Forensic Casework

Forensic Casework

Forensic Phonetic Casework Statement of Purpose and Description of Work:

I employ laboratory standard acoustic phonetic methods and knowledge of the social and linguistic dimensions of varieties of American English to determine speaker identification in forensic phonetic casework involving voice comparisons. I am uniquely qualified for this task because, in addition to expertise in acoustic phonetics, I also have training in linguistic anthropology and extensive experience in the acoustic analysis of “everyday” types of speech.

Typically, speaker identification is restricted to vowel formants, and current automated technology (i.e. voice recognition systems) is largely unable to correctly identify highly variable vernacular speech (in other words, “real world” speech). My approach addresses this problem by expanding analysis beyond vowel formants to also include patterns of coarticulation, pitch contours, vowel duration, and voice quality. In particular, patterns of coarticulation (the way that articulators such as the tongue, mouth, and lips show overlapping gestures in the acoustic signal) are highly individualized and largely below the level of speaker consciousness. By examining a constellation of features, I make determinations in voice comparisons and speaker identification.

Experience:

Forensic Linguistics Team, U.S. Secret Service, 2005-2009. participated in a federally funded project that created dialect-sensitive voice recognition systems, with a focus on African American English

United States Secret Service in Quantico, VA (forensic phonetics, forensic dialectology)

Medina, Ohio Sheriff’s Department (voice comparisons for a bomb threat case)

Brunswick, Ohio Police Department (voice comparisons for a bomb threat case)

Detective Tom Dunn, Mount Pleasant, MI (voice comparisons for a harassing phone call case)

The State of Tennessee (voice comparisons for a narcotics case)

U.S. Department of Justice (voice comparisons for a narcotics case, in Spanish)

U.S. Secret Service Atlanta Field Office (voice comparisons for an identity theft case)

McEachin & Gee, P.C. Attorneys at Law (bomb threat case, sociolinguistic style analysis of slang)

City of Bellingham, Washington Police Department & U.S. Secret Service (voice comparisons for hoax 911 calls in an attempted murder case)

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