Criminalistics Section – January 2016

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.

Source:  John J. Lentini, BA, Section Chair

If you have not yet registered for the 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting, you should do so today. The pre-registration deadline is January 27. Forms must be received by this date to qualify for the pre-registration rate and to register for Special Functions (workshops, breakfast seminars, luncheons, and special sessions).

Criminalistics Program Chair Vinny Desiderio and Co-Chair Kristy Kadash have put together an excellent program that is sure to stimulate your criminalistics mind, whatever your discipline might be. There were 216 papers accepted for presentation; more than half of those will be oral presentations. The Advance Program is available on the Academy website:

Some of the best programs will be presented on Saturday morning so be sure to plan your return trip for no sooner than Saturday afternoon.

Speakers are reminded that the Academy meeting always takes place in February and weather can be a possible issue, so please give yourself some extra time for bad weather when planning your arrival. Program Chairs really hate no-shows.

There will be four panels of invited speakers this year that you won’t want to miss. The scientific program starts out Thursday morning with a review of the year in Criminalistics. Mark Stolorow and John Paul Jones will be reporting on the progress of the National Institute of Standards and Technology/Organization of Scientific Area Committees (NIST/OSAC) committees, which will be impacting our profession long into the future.

In keeping with President Weedn’s theme Transformation: Embracing Change, Thursday afternoon features a session entitled “The Trials and Troubles of Transitioning New Technology Into the Forensic Laboratory.”

On Friday morning, there will be a two-hour town hall meeting on DNA mixture interpretation. This is a subject which has been making headlines and, as is usually the case with headlines about forensic science, not happy ones. Bring your mixture questions to this session and one of our distinguished panel of experts will try to provide some guidance.

On Friday afternoon, there will be a session discussing interpretation challenges in the non-biological criminalistics disciplines. This session will focus on accurately reporting the significance of associative evidence.

On a lighter note, this year’s program features a Criminalistics “Believe It or Not” session on Friday night, which is an outgrowth of last year’s “You Got DNA From What?” Session. This will be an entertaining “Bring Your Own Slides” format, but be sure to register ahead of time. You can contact Vinny at (I know, it’s spelled wrong — someone else got vforensic.) or Kristy at Let them know your subject and how much time you will need.

We will be conducting the section luncheon a little differently this year. In order to avoid throwing away a lot of expensive food, members who wish to be served lunch prior to the section business meeting must register by selecting this option on the AAFS registration form. The charge of $10 does not come close to covering the cost of the meal (most sections charge $55), but the section leadership feels that it is important that members have a little skin in the game, both to conserve our section’s limited resources and to avoid the waste that has happened in previous years. Besides, where else are you going to find a ten-dollar lunch?

Make your reservations today for both travel and lodging. The hotel is filling up fast. This promises to be the best Academy meeting of your life, so don’t miss it.