Faculty Publications

 

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OPTIMIZING HUMAN SEMEN STAIN DETECTION USING FLUORESCENCE

Author(s):


Steven Lee and Kelly Conroy

Human semen fluorescence has been observed for many years and is currently used as a presumptive screening test in forensic laboratories.  The purpose of this project is to determine if a new set of fluorescence filters can be utilized with a forensic alternate light source (ALS) to improve the detection of semen stains.  To establish a baseline, a four year old positive control sample of semen deposited on a white tissue was examined under the Spectrum 9000, a forensic ALS, at six different discrete excitation filter settings.  The stain was then viewed through various long pass, short pass, and band pass filters covering a range of wavelengths as well as yellow and orange goggles (480 nm long pass, 545 nm long pass respectively).  Photographic documentation and visible qualitative evaluation of preliminary results indicate excitation wavelengths include 570 nm, whereas previous reports indicate semen excitation from 300-500 nm.  Fluorescence emission filters in the 510-590 nm range allow the stain to be easily detected by the eye.  Since fluorescence was observable at lower wavelengths that are blocked by the orange goggles commonly used in forensic laboratories, there is potential for capturing more of the visible fluorescence.  The results establish a baseline for a white substrate for the project, and the photos taken of the stain through the various filters will be analyzed using image analysis software to determine quantitatively if the unique discrete filters are indeed better than the methods currently employed in forensic labs for detecting semen stains.

Publishing information:


October 11th, 2011 | American Academy of Forensic Sciences Proceeding 18: 77-78.

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BORDER ACTION NETWORK AND THE MILITARIZATION OF THE USA-MEXICO BORDER.

Author(s):


Sang Hea Kil, Jennifer Allen, and Zoe Hammer

Publishing information:


October 10th, 2011 | In Our Own Backyard: Human Rights, Injustice, and Resistance in the US (Eds. Armaline, William T., D.S. Glasberg, and B. Purkayastha.). Philadelphia, PA: UPenn. Press.

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 HUMAN RIGHTS IN OUR OWN BACKYARD

Author(s):


William Armaline

Human Rights BookHuman Rights in Our Own Backyard examines the state of human rights and responses to human rights issues, drawing on sociological literature and perspectives to interrogate assumptions of American exceptionalism. How do people in the U.S. address human rights issues? What strategies have they adopted, and how successful have they been? Essays are organized around key conventions of human rights, focusing on the relationships between human rights and justice, the state and the individual, civil rights and human rights, and group rights versus individual rights. The contributors are united by a common conception of the human rights enterprise as a process involving not only state-defined and implemented rights but also human rights from below as promoted by activists.

Publishing information:


October 10th, 2011 | University of Pennsylvania Press


EVALUATION OF SUNDAY FRIENDS: THE WORKING ALTERNATIVE TO CHARITY

Author(s):


James Daniel Lee

Sunday Friends is a non-profit organization in San José, California, that provides multiple activities for families that are in need of financial support. Most families are Latino (the majority of Mexican descent) and bilingual. Participants and program volunteers convene to form a community at Lowell Elementary School on two Sundays each month. When family members participate in activities designed to educate, improve skills, and encourage improved self-concepts and pro-social values, they earn tickets that they can redeem for items that they need and want from the “Treasure Chest,” the Sunday Friends store. Activities include educational games, food preparation, “Thank You Letter” writing, English-as-a-Second-Language programs, crafts for the community, and education, including financial literacy.

The program’s central focus is to empower families to break out of poverty. A specific guiding principal is the “Developmental Assets” approach promoted by the Search Institute in Minneapolis (http://www.search-institute.org/). This approach encourages individuals and organizations to work together toward a common goal of supporting the healthy development of all children and youth. Healthy development is conceptualized as consisting of the development of external assets (i.e., support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations, and constructive activities) and internal assets (i.e., commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies, and positive identity).

Like those before it, the 2011 evaluation’s primary focus was on whether Sunday Friends was succeeding at fostering Developmental Assets for children. Also like before, other indicators of success that were utilized were perceptions of program effectiveness in areas such as education and family cohesion, satisfaction with program activities, and reports of healthy eating habits. Added to this year’s evaluation were assessments focused on the program economy, social capital, and whether program attitudes and behaviors are evident in participants’ daily lives.

Questionnaire data were gathered from family members (adults and youth) during program activities through face-to-face interviews. The interviews were conducted by SJSU students and volunteers to the research team (including bilingual interviewers). The families were recruited in person by research team members onsite. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish; the choice of interview language was made by respondents. More experienced and dedicated Sunday Friends volunteers were selected by program staff for participation in the evaluation; they were recruited by program staff and research team members onsite and via email. They completed questionnaires through an online survey platform. In all, 46 children and youth, 49 parents or guardians, and 75 volunteers participated in the survey.

Across surveys of the three targeted groups, (1) children and youth, (2) parents or guardians, and (3) volunteers, there are consistent results. Families and volunteers report that Sunday Friends is effectively engaging them and meeting its goals. Overall, every group reports positive experiences at Sunday Friends. Favorable results are found on every dimension of self-concepts and pro-social characteristics. Effects appear to extend beyond momentary participation in the Sunday Friends program.

The evaluation concludes that Sunday Friends has an atmosphere of respect, helpfulness, and friendliness that, with an effective economy, contributes to participation in positive activities. The program fosters Developmental Assets, positive educational attitudes, social capital (particularly bridging social capital), and healthy eating. Data are consistent with success at teaching a positive work ethic and English Language skills. Finally, volunteer recruitment and utilization appears to be quite effective. The volunteers are very well liked, respected, and viewed as role models. In addition, the volunteers report gaining meaningful experiences and positive pro-social changes as a result of their participation. The program appears to make an important contribution to the lives of all involved, the young persons, adults, and volunteers.

The results presented here should be interpreted with the caution that there is bias because all persons surveyed were self-selected, continuing participants, or they were program-selected committed volunteers. In addition, cross-sectional data like those used here cannot detect changes over time. Despite these cautions, each group’s data and triangulation across family and volunteer surveys reveal patterns that are consistent with Sunday Friends accomplishing its goals. It is safe to conclude that Sunday Friends’ community-based approach to empowering parents and youths is achieving some success.

Publishing information:


July 15th, 2011 | Report to Sunday Friends, San José, CA.

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RACIALIZED POLICING: OFFICERS’ VOICES ON POLICING LATINO AND AFRICAN AMERICAN NEIGHBORHOODS

Author(s):


Claudio G. Vera Sanchez and Dennis P. Rosenbaum

Conflict between the police and minorities is a consistent theme in inner city neighborhoods. Most studies focus on minorities’ attitudes toward the police and overlook police experiences and perceptions, thus neglecting a vital element in understanding this relationship. The objective of this study was to understand how police officers socially construct race within Latino or African American neighborhoods. A total of N = 40 police officers were interviewed. Through qualitative analysis, police officers’ comments reveal that they may not racialize but instead moralize African American neighborhoods; alternatively, police officers voiced positive racializations for the Mexican neighborhood. The implications of these findings for future research and police–minority relations are further discussed.

Publishing information:


April 29th, 2011 | Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 9, 152-178

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POST RELEASE SPECIALIZATION AND VERSATILITY IN SEXUAL OFFENDERS REFERRED FOR CIVIL COMMITMENT

Author(s):


Danielle Harris, R. Knight, S. Dennison, S. Smallbone

Offense specialization and versatility has been explored previously in the prior criminal records of sexual offenders. The present study expanded these findings by examining offense specialization and versatility in the postrelease offending of a sample of sexual offenders referred for civil commitment and released. Criminal versatility (not limiting one’s offending to sexual crime) both before and after commitment was the most commonly observed offending pattern in the sample. Specialist offenders (those for whom sexual offenses constituted more than half of their total number of previous arrests) were more likely than versatile offenders to specialize in sexual offending on release, perhaps indicating that specialization is a stable offending tendency. When compared by referral status, recidivism records indicated that offenders who were committed for treatment were more likely than observed, noncommitted offenders to specialize in sexual offending on release. When compared by offender classification, child molesters and offenders with mixed aged victims were much more likely than rapists and incest offenders to specialize in sexual offending on release.

Publishing information:


April 16th, 2011 | Sexual Abuse: a Journal of Research and Treatment. 23(2), 243-259

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IMMIGRATION AND ‘OPERATIONS;’ THE MILITARIZATION (AND MEDICALIZATION) OF THE USA-MEXICO BORDER

Author(s):


Sang Kil, Ph.D.

The recent dramatic expansion of the field of transnational studies has reshaped discourses across the humanities and social sciences and created the opportunity for extensive multi-regional exchanges. Traversing Transnationalism intervenes into these developments by offering essays from scholars working both within and outside the metropolitan “centre”, and by reorientating the axis of research towards geopolitical and cultural formations located beyond the normal sites of production of globalization discourse. This interdisciplinary collection has a broad scope: it engages directly with a variety of literary and non-literary texts, diverse socio-cultural configurations, and the politics, theorization and aesthetics of transnationalism. It is of interest to both readers interested in how transnational discourses have been articulated in specific contexts and circumstances, and readers looking for an intervention into debates on transnationalism that draws attention to its complex, plural character.

Publishing information:


March 10th, 2011 | Traversing Transnationalism: The Horizons of Literary and Cultural Studies, Eds. Ronit Frenkel, Pier Paolo Frassinelli, and David Watson. Rodopi Press (Netherlands).

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DR. HARRIS PRESENTS RESEARCH AT ACADEMY OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SCIENCES IN TORONTO, ONTARIO

Author(s):


Danielle Harris

Dr. Danielle Harris recently presented her research on criminal careers of sexual offenders at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in Toronto, Ontario.

Publishing information:


March 1st, 2011 | Using Life History Plots to visualize the criminal careers of chronic sexual offenders. Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Toronto, ON: March 2011.

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ASSESSING A NOVEL ROOM TEMPERATURE DNA STORAGE MEDIUM FOR FORENSIC BIOLOGICAL SAMPLES

Author(s):


Steven B. Lee , Kimberly C. Clabaugh, Brie Silva, Kingsley O. Odigie, Michael D. Coble, Odile Loreille, Melissa Scheible, Ron M. Fourney, Jesse Stevens, George R. Carmody, Thomas J. Parsons, Arijana Pozder, Arthur J. Eisenberg, Bruce Budowle, Taha Ahmad, Russell W. Miller, Cecelia A. Crouse

The ability to properly collect, analyze and preserve biological stains is important to preserving the integrity of forensic evidence. Stabilization of intact biological evidence in cells and the DNA extracts from them is particularly important since testing is generally not performed immediately following collection. Furthermore, retesting of stored DNA samples may be needed in casework for replicate testing, confirmation of results, and to accommodate future testing with new technologies.

A novel room temperature DNA storage medium, SampleMatrix™ (SM; Biomatrica, Inc., San Diego, CA), was evaluated for stabilizing and protecting samples. Human genomic DNA samples at varying amounts (0.0625–200ng) were stored dry in SM for 1 day to 1 year under varying conditions that included a typical ambient laboratory environment and also through successive freeze–thaw cycles (3 cycles). In addition, spiking of 1–4× SM into samples prior to analysis was performed to determine any inhibitory effects of SM. Quantification of recovered DNA following storage was determined by quantitative PCR or by agarose gel electrophoresis, and evaluation of quantitative peak height results from multiplex short tandem repeat (STR) analyses were performed to assess the efficacy of SM for preserving DNA.

Results indicate no substantial differences between the quality of samples stored frozen in liquid and those samples maintained dry at ambient temperatures protected in SM. For long-term storage and the storage of low concentration samples, SM provided a significant advantage over freezer storage through higher DNA recovery. No detectable inhibition of amplification was observed at the recommended SM concentration and complete profiles were obtained from genomic DNA samples even in the presence of higher than recommended concentrations of the SM storage medium. The ability to stabilize and protect DNA from degradation at ambient temperatures for extended time periods could have tremendous impact in simplifying and improving sample storage conditions and requirements. The current work focuses on forensics analysis; however this technology is applicable to all endeavors requiring storage of DNA.

Publishing information:


February 16th, 2011 | Forensic Science International: Genetics Volume 6, Issue 1 , Pages 31-40, January 2012

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DR. ROY ROBERG PUBLISHES NEW EDITION OF POLICE & SOCIETY

Author(s):


Roy Roberg, Kenneth Novak, Gary Cordner and Brad Smith

Description

Now in its fifth edition, Police & Society offers a descriptive and analytical look at the process of policing, from police behavior and organization to operations and historical perspectives. Focusing on the relationship between the police and the community and how it has changed throughout the years, Roy Roberg, Kenneth Novak, Gary Cordner, and new coauthor Brad Smith explore the most important theoretical foundations and incisive research on contemporary policing practices.

Features of the Fifth Edition

Discussion of many new topics including procedural justice, recruitment strategies for females and minorities, social media/social networking, and predictive policing

Enhanced coverage of criminal procedure, officer stress and safety, intimate partner violence, brutality/extralegal police aggression, and more

Expanded glossary of key terms

Engaging boxed features: ”Inside Policing” boxes that discuss real-world police issues and “Voices From the Field” interviews–six of which are new to this edition–with nationally recognized experts

Superior supplements: A revised and expanded Instructor’s Manual and an interactive Student Study Guide on CD (packaged with the text)

Publishing information:


February 11th, 2011 | Oxford University Press, 2011

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