Author Topic: June 8th Hearing  (Read 11465 times)

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Offline nomatter_nevermind

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June 8th Hearing
« on: June 08, 2013, 07:21:50 AM »

Live coverage on ClickOrlando starts at 9:30 EDT.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2013, 07:37:52 AM »
Defense expert reciting his CV. I missed his name.


Offline RickyJim

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2013, 07:39:20 AM »
John Peter French

Offline RickyJim

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2013, 07:43:31 AM »
This a good link.  Rene and Jeff give good updated continually information.  They surmise that the connection to York, UK is via Skype.  Quality is better than yesterdays.

Offline annoyedbeyond

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2013, 07:46:25 AM »
ClickOrlando report from last night says Defendant's Motion to Prohibit Spectators From Wearing Items That Depict Support will be on the docket today.

It also says the courthouse is normally closed on Saturday. Nelson has called in sheriff's deputies and assorted court personnel. No word from county officials on how much it will cost the taxpayers.

I wonder if it would've been cheaper (and easier) for her to simply grant the motion giving the defense an extra period of time. I think they wanted six weeks; even 4 weeks would've solved this mad rush.


Offline turbo6

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2013, 07:48:07 AM »
What a well versed and distinguished chap.  :D

Offline annoyedbeyond

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2013, 07:49:25 AM »
What a well versed and distinguished chap.  :D

Everything sounds better in Brit, doesn't it?


Offline RickyJim

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2013, 07:56:08 AM »
"I have never come across a case in my 30 years at this where somebody has tried to compare screaming with speech".

Offline annoyedbeyond

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2013, 07:56:16 AM »
In 30 years (?) he's never seen people try to compare screaming and speech. Ricky's new favorite expert.

Offline cboldt

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2013, 07:59:19 AM »
First expert is Dr. French.  He is located in his laboratory in York, the UK.  A bit of technology tweaking in the courtroom for volume of speaker phone.  The audio connection is working, not sure if the video is.  West asks the court to swear in the witness.  Witness is sworn.  West asks the witness to introduce himself.

Dr. French's CV has been filed with the court and a copy has been provided to Mantei.  West asks if this is current, and for the witness to describe length of experience.  Forensic work since the 1980's, also teaches at university.  What is your formal education and training in human speech?  Post grad in human linguistics .... see CV, pretty impressive.  Doesn't mean he isn't a BS artist (see global warming), but he doesn't get these positions without having substantive experience.  Has testified in court more than 200 times.  Has handled over 5,000 cases.  Many venues, internationally.  Lab handles 100-200 cases per year.  Claims to be even handed in analysis, about 70-80% is for prosecution.  The courts he has testified in are New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Netherlands.  Any cases in the US?  Only two that he recalls.  One is a civil case, not yet in trial, the other is an internal investigation internal to a private organization.  Has given training to FBI.  Supervises doctoral candidates involved in forensic speech analysis.  Dr. French is published, and has undertaken research that has been published.  Dr. French asked to estimate how many times he has been published, he says "going on towards 30."  West asks about the personnel at the lab, seven people including Dr. French.  One of the seven is the manager, the rest are scientific staff.  West asks about editorial responsibilities "Speech, Language and the Law," and on the board of a Spanish journal of speech sciences, and also involved in bringing linguistics to the general public.  West asks about making presentations - Dr. French describes this as part of his professional development.  West asks about keeping up to date with new methodologies.

Now get into meat - are you familiar with the standards and guidelines in this field?  Yes.  They are varied by jurisdiction.  West doesn't probe into details.  West focuses on voice comparison analysis.  French describes the process, first the administrative - cataloging, method of delivery, form of evidence.  Next step is to re-record contents to a computer server, stored as standard audio data files.  next step is to decide if the material is suitable for the purpose for which it has been submitted.  West asks if there are guidelines for this threshold inquiry.  Yes.  background noise, contamination, bandwidth of signal, duration, adequate representation of speech sounds, just how distinctive or unusual are the speech patterns of the person.  What they can't do, and won't do, is specify an absolute minimum of sound quality either as S/N or number of words, or seconds of recording.  Reason is that a person having unusual speech patterns can be found with poor quality samples.  Sometimes elimination can be done with a very small amount of data.  Generally, downplays the per se importance of sound quality and sound duration.

Good expert.  Makes clear the varilables that can play in forming an opinion.  He's identified something here that none of the other experts have mentioned - and it is a point that cuts against per se rejection of the 911 call for reasons of short duration or "poor quality."

West goes on to evaluation of sounds that are shouts or contain shouts.  Dr. French says yes.  Completely different vocal settings when they shout, especially if genuinely shouting (not just talking loud).  About 10-15% of cases are rejected as unsuitable for evaluation.  Maybe 15% understates, because some cases are rejected based on a verbal description, e.g., a bank robber shouting demands; rejections happen before tapes are even submitted for analysis.  West reiterates that shouting or screaming are not suitable.  French has never run into a case where screaming was attempted to be compared with normal voice.  Are you aware of any studies in this vein?  Dr. French says he is not aware of any studies that address that issue.  It is pretty much axiomatic that you cannot compare screaming with speech.  West asks if it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to analyze screams? Yes.  West asks what about screams under duress, distress cries.  Dr. French has a student working on this, including death cries, fear of death.  Student compared this sort of utterance with normal speech of the same person.   West asks the result of the research.  Dr. French says the study wasn't aimed at that question, but the sound of stressed people is unpredictable, so it is not reliable to work back to what they would sound like, normally.

Very interesting technical information.

Offline RickyJim

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2013, 08:12:08 AM »
Even if the 911 screams went on for a couple of hours, it wouldn't be suitable for comparison. 

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2013, 08:14:39 AM »
This guy is good. He isn't just giving an opinion. He's laying out and making understandable the reasons that scream comparisons, even scream to scream, aren't feasible at present.

ETA: He talks about preliminary work in the area by one of his graduate students, and says it's 'uncharted territory'.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2013, 08:17:23 AM by nomatter_nevermind »

Offline annoyedbeyond

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2013, 08:17:58 AM »
I'm kind of looking forward to cross. I'm curious how Mantei approaches him.

Offline cboldt

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2013, 08:18:45 AM »
French describing auditory phonetic test.  How the individual consonant and vowel sounds are pronounced.  For example, the sound of "t" or "l".  They use the international phonetic alphabet for this purpose.  Would listen for speech rhythms, here major accents are formed, rate of speech, intonation (rise and fall of pitch, melody), timbre (creaky? harsh? nasal? breathy?), evidence of tension in the larynx (he demonstrates), tongue/body relationship.  Each of these variables is scoreable.  38 different variables are available.

2nd group of tests are acoustic / instrumental.  Usually using computers and software.  Average pitch, resonants (formats), where is main energy in the speech.

Also look for individual speaker patterns like lip smacking, hesitation markers (umm, uhh sounds), simplification of speech (aside, I think Crump would be easy to find in a sample, due to his pronunciation of certain words).  None of this is available in a sample of a scream.

French elaborates, departure from the norm is a key part of this analytical method.   He repeats that these idiosynchrocies aren't present in screaming.  West asks "how much screaming would it take for you to reach a conclusion"  Dr. French asks if can relate it to this case.  yes.  He says if he had half an hour of these screams, it would not be in the least helpful.  it would not allow JP French to move to a conclusion.

West moves on to possibility to create a sample for comparison.  Dr. French says that it is not possible to get a reasonable exemplar for a scream uttered in distress.  There is very little data, very few recordings of people in true distress, so can't be explored in any meaningful way.

West asks if the 911 call is suitable for analysis, and for Dr. French to express an opinion.  It is even remotely suitable for speaker comparison purposes.  It would have been rejected by JP French.  West asks, if you undertake the analysis anyway ...  Dr. French says there can't be any meaningful findings.  He's never heard of such a task being undertaken before.

Dr. French says they have a biometric system, not being used, but being evaluated.  His opinion is that the biometric analysis would not yield a meaningful result either.  West asks what the biometric system use process is.  Dr. French says biometric is designed to compare normal voice.  But, if you were to try this, you would first test the system.  Not first put in 911 tape.  If you had two people, you'd test both, and if it "no matched" both, then the system doesn't work.  Next you might try, with a number of subjects, to attempt to scream in distress, and see if the biometric system could match the talker with the screamer.  Dr. French says the conclusion is foregone - the system is not designed for this.  West asks if this was attempted, would the witness expect the results to be reliable.  No.

I'd hate to be in Mantei's shoes right now.

Offline RickyJim

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Re: June 8th Hearing
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2013, 08:19:16 AM »
Manatei:  Experts can disagree with  you, Dr. French, can't they?  Please, please, say yes.

 

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