to and handles the psychological pressure.  This leads us to the interactions of youth going through this transition and that of societys reaction.

Deviant behavior typically escalates with youth running away from home.  This is their way to show that they do not accept being treated as a child.  It is the way to gain freedom and at the same time make a statement.  Once a child runs away from home many situations will depict the severity of the deviance.  Most will seek to stay with relatives, or friends.  However, many will end up on the streets, and the longer they remain there, will generally end up being victimized.  

They will be approached by deviant peers who work for adults who are involved in criminal activities.  These consist of the drug trade and sexual exploitation of minors.  The adolescent who has run away from what they deemed an unhappy environment, have now been introduced to an environment that is devoid of any caring and is very dangerous.

Youth Justice System
Jerrom (2008) tells us that in the 1990s there was a huge increase of children who became active in the Justice System.  In 1998, redirection was given to the system and the Crime and Disorder Act was enacted, hence the birth of the Youth Justice System.  It underwent a lot of scrutiny from parents and legal departments alike while it was becoming established.  It has a board of 12 members, who answer to the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Children.

There was a dire need for adolescents to have their own judicial system.  The adult facilities were just as bad as the environment on the streets.  Although with the positive side of the youth judicial system we have been able to keep our youth out of adult facilities, there is still a problem concerning the detention centers.  Unfortunately the detention centers that youth are sent to by the youth judicial system are not as safe as they could be.

Kristof (2010) explains that Our current juvenile justice system often dispatches children to detention centers with virtually no protection but their own defenses.  There is much work needed to protect youth.  Detention centers basically do not have guards, and without anyone guarding their safety, youths are at risk becoming easy targets for being raped and victimized.   This defeats the reality of rehabilitation.  To counter victimization, health professionals have been brought in to detect and recognize the potential abusers in the system in an effort to shield youths and to build trust for them in the system.  In this manner youth are more open and accepting of treatment in retaining their youthful resilience to become redirected.  They can then resist negative peer pressure, and develop a positive sense of their own potential and future.

Philosophies are the key to youth development several basic philosophies underlie the youth development perspective.  These philosophies are important for healthy development.  This means taking into accordance environmental factors such as home, and community.  Keeping youth actively involved in activities that promote positive mental and physical growth.

Psychologists take a look at historical data in regard to child development.  It helps them to define the childs role within the home environment.  It also factors in possible dysfunction that may have thrived in the household setting that may have exacerbated the deviance that would be seen during the transition from adolescence to adulthood.  Theories are the foundation from which philosophies are born.  Child development begins at birth.  There has been much research on the aspects of birth order in light of child development.  Every child born into a family will either be an only child, first born, middle, or last.  Some researchers view the order as only child, first born, second child, middle, and last.  The birth of each child impacts and changes the family environment.  Alfred Adler (2005) recognized that It alters the interactions, roles, and responsibilities of each family member.

With regard to chronological birth order, family life situations will bear influence on the childs perception.  This is when the psychological birth order is created by the child.  The child will actually look at and evaluate his or hers current birth order within the family unit, and make a decision on whether they are satisfied with the position they hold.

In evaluating each of the other siblings, the child will then position himself uniquely by exhibiting a pattern of behavior in order to become the focus of the parents and to stand out within the family structure.  This is the creation of the psychological birth order.

The sex of a child also plays an important role as the child will identify his sex role by comparing himself to someone in the family.  The reason for this is that children are treated certain ways by their parents in accordance to their sex which relates to the expectations the parents have.  This is important to a child in regard to the implemented reinforce and reward system established pertinent to sex by the parents.

Other factors that impact how a child perceives their role in the family setting is how close or far they are separated by birth from other siblings.  Children that are born fairly close to each other will bond and play together well.  Children further spaced apart let us say (e.g. five years) or more, will be less prone to be effected by birth order influences.  Also the gender has an impact in family structure.  If there are four boys or four girls, the structure would differ in regard to a childs perception.  Then again if there were two boys and two girls, such a grouping as this would define how the siblings would group together on interacting.

Adler (2005) makes emphasis on the point that the important factor is not that of the chronological birth order, but of the psychological birth order perceived by the child himself.  Parents must focus on their children and evaluate them as they perceive themselves to be.  This will be demonstrated by their actions. In paying attentions to our childrens actions we will be able to determine if we by some unexplained reason are not providing enough attention or showing enough signs of love to our offspring.  We must by all measures of awareness make sure to give equal attention and love to all of our children.

Research in that area is greatly needed to round out the research that has gone before it.  To know how a child would perceive or if a psychological birth order would even be created if no difference in treatment from parents was detected by siblings.  It has been determined that the psychological position that a child places himself into will play a significant role in the development of a childs lifestyle.

Although it has been believed that the birth order has a direct impact on a childs personality, Dr. Sarah Mendlowitz (2009) says birth order only accounts for about 5 percent of personality characteristics.
The birth order characteristics define that the oldest child or first born has feelings of responsibility for younger siblings and takes on leadership qualities while gaining control.  This may help them to build confidence, and maturity.  They are typically achievement driven, and are great at planning.  Unfortunately these qualities may manifest too early as a consequence of having siblings too early and may be placing them in positions not necessarily healthy. This could have the world view them as bossy, spoiled, and even lonely individuals.

The middle child is just that, stuck in the middle, between the oldest and youngest.  Even though they may exhibit rebellious behavior in growing up from time to time, to mark their position in the family setting, they more than likely will grow up as peacemakers, with friendly and compliant affects.

The youngest child generally gets all of the focus on every little thing.  They are the life of the party, yet they can also be the show stopper when it comes to attention seeking and immaturity.  The middle child is stuck between the extremes of the leader and the life of the party.  Evaluating his psychological order and deciding what position he will put himself into could very well fall along the lines of being that of an unruly child in early years and peacemaker in later years.

Many theorists and researchers agree that birth order in itself has little to do in regard to personality itself, as factors surrounding the childs own perception as to what position he deems himself to be in (psychological birth order) and his family environment along with social expectations must be taken in to account in the development of the personality overall.

Race Effects
Research has shown that race or ethnicity does play a role in the number of youth who show severe deviant behavior.  African Americans have a higher percentage of exhibiting deviant behavior.  Minority children are twice as likely as White children to experience poverty and the risk factors associated with poverty. Research has also shown that minority children both African American and Hispanic have a deep sense of family loyalty particularly between parent and child.  They are more attentive and reliant on the support of families than White adolescents are.

Yet even with the research results, there are a higher percentage of minorities in the Youth Judicial System than Whites.  With African Americans having the highest number and the most violent exhibition of behaviors.  New research is being conducted in social schemas related to community, and social impacts as well as how big a role poverty plays in the home and community environments of minorities.

HAMAS Similarities and Difference to Ordinary Criminal Groups

Although crime and terrorism both have no universally accepted definition, many scholars and even governments around the world believe that organized crime groups aim for economic gains and benefits while terrorist organizations aspire to accumulate political power and political influence in a given society. However, their main tactic is deemed similar in such a way that they utilize force and inflict violence and coercion upon achieving their goals and wants.

The main thrust of this essay is to examine a famed terrorist group in the Middle East known as HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement) and determine their motivations and how can this knowledge help in curbing this type of dangerous organization. Furthermore, this essay will tackle the differences and similarities of this organization to other criminal groups and how can political, economic and socio-cultural factors motivate people to become a member of this type of organizations.

HAMAS and its Objectives
HAMAS or Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya, pertains to an Arabic word, meaning enthusiasm, fire, ardor, fervor, zeal, fanaticism. They generally comprise of Palestinian extremists and revolutionaries whose main motive is to overthrow Israeli government. The acronym first appeared in 1987 in a leaflet that accused the Israeli intelligence services of jeopardizing the moral character of the Palestinian youth. HAMAS believes and operates through Islamic fundamentalism and Palestinian patriotism. The groups primary goal is the destruction of Israel since they claimed that Israel is historically their territory which was primarily stolen from them decades ago. Their use of violence was primarily seen in the punishment of people working for the Israeli government, attacking Israeli soldiers and making them their primary targets and later on, causing harm to civilians in general causing death and anger among the international community.

The group generally receives financial support form wealthy Palestinians and Iranian expatriates, private donors from Saudi Arabia and other neighboring Arab countries and private organizations who believe in their ultimate agenda. This aid is used to fund their arms struggle.

Counter-terrorism Measures
As a response to this ongoing strife against Israel and Palestine, the United States of America, along with other allied countries like United Kingdom, stepped into the scene to put a stop to this seemingly unending ideological, military and political battle. Led by former President George W. Bush , the War of Terrorism was launched. It aimed to eliminate those organizations like HAMAS which are deemed operating through terroristic means, causing extensive harm to the people, to the society and disturbing peace among the international community. However, in status quo, this measure of all out war was already ceased to continue by the Obama Administration.

Furthermore, the United Nations also supported this campaign of waging war against Islamic terrorism. This international body wanted an efficient tactic of counter-attacking these terrorist organizations hence they provided sanctions to those countries that would provide or smuggle weapons of mass destructions to these extremists. They also called for the cooperation among the Middle East region to extend help through cross-country intelligence upon tracking down and curbing this types of organization, including HAMAS.
According to the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, this is a viable means of cutting off and also disrupting funds for the terrorist organizations to deter them from operating.

Difference and Similarities to Other Criminal Groups
As pointed by Kostakos in his article, both terrorist organization and organized criminal groups operate outside the realm of law. As was stated earlier, both utilize force, violence and coercion upon meeting their goals and wants in the society. An interesting hypothesis was also presented in such a way that these organizations are also led by rational actors who want the group to survive given the changes that the society may experience. Indeed, as observed in our modern times, these terroristic organizations and criminal groups also aimed for survivability in such a way that their beliefs and gains may still be achievable despite societal evolution.

Examining closely, the terrorist organization and organized crime groups differ in the goals that they want to achieve. Criminal groups primary objective is economic profitability and just wants minor changes in the society. Others just solely wanted to create disturbance among a particular community or inflict havoc to get peoples attention. However, for terrorist organizations like HAMAS, their main purpose of their existence is to gain political control and political influence within specific territories or boundaries. Their scope is broader compared to that of criminal groups since they aspire in creating a major change in the society like overthrowing a current Chief-of-State or a President. Generally, what they want is a drastic change thats why they make use of force and violence to get everyones attention, especially the government, and eventually give in to their wants. Importantly, these types of organizations have their own ideologies and beliefs which are handed down from generation to generation.

Importance of Economical, Political and Socio-Cultural Orientations
For most terrorist organizations, they recruit and convince people to join the organization through indoctrinating and brainwashing them to get enlisted and fight for the same cause. Magstadt argues that these terrorist organizations generally operate in Third World countries wherein poverty and inequality is predominant in the society. Generally, the leaders target the families along with its members who mostly feel left behind the government since no ample support and care was given to them. Accordingly, they want people to abhor the government for forsaking them thats why they need to be recognized for their sentiments to be heard and be given solution. Upon promoting such agenda, people are then encouraged to join since they would feel that they found an ally in the guise of these organizations.

As for HAMAS, or any other Islamic Movements, socio-cultural, political and economic factors are the major reason while many teenagers, may it be boys or girls, want to join the organization. Again, indoctrination played great role for honing these young adults mind and decisions. As for them, they primarily grew up and was raised in war-torn communities where poverty and social injustice is common everywhere. Terrorist organizations primarily target the vulnerability of teenagers to aim for a better society and better future ahead of them. Indeed, this tactic has been proven convenient for most terrorist organizations since in status quo, we frequently observe and see teenagers prematurely becoming soldiers or even suicide bombers.

Physical Security Methods

Security and clear logistics on the flow of personnel and vehicles or even animals is very crucial for data recording and keeping which can be used for research studies. The need to keep order at the same time security monitoring for purposes of protecting the interests of individual or firms investment or for safety of the public necessitates the need for such technology in effective barriers.  It is therefore pertinent that places like banks, busy highways, large companies and airports be equipped with these gadgets.

There are many types of devices used to prevent the three ways of access into an institution, starting from forced, accidental, or stealth entries. They include barriers, doors, turnstiles, closed circuit television (CCTV), detectors, electric locks and optical and card detectors. In this paper, the focus lies on discussing vehicle pop up barrier and internal turnstile types of barriers used in my former work of place, an airport.

The vehicle pop up barrier was used at the entry on the airport. The use of pop up metal plates was meant to control the direction and flow of vehicles moving in and out of the airport. This barrier was accompanied by guards, sensors and detectors for illegal goods like drugs. Controlling the flow of traffic in the airport was very important to avoid any confusion or any collision and again to ensure safety especially from international terrorist attacks. The vehicle pop up barrier was positioned at the entry and the exit of the airport and at the parking lot thus very important during emergencies like fire, bombing, terrorist attack or even when very important persons were present like the president.

The other device is the internal turnstile located inside the building. This is a barrier that was used to control the flow of passengers in a profiling manner past the security and checkpoint for airlines safety. The idea was to prohibit two or more persons passing the security points under one scrutiny which can confuse and at the same time let in terrorists or allow entry of illegal goods.

The internal turnstiles barriers are of different categories which include the optical, the full height and the waist high types. The turnstile at this point was preceded by manual checking by the guards and other x-ray scanning or computed tomography scans that identify passengers and luggage in accordance to the standard rules and ethic of safety. Once the passengers are cleared the luggage is taken to the luggage compartment of the plane and they board the plane after all other tests are done and are issued with the ticket. If there is an attempt of people to file past the turnstile without authority the alarm goes off thus triggering close check and response. On the other hand, the turnstile is useful in letting the security department keep a watchful eye of every personnel or passenger into boarding or leaving the airline.

The concept of time wasting is reduced by allowing multiple turnstiles operating in the security lounge. This was very effective in regulating the number of people being given services and saving time while at the same time delivering quality services. The use of internal turnstile in buildings can be improved effectively by introduction of mantraps and combination of security cameras. On the other had, the vehicle pop up barrier works well with a combination of a security package of card reader, guards and security cameras. These are the options that when added to the two primary options above make the working effective, easier and safer.

To start with, the card and proximity vehicle control involves the installation of bar codes that are read by a code reader situated in the vicinity thus allowing the entry of authorized vehicles. This can be very tedious in the airport as private cars have to first be fitted with such equipments before entry which is time wasting and energy consuming. It is therefore advisable if the airport has authorized cars that bridge the passengers from their cars to the airport thus ensuring tight security. The combination of these two barrier techniques plus the introduction of security cameras, guards and special unit agents like dogs for anti drugs should form the daily routines of  an airport car entry and exit check points for effective safety.

The use of mantrap in heavy financial dealing activities are in modern times applying this concept of ensuring safety and as a way of fighting robbery. The mantrap involves an exterior and an interior door. The mechanism of the two doors works in such a way that when the first door opens during entry it locks the interior door a position which allows only one person. At the same time, the security detail is able to verify the safety of the client by conducting scans and determining whether the clientele has weapons or possess a character that is dubious and that raises suspicion. After the checks are over, the person proceeds depending on the result, either allowed to proceed or taken to other compartments for further checking and analysis.

The mantrap system is a combination of controlled doors that open and closes antagonistically with the presence of a sensor or detector with the turnstile allowing only one person. This allows an easier way of scrutinizing the person before the services are offered. When the mantrap is combined with turnstile the results are effective as the profiling of the individuals is easy and gives the exact desired results. When exiting the hall, there are no metal detectors, a process where the doors work in the opposite mechanism to the entry doors.

To make it even more efficient new technological inventions are combining the mantrap with turnstile plus personal identification number and biometric strategies that exclude outsiders giving them a temporary access to the firm.

The working of these instruments of technology in human situations raises questions of ethics, equality, fairness and life care situations, which if they miss in this work automatically warrants criticism. It is from this position that the Fire Exits and Americans with Disability Act (ADA) rules comes into force. In accordance to these rules, the eventual goal is to make sure that no life is at stake in case of any accidents concerning the operation of working places. Thus, they stipulate that during emergencies, the staircase, passage ways and building connectors should not be difficult to locate and open. They should be planed with minimal materials exhibiting a smooth surface. More so the fasteners should not be locked from inside and should close right away after opening and finally be made up of fire proof materials.

In addition, the fire code lays down more information catering for the blind, hearing and sight impaired and the physically weak. Outlined in these rules, the implication is that blind people must be cared for by installing devices that lead them upon touching one where to proceed. Those with hearing difficulties should be catered for by use of signs if they can be able to read, or the presence of sign language instructors in combination with the right colors and size of signs and notices. For the physically weak, specially designed passageways with ample space and at the same time with easy to open locks is a prerequisite for their safety (United States Access Board, nd).

With the vehicle pop up barrier usually at entry points or at designated parking lots there is need for signs with the right color, size and correct information incase of emergency like car bombing, armed robbery or fire emergency. The internal turnstile in building should have egress buttons allowing movement where on normal situations would be out of bounds. In addition, there needs to be clear signs on where to exit incase of emergencies and the doors as well as the latches should be made of light materials and doors should not open with accompaniment from neighboring doors.