The time of death in Dutch court; using the Daubert criteria to evaluate methods to estimate the PMI used in court

T. Gelderman*, E. Stigter, T. Krap, J. Amendt, W. Duijst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

When a capital crime is committed the post-mortem interval (PMI) is of particular importance in investigating a suspect's alibi in court. A forensic expert can use different methods to estimate the PMI. This research focuses on who is considered an expert in court and whether the methods used to estimate the PMI are reliable. In this study, the methods used to estimate the PMI and the experts consulted, available in Dutch jurisprudence, in the period 2010-2019 were investigated. Ninety-four judicial cases were included and multiple experts and methods of estimating the PMI were found. As part of this study, the methods that were used to estimate the PMI in court were subjected to the Daubert criteria. Of these methods, only the Henssge nomogram and entomological methods met the Daubert criteria. However, the methods are only useful when applied by the right forensic expert and in the right manner. Unfortunately, this was not always the case.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101970
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalLegal Medicine
Volume53
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Time of death
  • Post-mortem interval
  • Daubert criteria
  • Forensic experts
  • Forensic medicine
  • FINITE-ELEMENT MODEL
  • POSTMORTEM SUBMERSION INTERVAL
  • VITREOUS POTASSIUM LEVEL
  • RECTAL TEMPERATURE TIME
  • FLESH FLIES DIPTERA
  • 3RD INSTAR LARVAE
  • RIGOR-MORTIS
  • ELECTRICAL EXCITABILITY
  • PHOTOMETRIC MEASUREMENT
  • FORENSIC ENTOMOLOGY

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