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Introduction to Forensic Science Part II: Who’s in Charge and Laws. Crime Labs. Federal Level FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation; Department of Justice): Largest in World DEAL (Drug Enforcement Administration Laboratories; Department of Justice)

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crime labs
Crime Labs
  • Federal Level
    • FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation; Department of Justice): Largest in World
    • DEAL (Drug Enforcement Administration Laboratories; Department of Justice)
    • ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Department of the Treasury)
    • US Postal Service
    • US Fish and Wildlife Services (Department of Natural Resources)
crime labs1
Crime Labs
  • State Level
    • Varies.
    • Washington has a statewide system of regional or satellite laboratories. This system
      • Increases accessibility of all to crime lab equipment and experts
      • Increases cooperation among agencies in the state
      • Minimizes duplication of efforts across the state
washington state patrol crime laboratory division
Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory Division
  • Operates four full-service crime laboratories (have facilities to test ALL kinds of evidence)
    • Seattle
    • Tacoma
    • Marysville
    • Spokane
  • And three limited-service crime laboratories (have facilities to test only SOME kinds of evidence)
    • Kelso
    • Kennewick
    • Tumwater.
slide5

WSP Crime Lab Departments vary from city to city in terms of what they process due to equipment limitations.A Trip Through Spokane’s Crime Lab

who deals with dead people
Who Deals with Dead People?
  • Medicolegal Investigation has two systems to investigate sudden, violent, or unnatural deaths (and deaths of prisoners).
    • Coroner = Elected
      • Often has no training
    • Medical Examiner = Appointed
      • Typically has an M.D., usually is a pathologist
  • Washington has both; depends on the county.
    • King, Spokane, Pierce = Medical Examiner
    • Kitsap, Jefferson, Skagit = Coroner
slide23
Coroner or Medical Examiner Tasks:
    • Determine cause of death
    • Determine approximate time of death
    • Identify the deceased
    • Take custody of the remains
slide24

The most important thing to think about in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science work:Are the methods and techniques I am using admissible in

a court of law?

slide26

The most important thing to think about in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science work:Are the methods and techniques I am using admissible in a court of law?

slide27

Miranda Law

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to talk to a lawyer and have him present with you during questioning.
  • If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you, if you wish.
slide28

Miranda Law

  • Intelligent waiver:
  • Do you understand each of these rights as I have explained them to you?
  • Having these rights in mind, do you wish to talk to us now?
slide29

Search & Seizure

  • Before any evidence is seized, the need for a search warrant or court order should be considered.
    • Fruit of the poison tree – any subsequent information derived from illegally seized physical evidence is inadmissible in court and cannot be used.
federal rules of evidence rule 702
Federal Rules of Evidence (Rule 702)
  • Rule 702. Testimony by Experts
  • If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.
frye test
Frye Test
  • The Frye test has its origin in a short and citation free 1923 decision concerning the admissibility of evidence derived from a systolic blood pressure deception test, a crude precursor to the polygraph machine. In what has become a famous (perhaps infamous) passage, the then Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia described the device and its operation and declared:
  • "Just when a scientific principle or discovery crosses the line between the experimental and demonstrable stages is difficult to define. Somewhere in this twilight zone the evidential force of the principle must be recognized, and while courts will go a long way in admitting expert testimony deduced from a well recognized scientific principle or discovery, the thing from which the deduction is made must be sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs." 54 App. D.C., at 47, 293 F., at 1014 (emphasis added).
slide33

EDMOND LOCARD

You commit a crime,

You leave something.

You take something.

slide34

Remember

Edmond Locard

Locard’s Principle

“Whenever two objects come into contact, there is always a transfer of material. The methods of detection may not be sensitive enough to demonstrate this, or the decay rate may be so rapid that all evidence of transfer has vanished after a given time. Nonetheless, the transfer has taken place.”