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FORENSIC SCIENCE. Text: Criminalistics by Richard Saferstein. Forensic Science is Defined. as the application of science to those criminal and civil laws that are enforced by police agencies in a criminal justice system.

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forensic science

FORENSIC SCIENCE

Text: Criminalistics by Richard Saferstein

forensic science is defined
Forensic Science is Defined
  • as the application of science to those criminal and civil laws that are enforced by police agencies in a criminal justice system.
  • Or, forensic science resolves legal issues by applying scientific principles to them.
forensic science history
History of forensic science is relatively new

Names to know:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote Sherlock Holes stories

Mathieu Orfila – father of forensic toxicology

Alphonse Bertillon – anthropometry is science of body measurements

Francis Galton – Classified fingerprints

Leone Lattes – grouped dried blood

Calvin Goddard – used comparison microscope to examine firearms

Albert Osborn – document examination was accepted in court

Hans Gross – recognized scientific principles should be applied to criminal investigation

Forensic Science - History
forensic science history4
Forensic Science - History
  • Edmond Locard – 1877 – 1966
    • Locard’s Exchange Principle which says when two objects come into contact with each other, each of the objects will leave particles of one on the other. It is this principle that is the foundation of the study of “trace evidence”.
crime laboratory
Crime Laboratory
  • No regional or national planning has modeled a “typical” crime lab.
  • Increase in numbers because
    • Increase in crime
    • Increase in drug related crimes require toxicology testing
    • DNA profiling has put increased demand on crime labs
crime laboratory6
Crime Laboratory
  • Four major federal crime labs:
    • FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation has largest crime lab in the world
    • DEA – Drug Enforcement Administration analyzes drugs seized
    • ATF – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms analyzes alcohol, examines weapons in conjunction with Gun Control Act of 1968 and Organized Crime Control Act 1970, and examines documents relating to tax laws
    • US Postal inspection Service criminal investigations relating to postal service.
crime laboratory services
Crime Laboratory - services
  • Physical Science unit
    • Drugs, glass, paint, explosives and soil
  • Biology Unit
    • DNA profiling of dried bloodstains and other body fluids
    • Comparison of hairs and fibers
    • ID and comparison of plant materials (wool, seeds, etc.a)
crime laboratory services8
Crime Laboratory - services
  • Firearms Unit
    • Examines firearms, discharged bullets, cartridge cases, shotgun shells, and ammunition. Gunshot Residue (GSH) is also studied and analyzed.
  • Document Examination Unit
    • Handwriting and typewriting document analysis as well as paper and ink analysis
crime laboratory services9
Crime Laboratory - services
  • Photography Unit
    • Digital, infrared, ultraviolet and X-ray photography yields new information

Full Service Labs also provide

  • Toxicology Units
  • Latent Fingerprint Unit
  • Polygraph Unit
  • Voiceprint Analysis Unit
  • Evidence-Collection Unit
landmark cases
Landmark Cases
  • Frye v. United States – discussed what is mean by a technique that is “generally accepted” by most of the scientific community.
  • Federal Rule of Evidence 702- deals with admissibility of expert testimony
  • Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical, Inc. allows trial judge to decide who is and who is not an expert witness.
landmark cases11
Landmark Cases
  • Coppolino v. State – recognized the admissibility of new techniques as long as they are based on scientifically valid principles and techniques.
expert testimony
Expert Testimony
  • If a witness can establish to the satisfaction of a trial judge they are an expert, their testimony can be considered “expert”.
  • Absolute certainty – never possible. Usually an opinion is given probabilities and statistical chances.
  • Forensic scientist does not testify for the defense or the prosecution. They testify only to the truth as they can ascertain it.
additional forensic services
Forensic Pathology

Investigation of sudden, unnatural, unexplained or violent deaths

Forensic Anthropology

Identification of human skeletal remains

Forensic Entomology

Study of insects and their relations to a criminal investigation

Forensic Psychiatry

Relationship between human behavior and legal proceedings is examined

Forensic Odontology

Characteristics of teeth used to ID body

Forensic Engineering

Reasons for structural failure and where the responsibility might fall.

Additional Forensic Services
detection of curare in the jascalevich murder trial
Detection of Curare in the Jascalevich Murder Trial
  • What was the reason this case was given at this point in the text?
  • What was Jascalevich charged with?
  • What was the result of the trial?
  • If you were the forensic expert on this case how would you have handled the investigation differently?