The Week 78 Forensic Science Geek of the Week is Announced

The Forensic Science Geek of the Week

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Forensic Science Geek of the Week

The week 78 “ Forensic Science Geek of the Week” honors goes to: Steven W. Hernandez, Esquire

According to our Geek, the following is offered:

Steven W. Her­nan­dez, Esq., is admit­ted to prac­tice in State of New Jer­sey and the United States Dis­trict Court for the Dis­trict of New Jer­sey. He spe­cial­izes in DWI defense.  Mr. Her­nan­dez is a mem­ber of the National Col­lege of DUI Defense (NCDD). Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion, The New Jer­sey Bar Asso­ci­a­tion, and the Ocean County Bar Asso­ci­a­tion.  He has suc­cess­fully com­pleted the DUI Detec­tion & Stan­dard­ized Field Sobri­ety Test­ing, the same course rec­og­nized by the National High­way Trans­porta­tion Safety Admin­is­tra­tion (NHTSA), used to train police per­son­nel. Mr. Her­nan­dez was the first attor­ney in New Jer­sey to receive his Foren­sic Sobri­ety Assess­ment (FSA) Cer­tifi­cate, by demon­strat­ing knowl­edge of the sci­ence and foren­sic use of road­side sobri­ety testing.

Congratulations to our Forensic Science Geek of the Week winner!


Forensic Science Geek of the Week Challenge
Forensic Science Geek of the Week Challenge

1. What is pictured above?

2. What is it used for?

3. How does it work?

4. Are there any known issues with respect to its forensic suitability? If so, what?


Our Geek of the Week answered:

(1) Duquenois-Levine Reagent is a test for detecting marijuana and hashish and the residue of THC in paraphernalia. It contains vanillin, concentrated hydrochloric acid, and chloroform (2) It used by : a. Removing clip; b. Adding substance into pouch c. Replace clip d. Break left ampoule, agitate for one minute. Look for any color that formed (none should occur). e. Break middle ampoule, agitate until color changes. Look for any color formed (a rich violet-blue should occur). f. Break right ampoule, and agitate for 5 seconds. g. Observe color change: if slate grey upper level over purple lower level, then it is positive for marijuana. (3) Forensically speaking it is not very reliable. The test has been known to produce false positives and has been known identify some plants, such as nutmeg as marijuana.

[BLOGGER’S NOTE: The myth of specific identification of Marijuana in criminal court Part 4: What is the modified Duquenois-Levine test? Is it a “good” test?

A very honorable mention goes to: Anthaony Graviano who wrote:

1. The image is of an Duquenois-Levine reagent pouch which is part of an ODV NarcoPouch narcotics field testing kit.

2. It is used by investigators to test an unknown substance for the presence of Marijuana.

3. The test is performed by first placing approximately 10-20mg of the target substance into the ampoule that comes with the testing kit. The Duquenois-Levine reagent pouch is then added to the ampoule. The mixture is shaken to allow for a proper mixture and if the mixture turns purple it is an indication that the unknown substance is Marijuana.

4. This test has a number of known issues. There is room for error in the tester’s perception of the color. Factors such as improper lighting or the background in which the test is viewed upon could impact the tester’s perception and they might think the test turned purple when it is, in-fact not. Starting in the 1960’s and 70’s, there were various studies that indicated the Duquenois-Levine reagent test is not specific to Marijuana. In 1969, a UK government scientist named M.J. de Faubert Maunder discovered that 25 different organic substances produced a similar color as Marijuana in the Duquenois-Levine reagent test, warning that it should never be used as the only conclusive evidence. Another study which was published in 1975 in The Journal of Criminal Defense stated “The microscopic and chemical screening tests presently used in marijuana analysis are not specific even in combination for ‘marijuana’ defined in any way.” In conclusion, the NarcoPouch field testing kit is not forensically suitable to be used by itself as conclusive evidence that an unknown substance is Marijuana.

The Hall of Fame for the Forensic Science Geek of the Week:

Week 1: Chuck Ramsay, Esquire

Week 2: Rick McIndoe, PhD

Week 3: Christine Funk, Esquire

Week 4: Stephen Daniels

Week 5: Stephen Daniels

Week 6: Richard Middlebrook, Esquire

Week 7: Christine Funk, Esquire

Week 8: Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.

Week 9: Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.

Week 10: Kelly Case, Esquire and Michael Dye, Esquire

Week 11: Brian Manchester, Esquire

Week 12: Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.

Week 13: Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.

Week 14: Josh D, Lee, Esquire

Week 15: Joshua Dale, Esquire and Steven W. Hernandez, Esquire

Week 16: Christine Funk, Esquire

Week 17: Joshua Dale, Esquire

Week 18: Glen Neeley, Esquire

Week 19: Amanda Bynum, Esquire

Week 20: Josh D. Lee, Esquire

Week 21: Glen Neeley, Esquire

Week 22:  Stephen Daniels

Week 23:  Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.

Week 24: Bobby Spinks

Week 25:  Jon Woolsey, Esquire

Week 26: Mehul B. Anjaria

Week 27: Richard Middlebrook, Esquire

Week 28:Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 29: Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 30: C. Jeffrey Sifers, Esquire

Week 31: Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 32: Mehul B. Anjaria

Week 33: Andy Johnston

Week 34: Ralph R. Ristenbatt, III

Week 35: Brian Manchester, Esquire

Week 36: Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 37: Jeffrey Benson

Week 38: Pam King, Esquire

Week 39: Josh D. Lee, Esquire

Week 40: Robert Lantz, Ph.D.


Week 42: Steven W. Hernandez, Esquire

Week 43:Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 44: Mehul B. Anjaria

Week 45: Mehul B. Anjaria

Week 46:Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 47:Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 47:Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 48: Leslie M. Sammis, Esquire

Week 49: Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 50: Jeffery Benson

Week 51: Mehul B. Anjaria

Week 52: Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 53: Eric Ganci, Esquire

Week 54: Charles Sifers, Esquire and Tim Huey, Esquire

Week 55: Joshua Andor, Esquire

Week 56: Brian Manchester, Esquire

Week 57: Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 58: Eric Ganci, Esquire

Week 59: Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 60: Brian Manchester, Esquire

Week 61: William Herringer, Esquire


Week 63: Ginger Moss

Week 64: Richard L. Holcomb, Esquire

Week 65: John L. Buckley, Esquire

Week 66: Jeff Sifers, Esquire

Week 67: Josh D. Lee, Esquire

Week 68: Dr. Barbara Vonderhaar, PhD.

Week 69: Christine Funk, Esquire

Week 70: Mehul B. Anjaria

Week 71: Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 72: Mehul B. Anjaria

Week 73: Josh D. Lee, Esquire

Week 74: Kim Keheley Frye, Esquire

Week 75: Mehul B. Anjaria and Peter Carini, Esquire

Week 76: Kim Keheley Frye, Esquire

Week 77: Mehul B. Anjaria

Week 78: Steven W. Hernandez, Esquire


Week 8o: Justin Harris, Esquire


Week 82: Jay Tiftickjian, Esquire

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