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You are here: Law & Politics Legal CSI Meets the Real World
When a crime occurs, attorneys on both sides need experts to study the evidence and figure out exactly what happened. Police forces have internal crime scene laboratories, but even they sometimes need to go outside for experts in certain specialties. Other parties must find and hire outside experts for each aspect of the crime – such as trace evidence, bloodstain patterns, latent prints, and cause of death.

That's where International Forensics Experts (IFE) comes in. Assembled by James Pex, a former crime scene investigator and director of the crime laboratory for the Oregon State Police, IFE is a collection of forensic experts specializing in different areas of crime investigation. Pex brought together the group of fellow experts and former colleagues to provide a “one-stop-shop” for forensics. “A single case, for example a homicide, could have firearms involvement, could have issues with computers and cell phones, and the attorney has to go out and find an expert in all of these areas,” Pex said. “Under the consortium, an attorney can bill several experts under one contract.”

Pex has been a forensic consultant since he retired from the Oregon State Police in 2002. “I started my own consulting firm, which was Pex Forensic Consulting. And as the caseload increased it became difficult to keep up,” he said. “I sought out fellow former experts that were retired and ... drew them into my business, taking some of the caseload off of my hands. I knew a lot of people who were very good scientists and had long, distinguished careers in state or federal government in the field of forensic science.”

IFE usually works on homicides and other crimes resulting in death, frequently providing contract services to government and military groups. These experts work as a team to deconstruct each aspect of the crime. “A crime scene investigation such as a vehicle crash might be examined, both by an engineer and by a regular traffic re-constructionist. But we do it as a team,” Pex said. “Peer review is mandatory within our group. You have a circumstance where you have found something that is pivotal information, unusual in a case. We're [going to] discuss it as a group before you go out on your own. And this has a lot of value, because by the time our group has gone through it, the probability of accuracy is very high.”

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