GSR Analysis in the Presence of a Moving Vehicle

People of the State of Illinois v. Jesus Lagunas, No. 12 CR 12901, 2016 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 858

In this 2012 case, which was ultimately decided in 2016, the defendant Jesus Lagunas and codefendant Erasmo Palacios were charged with the aggravated discharge of a firearm (based on a theory of accountability), aggravated fleeing and eluding a police officer, and DUI. Because a firearm was discharged in the direction of a police officer, the suspects were chased down and apprehended. The suspects were then tested for gunshot residue (GSR), although Lagunas’ clothes were tested rather than the hands because they were covered in blood, and thus, contaminated. Upon analysis of the samples, it was suggested by Mary Wong, the forensic scientist who administered the testing, that Palacios may have discharged a weapon in his left hand, or been in the vicinity of a fired weapon, or accumulated GSR particles through environmental transfer. The jacket of Lagunas tested negative for gunshot residue particles. Wong postulated that it may be possible for a person to fire a weapon without depositing GSR in the case of a moving vehicle because the particles do not have a chance to settle in the vicinity. The GSR analysis and other testimonies were enough to convict the two, although the DUI charges were later revered and vacated.

2016 IL App (1st) 140864-U; 2016 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 858. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/17.

Forensic Summary by Kenneth Ujevich

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