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Advanced Criminalistics: Review of Criminalist Report

Project description
You are a criminalist who has been asked to review the report of the forensic expert from the opposing attorney. You may not perform a re-analysis because the opposing expert used up the entire sample.

The relevant circumstances of the case are as follows:

A white powder was found by the crime scene team on the top of a bureau in a paper towel near a deceased male victim in the bedroom of his condominium. The evidence was properly collected, packaged, stored, and submitted to the laboratory.

The report contains the following information:

The powder weighed approximately 15 milligrams. The conclusion of the report was that the analyzed sample contained:

— Table salt (sodium chloride)
— Potato starch
— Sand grains
— Sodium benzoate

The report states that the forensic expert used only a gas chromatograph with a mass spectrometer detector to arrive at these results.

With this in mind, answer the following two questions:

1) Discuss why the analyst could not have arrived at the conclusion they did using the instrument they claim that they used; and

2) Explain what you would have used to arrive at those results assuming the results to be correct.

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