Practitioner Consultant Members

 

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Barry A. J. Fisher

B.S. The City College of New York

M.S. Purdue University

MBA California State University, Northridge

 

Barry Fisher served as the Crime Laboratory Director for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department from 1987 until his retirement in 2009. He began his career in criminalistics at the crime lab in 1969 and worked in a wide variety of forensic science assignments. In addition to forensic science, he is interested in the interrelationship between forensic science and the law.

Fisher is a Distinguished Fellow and past-president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He served as president of the International Association of Forensic Sciences, and president of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors.

He has been a member of several editorial boards:  the Journal of Forensic Sciences, the Journal of Forensic IdentificationForensic Science Policy and Management and the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology.

His textbook, Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation, in its 8th edition, enjoys wide popularity.  He is a co-author of two other books, Forensics Demystified and Introduction to Criminalistics: The Foundation of Forensic Science.

Since retiring, Fisher has consulted for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United States Department of Justice, International Criminal Investigative Training Program (ICITAP), Analytic Services Inc., a not-for-profit institute that provides studies and analyses to aid decision-makers in national security, homeland security, and public safety and RTI, International Center for Forensic Science.

Barry and his wife Susan make their home in Indio near Palm Springs, 

 

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Colleen Friend, Director, Child Abuse and Family Violence Institute

Colleen Friend, PhD, LCSW, teaches at CSULA, where she is the Director of the Child Abuse and Family Violence Institute and the Partnership between CSULA and the Los Angeles County Juvenile Court.  She teaches two of the required classes for the CSULA Child Maltreatment and Family Violence Certificate.   Her practice experience and research publications are in child welfare training, intimate partner violence, risk assessment, adolescent relational aggression after multidisciplinary teams and child sexual abuse interviewing.  She has been a trainer for the LA County Department of Children and Family Services' new worker academy and  she was part of the invited team for training their workforce on “Engaging to Meet the Mental Health Needs of Children and Families,” as part of the Katie A. legal settlement. 

 

 

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WESLEY P. GROSE

Director, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

 

Wesley P. Grose has been with the County of Los Angeles since 1984, and with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department since 1994.  Wesley has served as the Scientific Services Bureau (Crime Lab) Director for the Sheriff’s Department since 2015.  His career began with the Department in 1994 as a Forensic Document Examiner after spending eight years with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office in their Bureau of Investigation as a Forensic Document Examiner, and two years with the Los Angeles Auditor-Controller’s Office in the Warrant Investigation Section as a Document Examiner. He was promoted to Supervising Criminalist in 2002, where he oversaw the Latent Prints/Crime Scene Investigation Section. In 2006 he was promoted to Assistant Director, where he oversaw the Operations of the Bureau and Questioned Documents, the Photo/Digital Unit, Controlled Substances, Toxicology, Forensic Alcohol, Polygraph, and Information Technology. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology, and Master of Forensic Sciences Degree.  He has served on various Boards and Commissions, including serving as the President of the California Association of Crime Laboratory Directors, and the President of the Southwestern Association of Forensic Document Examiners. He has authored and co-authored multiple technical papers, and spoken at a variety of professional conferences including the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.  He served as a member of the Executive Office of the President, National Science and Technology Council, Committee on Science, Subcommittee on Forensic Science, Standards, Practices and Protocols Interagency Working Group, and is currently a member of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Handwriting Examinations. He earned a Master of Forensic Science degree at the George Washington University, a Bachelor of Arts in Biology degree from the California State University, Northridge, and an Associate in Arts degree from Los Angeles Pierce College

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Winters Reef Hardy, Ph.D., DNA Technical Lead, Human Genomics Unit, Forensic Sciences Laboratories Division at the County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner

Winters Reef Hardy graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from Creighton University (Omaha, NE) and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA).  Following graduate school, he secured two postdoctoral positions in Molecular Virology, and later worked as a NIH T32 Postdoctoral fellow in the field of Stem Cell Biology, first at Indiana University, Indianapolis, and later in the laboratory of a collaborator at UCLA.  Reef has served on the faculties of CSULB, the Southern California College of Optometry, and Occidental College where he taught Chemistry and Biochemistry. He has also worked in industry as a staff scientist at Combion, Inc., a Biotech startup company researching the design and commercial implementation of DNA microarray technology.  In 2003, he left Occidental College to pursue a new career path as a Criminalist in the DNA Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department.   During his eight-year tenure at the LAPD, Reef served as a consultant for the California Forensic Science Institute (CFSI) where he participated as a member of a NIJ-funded team to design and deliver a comprehensive DNA in-service training program for LAPD and LASD Criminalists.  While at the LAPD, Reef served as a research mentor for two graduate students enrolled in the Master’s program in Criminalists at Cal State LA in collaboration with Professors Roberts and Johnson.  Currently, Reef is the DNA Technical Lead at the LA County involved in the identification of human remains and will soon launch a program to perform genetic testing to assist in cause of death investigations.

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Bruce Houlihan, Director, Orange County Crime Laboratory

Bruce Houlihan is Director of the Orange County Crime Laboratory in southern California, one of the leading forensic laboratories in the United States. The OC Crime Lab (OCCL) serves over 35 cities and organizations, with approximately 140 specialists, scientists, technical and support staff in the full-service forensic laboratory. The OCCL forensic lab achievements include: accreditation in 1992, the first ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation in California, one of the first breath alcohol calibration accreditations in the country, advancing the implementation of mature DNA batching systems, implementing a leading driving under the influence of drugs program, and other integrated forensic database programs, including biometrics and firearms. Bruce studied chemistry and physics as an undergraduate, and attended graduate school at the University of California of Irvine (chemistry) and Vanguard University (leadership).  He has worked at the OC Crime Laboratory for 28 years as a forensic scientist, and also teaches at Vanguard University part-time as an adjunct professor of chemistry and physics. Mr. Houlihan’s career involved most areas relating to forensic chemistry, and he was involved in many research projects regarding DNA population studies and applications to forensic DNA. Additionally, Mr. Houlihan has extensive experience in information systems, LIMS, and managing forensic scientific data. Mr. Houlihan has served as laboratory director since 2009, has over 10 years of service in crime laboratory leadership, participates in national dialogs regarding efficiency and crime laboratory casework norms, is serving on the NIST/OSAC Quality Infrastructure Committee, and serves on the board of the California Association of Crime Laboratory Directors (including as past president), along with other memberships, participations, and presentations in national forensic organizations.

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Ruby Javed-Ghaffar, Ph.D., Chief, Forensic Sciences Laboratories Division at the County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner

Dr. Ruby has over 15 years of experience in drug-related science in both the private and public sectors. She has served as an analyst at National Medical Services Labs.; the Chief Forensic Toxicologist/Lab Manager II at the State of Delaware Office of Medical Examiner-Coroner; Senior Scientist at Psychemedics Corporation; and currently the Chief of the Forensic Sciences Laboratories Division at the County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.  Dr. Ruby has also served as a Forensic Toxicology consultant and expert for detailed opinion reports and testimony. She has been a member of several different forensic science organizations such as the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT) and has numerous publications and presentations under her belt. 

Dr. Ruby leads research and development, QA/QC, testing, statistical support, data management, clinical grant writing, strategic sourcing and supply chain operations projects. She has advanced knowledge of toxicology, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics principles stemming from her doctoral degree in Pharmacology/Toxicology including opioid research into the pathways involved with morphine tolerance and physical dependence.  She serves as a team leader, subject matter expert and advisor with consulting experience, business acumen, scientific judgement, articulate communication and critical thinking skills.  Dr. Ruby is actively engaged, energetic, a collaborative team member for designing new concepts, sharing insights, developing vision, solving challenges, implementing action plans and driving best business outcomes.  

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Dr. Jonathan Lucas received his Bachelor’s degree in Science from UC Riverside after growing up in the San Joaquin Valley.  He obtained his Medical Degree from the University of Nevada School of Medicine in 1994 and went on to completed an anatomic and clinical pathology residency at UCLA in 1999.  This was followed by a one year subspecialty fellowship in Forensic Pathology at the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in the City of New York.

Dr. Lucas remained on staff in the Queens New York office for just over a year before returning to California in 2001 to take a job at the San Diego County Medical Examiner Office.  In 2011, he was promoted to Chief Deputy Medical Examiner.  Over his career, he has performed or supervised nearly 5,000 autopsies, attended many death scenes, and testified in countless criminal and civil proceedings.

While in San Diego, Dr. Lucas made operational improvements, implemented a variety of IT solutions including a new case management system, and designed and promoted the Annual M.E. Report, which regularly provides information on trends and regional patterns to decision makers and community partners. He has a particular interest in improving business processes and finding ways to work smarter and not harder.

Dr. Lucas sits on committees in the College of American Pathologists and the American Board of Pathology, has overseen the successful accreditation inspection process for both the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), regularly attends national professional conferences, and has published several articles in forensic pathology. He has experience in regional task forces for methamphetamine abuse and prescription drug abuse, which includes monitoring and responding to the opioid epidemic. Dr. Lucas has overseen the education and training of Pathology resident physicians and medical students and has been the program director for the Forensic Pathology Fellowship training program.

Dr. Lucas values integrity, accountability, strong communication, collaboration, and a clear vision.  As a native Californian, he considers it a great honor to serve as Chief Medical Examiner for this exceptional jurisdiction.  A world-class County should have a matching Medical Examiner/Coroner’s department.    Dr. Jonathan Lucas is excited to a part of the M.E./Coroner team, the larger County family, and the community of Los Angeles County.   

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Catherine Nguyen obtained her B.S. and PhD in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Nguyen has worked at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Texas Department of Public Safety prior to establishing the Verdugo Regional Crime Laboratory at the Glendale Police Department.  Dr. Nguyen is currently the DNA Unit Supervisor at the Verdugo Regional Crime Laboratory. She is a full member of the American Academy of Forensic Science and an associate member of the California Criminalistics Institute.

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Deputy District Attorney Marguerite Rizzo

Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office

Forensic Science Section

mrizzo@da.lacounty.gov

 

Marguerite Rizzo is currently assigned as the Deputy-In-Charge of the Forensic Science Section at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.  Rizzo has been a Deputy District Attorney since 1999 and has been assigned to a number of branch offices throughout Los Angeles County.  Before being promoted to the DIC of the Forensic Science Section, Rizzo was also assigned to two special trial units, the Family Violence Division and the Elder Abuse section. 

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Jeffrey A. Thompson
Los Angeles Police Department
Forensic Science Division

Mr. Thompson started his career in forensic science in 1980, at the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD), following an internship with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Criminalistics Laboratory and graduation from California State University (CSU) Long Beach.  At Huntington Beach, he worked as a generalist, where he completed training and qualified as an expert in the analysis of solid dose drugs; blood, urine and breath for alcohol content; body fluid identification and typing (before DNA analysis was developed); pattern evidence comparisons (shoe prints and tire tracks); trace evidence (including hairs, fibers and fire debris); and crime scene investigations, among others.  

Following promotion to Supervising Criminalist in 1990, Mr. Thompson continued to perform trace evidence casework, while he oversaw the expansion of services to the HBPD with the addition of firearms analysis.   As DNA analysis technology became more widespread, he completed the relevant training with other key personnel and worked to bring this service to HBPD, overseeing necessary equipment purchases and facility improvements.  He also served as Adjunct Faculty at National University and CSU Fullerton, teaching courses in Forensic Science.  

Mr. Thompson joined the Los Angeles Police Department Scientific Investigation Division (SID) in 2003, assigned to the Serology/DNA Unit (SDU).  He promoted to Supervising Criminalist in 2005, where he supervised SID’s participation in a national study to evaluate the efficacy of collecting and testing DNA evidence on property crime cases.  He promoted to Assistant Laboratory Director in 2008, where he managed the SDU and successfully oversaw a massive project to analyze and eliminate a backlog of thousands of untested sexual assault evidence kits while dramatically expanding the size and capabilities of the SDU.  He became the Laboratory Director in 2015, and currently serves as the Acting Commanding Officer of the reorganized and renamed Forensic Science Division, consisting of 215 dedicated employees serving in drug, field investigation, firearm, questioned document, serology/DNA, toxicology and trace evidence analysis disciplines, as well as quality assurance.  

Mr. Thompson is an active member of the California Association of Criminalists, the California Association of Crime Laboratory Directors, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors.  He was previously certified by the American Board of Criminalistics as a Fellow in both solid dose drug and fire debris analysis specialties, and currently maintains his general certification status as a Diplomate.