Category Archives: A-Z Blog Challenge

E is for…Evidence

We all know that for someone to be found guilty there has to be evidence of their guilt. Something that convinces a jury that the person committed the crime they are being accused of committing. But what kinds of evidence might there be in a trial?

There are four types of evidence. A Canadian website and a U.S. website provided different names for them but they appear to be the same.

Direct Evidence
Circumstantial Evidence
Character Evidence
Hearsay or Second-Hand Evidence


Real Evidence
Demonstrative Evidence
Documentary Evidence
Testimonial Evidence

I won’t go into all the rules of evidence or the definitions of each. I’ll provide a link for that. But there are very strict rules of what can be evidence, not to mention the hearsay rule. Years ago (2004?) I was on a jury. There was no direct (real) evidence in that case. It was all circumstantial. The Crown explained circumstantial evidence to us as being able to conclude that it was raining outside if someone walked into the room with an umbrella with water droplets dripping from it. Or something like that.

Though all we had was circumstantial evidence we found the guy guilty of second degree murder. Looking at it now it’s kind of scary that someone can be convicted of anything with no direct (real), tangible evidence.

Summary of Rules of Evidence

Kinds of Evidence Offered in Court

Until tomorrow…


D is for…DNA

With a theme for the challenge of crime scene investigation and forensics my D topic had to be DNA. Most people know what DNA is, on a basic level. Would all those people get double helix jokes? Maybe not. But most know the gist. They know DNA is in body fluids. They know DNA has become extremely important evidence in trials.

According to Wikipedia (yes, I know), Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid containing the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms (with the exception of RNA viruses). DNA profiling (also called DNA testing, DNA typing, or genetic fingerprinting) is a technique employed by forensic scientists to assist in the identification of individuals by their respective DNA profiles. What makes it useful in criminal investigations is the fact that though 99.9% of everyone’s DNA is the same there is enough that is different to make almost everyone’s DNA unique. With the exception of identical twins, no one has the same DNA as someone else. So if DNA is left at the scene of a crime and investigators can match it to someone that someone should probably get a lawyer.

For more than you could ever want to know about DNA check out the following links:

DNA Forensics

DNA Forensic Evidence – This is a PDF

About Forensic DNA – History

About Forensic DNA – Basics

DNA and Forensic Science Criminal Investigations

Bodily Fluids in Forensic Science

I will catch up on blog hopping tomorrow and over the weekend. Work has thankfully slowed down a little.

Until tomorrow…


C is for…Citizen’s Police Academy

I had never heard of Citizen’s Police Academy until I joined a loop of writers, many of them writing suspense. They talked about taking Citizen’s Police Academy. As a suspense author myself I thought it would be perfect to gain some knowledge and get information from actual law enforcement. But since all these writers talking about the CPA were in the U.S. I wondered if we even had anything like that here in Canada. So, Google is your friend, I Googled. As luck would have it the police services in my region did have a Citizen’s Police Academy. I applied for the September class and was rejected. The demand for the class was high so I was put on the waiting list for the next class. By new year I had forgotten all about it. Then I received a letter saying I was in the January 12 class. Woo hoo!

The classes were amazing. The topics included:

Use-of-force training
Interactive training scenarios
Firearms demonstration – amazing since I had never fired a gun before. Now I know all about recoil.
Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Bureau
Speed Measuring Devices
A day in the life of a police officer
Collision reconstruction unit
Homicide Bureau
Domestic violence unit
Tactical and Rescue Unit (our version of SWAT)
Canine unit
Explosives disposal unit
Crisis negotiators
Forensic identification services
Identity theft and fraud
Guns and gangs unit
Court/judicial system

What would you as a suspense writer pay for all that knowledge over 11 weeks of classes and hands on demonstrations? You know what I paid? Nothing! The Citizen’s Police Academy is free.

To read the recaps of the classes click here for the category listing and start at day 1.

If you’re a suspense writer I recommend doing a search to find out if your city offers Citizen’s Police Academy. You’ll get invaluable information and meet members of your community.

Until tomorrow…


B is for…Ballistics

According to Wikipedia (yeah I know but it’s not the only place that said this is the meaning) Ballistics is the science of mechanics that deals with the flight, behaviour, and effects of projectiles, especially bullets, gravity bombs, rockets, or the like; the science or art of designing and accelerating projectiles so as to achieve a desired performance.

When I think ballistics I always thought it was studying the bullets fired from a gun to see if the rifling matched with a known sample, either one in a database or one found at the scene of a crime. I found out there is more than one ballistics category. There is internal ballistics (which is within the gun), external ballistics (which is from the gun to the target), terminal ballistics (when the projectile hits the target). I found an amazing explanation of the various types complete with diagrams here. It’s part of a firearms tutorial from The Internet Pathology Laboratory for Medical Education.

In Canada the RCMP has an Integrated Ballistics Identification Network (CIBIN). The network allows police to have their ballistics evidence compared against any evidence from across the country. Plus it can also be compared against the U.S. National Integrated Ballistics Information Network.

For more information check out:

How Stuff Works

Ballistics Calculator

eNotes Article on Ballistics

Crazy busy at work but I intend to do some blog hopping tomorrow to check out some of the great posts participants are putting up.

Until tomorrow…


A is for…Alternate Light Source

Today is the start of the A – Z Blog Challenge. Last year I got to the letter T. Possibly because I didn’t have a plan. This year I have a plan, a theme for the posts. Since no matter what genre I write in all my stories have some sort of crime or suspense going on I decided to have my posts for the challenge be crime scene, crime and forensic related.

Onto today’s topic! ALS, or alternate light source is an important aspect of crime scene investigation. I’m sure you’ve seen ALS used on shows like CSI and it’s exactly what it’s called. An alternate light source used to find evidence you wouldn’t be able to see under normal light or white light. ALS is most commonly UV light and is used often to find bodily fluids like saliva, urine and semen. There’s also blue light. Bone fragments and some drugs show up well under blue light.

When I did a search for ALS I found lots of links to places where I could buy alternate light sources and/or forensic kits.

I did find some useful information about ALS that writers reading this blog might find useful.

Alternate Light Source – Sgt. McManigal

Alternate Light Sources and How CSIs Use Them

Forensics 4 Fiction

ALS in action:

Until tomorrow…


T is for…Toronto

Ever since we moved to Mississauga travelling to Toronto is just too far for me to go for most things. I will venture into Toronto for a writing meeting for Toronto Romance Writers if there’s a good topic. But that’s usually about it. Etobicoke is as far as I go. I still love my Toronto teams though. Mississauga doesn’t have professional teams that I know of.

Toronto professional teams include:

Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Raptors
Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Rock
Toronto FC
Toronto Argonauts

Who knew Toronto had so many teams?

Off to do something.

Until next time…


S is for…Sims

I love the Sims. When I got the first game, I can’t even remember how many years ago, I didn’t think it would be as addictive as it is. I mean, it’s a game where you control people (Sims) and make them go to work, make friends, get married, have children, pay their bills. Why is putting fake people through real life scenarios addictive?

I still love the first one a lot. There are so many options for customizing the game. So many hacked objects. You could make Sims that look like your friends and families. I have all the expansion packs for it and loved when they introduced magic.

I skipped right over Sims 2 and went to Sims 3 when it came out. I like the expansion packs they have. I like the lifetime wishes. I like so much about the game and I spend way too much time playing it.

I’m off to write and then maybe play Sims.

Until next time…


R is for…Rosacea

A lot of people don’t know what rosacea is. I didn’t know what it was until I found out I had it. I found out in my early thirties. My skin had been getting bad before then but nothing too noticeable. But in my thirties it got really bad. Very dry, very red.

There is no cure and they don’t know what causes it. But at least they do know what makes it worse. Of course I don’t stop eating or drinking what makes it worse. And I can’t control how much stress is in my life. So I just live with it. When I want to have a nice, clear face I get a prescription from my doctor. That clears it up for a little while. I need to find something that will help all the time that doesn’t require a trip to the doctor.

I need to get this posted but for more information about rosacea go here.

Until next time…


P is for…Plotting

I was going to talk about Pepsi. My absolute favourite drink. But you can only talk about pop for so long. And plotting is much more fun.

I’m taking an online class on plotting yourself to fewer revisions. Lots of good stuff in there about inciting incidents. character goals, plotting boards. I confess I haven’t been able to keep up with everything because I was sick last week. Plus I’m taking another class on Scrivener. The Windows version will be out soon! I have been using Scrivener though to help me plot. To help me figure out how I write so I can use Scrivener to its fullest. I’m loving almost everything about it. Tonight I will be changing the labels and the status data to what I need them to be.

I can’t wait to import all of my works in progress. Maybe even some of my completed stories so I can fix them. I love playing with software. I just hope I get to work and don’t just play. Next step, once Scrivener class is over, is to get the NaNo novel in there so I can get a big picture.

Right now, I’m off to change labels and then go to bed.

Until next time…