Medical Examiner: 2003 Conference: Day 3 Mock Trial Session
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Current Trends in Forensic Science

2003 Conference: Day 3 Mock Trial Session

The Participants
Presiding Judge: Judge George Gallagher, J.D.
Prosecuting Attorney: Michele Hartmann, J.D.
Defense Attorney: John Nation, J.D.
Medical Examiner: Marc Krouse, M.D.
Toxicologist: Angela Springfield, Ph.D.
Fingerprint Examiner: Bill Walker
The Case
In April of 1988, the body of a 34-year-old white female was discovered in her bed at her residence at 1213 Hitchcock Lane. There was no obvious cause of death and no medical history to support a sudden death episode. Investigators learned that the decedent had a practice of taking a dose of a particular over the counter medication before bedtime every night. A bottle of such medication was recovered from the bedside table and seized as evidence along with all prescription medications in the home.
Autopsy results indicated that the cause of death was strychnine intoxication; the manner of death was undetermined. Toxicological examination of the contents of the medication bottle from the bedside table identified the presence of strychnine. In addition, a single unidentified fingerprint was lifted from the medication bottle by the Police Department in 1988. In 2002, this fingerprint was run through AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) and an identification was made.
The Medical Examiner's Office together with Texas Wesleyan School of Law presented this case in a Mock Trial Session on the last day of the 2003 Current Trends conference.
{Photo of Prosecutor and Medical Examiner}
Prosecuting Attorney Michele Hartmann questions her first witness Dr. Marc Krouse, M.D.
{Photo of Defense Attorney and Medical Examiner}
John Nation cross-examines Dr. Krouse regarding the results from the autopsy.
{Photo of Judge Gallagher}
Judge Gallagher explains a detail of the proceedings to the audience.
{Ms. Hartmann and Dr. Springfield}
Ms. Hartmann questions the second witness Dr. Angela Springfield about the medication bottle.
{Attorneys and Judge}
Mr. Nation asks to approach the bench.
{Mr. Nation and Dr. Springfield}
Mr. Nation discovers an inconsistency in Dr. Springfield's testimony. The bottle of medication was unopened and still retained the factory seal.
{Mr. Nation, Dr. Springfield and Ms. Hartmann}
Dr. Springfield laughs after removing the factory seal from the medication bottle (the bottle used was not the actual trial exhibit) while explaining that this would constitute tampering in a real trial.
{Michele Hartmann, J.D.}
Ms. Hartmann explains a point of law to the audience and offers advice to those who will be expert witnesses in the future.
{Bill Walker}
Bill Walker shows the jury the latent fingerprint discovered on the medication bottle.
{The Fingerprint Analysis}
Bill Walker explains the fingerprint analysis to the jury.

Content Last Modified on 1/26/2004 1:06:36 PM

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