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Trial Court Rules in Favor of AFTE and Named Defendants

In December of 2006 a Trial Court ruled in favor of the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE) and named defendants in a lawsuit filed by AFTE member Paul Dougherty. Judgment was entered in favor of AFTE and the named defendants in January of 2007.

Thereafter, Mr. Paul Dougherty appealed the Trial Court decision to the California Court of Appeal. On July 27, 2008, the Court of Appeal issued a unanimous decision affirming the Trial Court and awarding AFTE and the named defendants their cost on Appeal.

The Appeals court summarized their ruling by stating,

"Stepping back from this appeal, however, there is something very heartening about this case: A private organization whose purpose is to ensure the integrity of expert testimony actually had the gumption to censure a member whose testimony bordered on the ludicrous -- roughly the equivalent of saying that a shotgun can shoot at a right angle. The organization painstakingly gave the errant member multiple opportunities to explain why his testimony wasnít as bad as it looked, and ultimately, after about four years of internal due process, his peers censured him. In our opinion, they didnít deserve a lawsuit, they deserve a medal."

Read the full ruling by clicking here... (99k pdf file)

Micro Serialized Firing Pin Study

What Micro Serialized Firing Pins Can Add to Firearm Identification in Forensic Science: How Viable are Micro-Marked Firing Pin Impressions as Evidence?

by David Howitt, PhD, Frederic A. Tulleners, and Michael T. Beddow Forensic Science Graduate Group University of California, Davis

From the Executive Summary: "Every time a semiautomatic firearm is discharged, a bullet will leave the barrel and the cartridge case, which initially contained the bullet and powder charge will be ejected from the firearm. During the discharging process, working surfaces inside the firearm impart microscopic markings onto various areas of each bullet and cartridge case. One of these working surfaces is the firing pin, an object that strikes the primer surface in the base or back of the cartridge case, thereby causing the powder charge to deflagrate and fire the bullet. These ejected cartridge cases are one of the key pieces of evidence used in solving firearm-related crimes. More precisely, it is the microscopic markings, such as those impressed onto the back of the cartridge case by the firing pin, that forensic firearms examiners scrutinize in order to determine whether an identification with the crime gun can be made. This examination and comparison process is highly meticulous, time consuming and requires a forensic scientist with specialized equipment, training and experience.

The transfer of intentional microscopic impressions of intentional microscopic marking from the working surfaces of a firearm to each fired cartridge case was the goal behind the recent development of a micro-machining technology designed to machine an array of microscopic characters onto the face of a firing pin. The surface area of a firing pin is sufficiently large enough for a wide variety of alphanumeric characters, symbols, barcode lines, or other encoding structures to be machined on it. Todd Lizotte of ID Dynamics, located in Londonderry, New Hampshire, developed a micro-machining method that utilizes an ultraviolet laser to engrave micro-encoding structures onto firing pins. The method is similar to that used to engrave codes on computer chips..."

Read the Full Report (582 KB pdf)

Rifling Data Search 8

Rifling Data Search 8 is the latest version of the rifling search database application for Microsoft Access 2000, XP, 2003, or 2007.

This version updates the data to include all data contained in the 2008 FBI GRC release.

If you are a firearm examiner and don't have access to the new federally released database you may find this database very helpful in casework.  However, this application is not being released publicly. 

Please submit a request for this application via the Help Desk.  

If you are not a Firearm and Toolmark Examiner DO NOT BOTHER ASKING FOR THIS APPLICATION.  I will not respond unless I can verify you work in the discipline.

I reserve the right to limit the availability of this database application.  All requests will be considered but I cannot guarantee your request will be approved.

Delivery of the database will be via an approximately 2.6 MB downloadable .exe file or .zip file.


Rifling By Flow Forming

"Flow forming of a barrel can be described as a special application of forward flow forming which is used to form grooves and lands inside the barrel while also forming outside of the barrel."

"In rifling by flow forming, a barrel preform over a special mandrel containing reverse image of desired grooves and lands are flow formed by rollers. During the process, the barrel material flows in axial and radial directions. Axial flow elongates the barrel and radial flow forms the rifling."


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