National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10924.
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FORENSIC ANALYSIS WEIGHING BULLET LEAD EVIDENCE

Committee on Scientific Assessment of Bullet Lead Elemental Composition Comparison

Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology

Division of Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10924.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

Support for this study was provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under Contract No. S2N0216700.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number 0-309-09079-2 (Book)

International Standard Book Number 0-309-52756-2 (PDF)

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 2004101584

A limited number of copies of the report are available from the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001.

Additional copies of this report are available from the
National Academies Press,
500 Fifth Street, N.W., Box 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); http://www.nap.edu

Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10924.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10924.
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COMMITTEE ON SCIENTIFIC ASSESSMENT OF BULLET LEAD ELEMENTAL COMPOSITION COMPARISON

KENNETH O. MACFADDEN, Independent Consultant, Chair

A. WELFORD CASTLEMAN, JR.,

The Pennsylvania State University

PETER R. DE FOREST,

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

M. BONNER DENTON,

University of Arizona

CHARLES A. EVANS, JR., Consultant

MICHAEL O. FINKELSTEIN,

Attorney

PAUL C. GIANNELLI,

Case Western Reserve University

ROBERT R. GREENBERG,

National Institute of Standards and Technology

JAMES A. HOLCOMBE,

University of Texas

KAREN KAFADAR,

University of Colorado at Denver

CHARLES J. MCMAHON, JR.,

University of Pennsylvania

STEVEN R. PRESCOTT,

Hercules, Inc.

CLIFFORD SPIEGELMAN,

Texas A&M University

RAYMOND S. VOORHEES,

United States Postal Inspection Service

Staff

JENNIFER J. JACKIW, Program Officer

SYBIL A. PAIGE, Administrative Associate

DAVID C. RASMUSSEN, Program Assistant

DOROTHY ZOLANDZ, Director,

Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology

MICHAEL COHEN, Senior Program Officer,

Committee on National Statistics

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10924.
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BOARD ON CHEMICAL SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY

WILLIAM KLEMPERER,

Harvard University,

Co-Chair

ARNOLD F. STANCELL,

Georgia Institute of Technology,

Co-Chair

DENISE M. BARNES,

Amalan Networks

A. WELFORD CASTLEMAN, JR.,

The Pennsylvania State University

ANDREA W. CHOW,

Caliper Technologies Corp.

THOMAS M. CONNELLY, JR.,

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

MARK E. DAVIS,

California Institute of Technology

JEAN DE GRAEVE,

Institut de Pathologie, Liège, Belgium

JOSEPH M. DESIMONE,

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University

CATHERINE FENSELAU,

University of Maryland

MAURICIO FUTRAN,

Bristol Myers Squibb Company

MARY L. GOOD,

University of Arkansas, Little Rock

LOU ANN HEIMBROOK,

Merck & Co.

NANCY B. JACKSON,

Sandia National Laboratories

MARTHA A. KREBS,

Science Strategies

WILLIAM A. LESTER, JR.,

University of California, Berkeley

GREGORY O. NELSON,

Eastman Chemical Company

ROBERT M. SUSSMAN,

Latham & Watkins

Staff

TINA MASCIANGIOLI, Program Officer

CHRISTOPHER K. MURPHY, Program Officer

SYBIL A. PAIGE, Administrative Associate

DAVID C. RASMUSSEN, Program Assistant

DOROTHY ZOLANDZ, Director

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10924.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10924.
×

Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:


Ramon M. Barnes, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Charles K. Bayne, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Margaret A. Berger, Brooklyn Law School

Steven D. Brown, University of Delaware

Keith Eberhardt, Kraft Foods

Kenneth D. Green, Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Association

Kenneth N. Han, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Brent Hiskey, University of Arizona

Alan Karr, National Institute of Statistical Sciences

Kenneth Kees, ATK

John A. Koropchak, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

Steven R. Moore, ATK

R. David Prengaman, RSR Technologies, Inc.

Walter F. Rowe, The George Washington University

Alan Serven, Remington Arms Co., Inc.

William A. Tobin, Forensic Metallurgical Consultant

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10924.
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Gregory C. Turk, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Diarmuid White, Law Firm of White & White


Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Hyla S. Napadensky, Napadensky Energetics, Inc. (retired), and Royce W. Murray, University of North Carolina. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10924.
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Preface

This study was initiated by discussions between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and National Research Council staff. Because compositional analysis of bullet lead (CABL) has recently come under greater scrutiny, the FBI desired an impartial scientific assessment of the soundness of the scientific principles underlying CABL to determine the optimum manner for conducting the examination and to establish scientifically valid conclusions that can be reached using the examination. After the development of a feasible statement of task, a committee that had the expertise required by the statement of task was assembled. The nominees underwent the National Research Council’s rigorous nomination process before approval was given, to identify any bias or conflict of interest prior to the start of the project.

The committee met four times—once a month—beginning in February 2003 (the meeting agendas are found in Appendix C). This demanding schedule was met by the committee members with positive attitudes, and the effort put forth to review journal articles and trial transcripts, run statistical tests, and produce this report was tremendous.

Sincere thanks are offered to many others who provided the committee with information on the intricacies of the issues surrounding the study. Space does not permit naming of all who contributed, but some individuals who were particularly helpful are mentioned here. Representatives of the FBI, especially Robert Koons, attended the open session at every meeting to answer the committee’s many questions. Diana Grant, also of the FBI, was kind enough to take the time to demonstrate the process of comparative bullet lead analysis from start to finish as part of a laboratory tour. All of the speakers who gave presentations at the committee meetings are greatly appreciated for taking the time to assist the

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10924.
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committee with this matter of national importance. Special thanks go to Kenneth Green of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Association for his repeated support throughout the study. Frederick Whitehurst and William Tobin have willingly shared their extensive collections of legal documents with the cmmittee. Troy Roseberry of PMC-Eldorado Cartridge Company is deserving of thanks for guiding the committee through the ammunition production process at the Boulder City, Nevada, facility. Finally, John Bailar, Scholar-in-Residence at the National Academies, was invaluable for his assistance and insights into the statistical aspects of this report.

I thank everyone who helped further the successful completion of this study.

Kenneth O. MacFadden, Chair

Committee on Scientific Assessment of Bullet Lead Elemental Composition Comparison

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10924.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10924.
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Since the 1960s, testimony by representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in thousands of criminal cases has relied on evidence from Compositional Analysis of Bullet Lead (CABL), a forensic technique that compares the elemental composition of bullets found at a crime scene to the elemental composition of bullets found in a suspect’s possession. Different from ballistics techniques that compare striations on the barrel of a gun to those on a recovered bullet, CABL is used when no gun is recovered or when bullets are too small or mangled to observe striations. Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence assesses the scientific validity of CABL, finding that the FBI should use a different statistical analysis for the technique and that, given variations in bullet manufacturing processes, expert witnesses should make clear the very limited conclusions that CABL results can support. The report also recommends that the FBI take additional measures to ensure the validity of CABL results, which include improving documentation, publishing details, and improving on training and oversight.

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