On-Demand Video

Crime Scene Investigations (2022 Criminal Law Symposium Session)

  • City:
  • Start Date:2022-06-02 20:00:00
  • End Date:2024-06-02 20:00:00
  • Length:
  • Level:Intermediate
  • Topics:Criminal Law

$79.00 ["ProPass"]

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Scientists, pseudoscientists, nonscientists, and enthusiasts — a chaperoned exploration of the present state of crime scene investigation and criminalistics. This presentation will revolve around the sciences and practitioners in, and absent from, these critically important areas within the criminal justice arena. Attention will be focused on the criminalistics tools used in event (crime scene) reconstruction including so-called bloodstain pattern analysis and others.

The credits offered by this course count toward the CLE requirement of Criminal Procedure Rule 801, for appointment as defense counsel in a capital case.

Recorded at Day 2 of the Criminal Law Symposium in June 2022.


Ralph Ristenbatt III, MS

A criminalist for over three decades, Mr. Ristenbatt began his formal education in science at Lebanon Valley College in 1983 as a Chemistry major. After a discussion with his advisor, Dr. Donald Dahlberg, he changed his major to Biochemistry in his junior year and graduated in May 1987. He left his home state of Pennsylvania to pursue a criminalistics education and career in New York City. A 1990 graduate of the
John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY Master of Science in Forensic Science program under the research mentorship of Peter De Forest, D.Crim., he accepted an entry-level position with the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) while completing his master’s thesis. His primary responsibilities at the OCME were forensic serological, and later DNA analyses (HLA-DQa), in homicide and sexual assault cases throughout the city’s five boroughs. Within the first two years at the OCME, he also became involved in scientific crime reconstruction efforts led by the laboratory director, Robert C. Shaler, Ph.D. In the mid1990s, he was responsible for the validation, implementation, and supervision of FT-IR analysis of polydimethylsiloxane in sexual assaults with suspected condom use. Mr. Ristenbatt also led the efforts to validate and implement the detection and analysis of primer-derived gunshot residue using scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray analysis in medical examiner cases. By 1997, Mr. Ristenbatt was removed from routine casework to focus his efforts on the scientific reconstruction of incidents including homicides, vehicle and vehicle-pedestrian incidents, physical and sexual assaults, suicides, and cases of accidental, undetermined, and suspicious manners of death. In 2000, he became the supervisor of the Medical Examiner Scientific Assessment and Training Team (rebranded in 2003 as the Forensic Analysis and Reconstruction Unit) from January 2000 to July 2006. This team was responsible for the scientific analysis and reconstruction of incident scenes in NYC using data derived from patterns of blood, projectile trajectories and firearms-related evidence, and other types of transfer and impression evidence; this unit, a dedicated team of criminalists, was likely the first of its kind in the nation. Mr. Ristenbatt’s team provided training to law enforcement personnel from the FBI, NYPD, NYSP, NJSP, PA State Police, and others in areas including biological evidence collection, analysis of blood patterns, crime/incident reconstruction, and forensic photography. He is an American Board of Criminalistics-certified Criminalist — General Criminalistics and an International Association for Identification-certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst. In 2006, Mr. Ristenbatt resigned from service to the City of New York at the highest nonmanagerial level and accepted employment with The Pennsylvania State University’s Forensic Science Program where he has instructed undergraduate and graduate courses in crime scene investigation, crime reconstruction and traceology, trace and pattern impression evidence, ethics, and the program’s undergraduate and graduate capstone courses. JMR Forensics Inc., Mr. Ristenbatt’s consulting firm, has been incorporated since 2004. He maintains an active consulting practice and has worked local, state, and federal cases, both criminal and civil, in New York City and metro area (Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, and Rockland counties in New York), New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Consultation also provided in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and internationally in Bermuda and India. He has provided testimony in federal court (US District Court, Eastern District of New York), NYS Criminal Court (five boroughs of NYC; Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester counties), NYC Civil Court (New York County), and Delaware State Superior Court.

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