Tag Archive for: forensic terminology

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so this is me with too much time on my hands.

Forensic Terminology

External Ballistics – characteristics and behavior of a bullet after it leaves the muzzle of a firearm, but before it strikes an object/its target.

External Ballistics











Jacketed bullets – lead bullets that are encased either partially or completely in copper or a similar alloy. The term “full metal jacket” refers to complete jacketing of a bullet.

Jacketed bullets











Negative Impression – Impression evidence created when contact between two objects results in the removal of material where the contact took place.
A handprint impression made in wet beach sand is a positive impression. A handprint, however, made on a freshly-painted surface is a Negative Impression because the hand removed paint to create the impression.

Negative Impression











Cast-off – occurs when an object is swung in an arc, tossing blood onto nearby surfaces. For example, when a killer swings a bloodstained hammer back and forth above his head while delivering blow after blow to the body of his victim. The blood sent airborne as a result of the hammer’s motion is “Cast-off.”












Barefoot Morphology Comparison – A forensic application that uses the impressions of the weight-bearing areas of footprints left at crime scenes to include or exclude suspects in an investigation.

Barefoot Morphology Comparison














Forensic Musicologist – experts in music theory who compare pieces of music to determine if something is a copy.
For example, a court determined that former Beatle George Harrison was liable of subconscious (unintentional) plagiarism for the song “My Sweet Lord.” The decision was a no-brainer because the tune was practically a note-for-note copy of the 1962 hit “He’s So Fine” by The Chiffons. Forensic musicologists were called upon to examine and compare the two songs for similarities.
Forensic musicology also helped determine that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams plagiarized Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up” when they wrote and recorded “Blurred Lines.” The court awarded a hefty sum of over $7 million in damages to be paid by Thicke and Williams to the heirs of Marvin Gaye.

Forensic Musicologist











Equivocal Death – “Situations in which the manner of death (i.e. accidental, natural causes, suicide, and homicide) is uncertain or not immediately clear” ~ Knoll 2008
Psychological autopsy, analyzing the psychosocial aspects of a victim’s life leading up to and at the time of their death, can be extremely helpful in equivocal death investigations.

Equivocal Death













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