Forensic science refers to the usage of a broad range of sciences to give answers to questions of concern in legal systems and scientific studies. The term forensics and forensic science are used interchangeably to mean the scientific investigation that serves to give evidence to a question from the courts. The science involves the application of biology, physics, chemistry and other branches to come up with unique evidence that eliminates other possibilities and explicitly identifies an individual. The use of forensic science knowledge has been exploited by three main bodies: law enforcement agencies, the media and perpetrators of criminal activities.
You will provide a comprehensive history of forensic science and a review of a crime scene, including management, security, preservation of evidence, as well as identification and analysis of the evidence. At a minimum complete the following:
Outline of a brief history of forensic science. Include important occurrences, events, and findings that contributed to the development of forensic science, especially as it relates to evidence located and evaluated at your crime scene.
Discuss the actions of the initial response to your crime scene and what processing steps this would include, such as surveys, searches, documentation sketches, etc. Include a discussion regarding where you scene is located and what, if any, Fourth Amendment issues exist that should be addressed.
Identify, collect, preserve, and analyze at least three different pieces of evidence detailed in the above crime scene.
Discuss the analysis of the above mentioned three different pieces of evidence and what information can be gleaned from this type of forensic science.
Summarize the significant findings for crime scene reconstruction as if presenting this case to the district attorney for possible prosecution.
Writing the Final Paper
The Final Paper:
Must be eight to ten double-spaced pages in length, and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
Must include a title page with the following:
Title of paper
Course name and number
Must begin with an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis statement.
Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
Must end with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis.
Must use at least five scholarly sources, including a minimum of two from the Ashford University Library.
Must document all sources in APA style, as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
Must include a separate reference page, formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
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When legal matters involve issues outside lay (general public) expertise, lawyers and judges regularlyseek consultation from professionals in a wide variety of fields, including medicalspecialties. Such professionals are often called "experts" or "expert witnesses." Although forensic experts usually are truly knowledgeable, the criteria for "expert" designation in such cases are legal ones, and not necessarily scientific. Sometimes the expertise is sought in an effort to provide the best possibleinformation to judges or juries, but there are many other situations in which a prudentattorney, judge, or other party may request consultation.
Over several decades, technology has significantly improved forensic sciences. One new technology is model. The two- dimensional images of bullets are essentially photographs, often black and white, with a distinct limit of detail. The use of technology has change the methods of analyzing the bullets in firearm examined. Analysis of these projection ballistic can help determine where a weapon was fired, based on shells and cartridges left at the crime scene. Comprehensive ballistic identification system require gun manufacture to test-fire the firearms it produce and store images of the ballistic marking left on cartridges. Imaging for forensic comparison of bullets and cartridge case provides specific advantages in reach. Forensic Investigators are developing and improving databases that identify ridge and groove markings left behind from fired rounds.
While the above is not an exhaustive list of forensic services performed by many crime labs, it should offer a sampling of analyses that make up a spectrum from objective to subjective. While those from the subjective end of the spectrum may not be able to conclusively yield the proverbial finger pointed at a wrongdoer or give black-and-white answers, they can further clarify what occurred or did not occur with a series of events under investigation. Obviously, very few pieces of evidence can offer a smoking gun, so to speak, on their own. It is not the sole responsibility of the forensic analyst to make this clear; it is the responsibility of all of the key players in the courtroom work group—judges, prosecutors, attorneys, jury foreman, and the jury—to use their role to get the most out of each analysis, report, and expert testimony to be able to reach a just verdict. While many of the critiques of the more subjective aspects of forensic science merit close attention, the importance should be stressed on the proper weighing of this evidence when offered at trial. As mentioned above, these analyses do hold scientific value but only to a limited extent. The results must be weighed carefully with all of the other evidence, testimony, and circumstances about a particular trial in question.
A forensic scientist also has to be able to present his or her physical evidence verbally in court, so a strong communication background is important....
Other kinds of forensic tools, such as particular types of trace analysis and questioned document analysis, do not have as good a track record of producing reliable, accurate, and powerful results. Observers, however, should not cast them off as not being useful. For example, if an analyst were to find a hair in the trunk of a car bound to a piece of duct tape that was consistent with a victim’s head hair, the car owner would have a lot of explaining to do. This is not to say that this hair couldn’t have come from another source—in fact, the analyst would be hard-pressed to come up with a statistic of the likelihood that the hair came from the victim’s head. If, in fact, the analyst offered this statistic, it would be a disservice to a jury, the defendant, and even the victim since this information is uncertain and not based on sound statistical principles. If DNA material—whether nuclear DNA material or a kind called mitochondrial DNA material—were available for examination, then analysts would gain the power to include specific statistics in the present case to aid in the interpretation of the findings. Otherwise, a certain degree of caution should be used in interpreting the results and weighed accordingly when making a decision based on the information found in a final report.
While the forensic services at a crime lab play an important role in contemporary criminal justice and civil courts, other key services are offered outside of the crime lab that are important to mention. Two areas in particular stand out—forensic pathology, since these services are utilized so regularly, and forensic anthropology, for its topical importance in solving identification mysteries worldwide. The following two sections describe these aspects of forensic science, often considered off in their own realms and separate due to where they are organizationally located, in the government (pathology, and a minor part of anthropology) and in academia (anthropology).
Each of these areas of analysis has its strengths and weaknesses, but all of them have been shown to assist investigators in their casework. Serology and biological screening is an example of a subset of forensic services that allows any investigator to narrow down the possibilities of suspects or helps the investigator understand the circumstances and nature of the event(s) in question, yet it has limited probative value. While a variety of these forensic services are able to produce results with reliable statistics and defined error rates, critics remain steadfast that these results can be misleading to jurors. Blood grouping methods are a good example: These methods allow analysts to examine a sample of blood and produce a report that identifies the blood type of the “donor.” In stark contrast to the cost and effort of DNA analysis, these reports can be produced rapidly and at a low price. The issue, however, becomes the lack of power these analyses have in narrowing suspects with a good degree of certainty, as many people share the same blood type. “Presumptive tests” for suspected semen and saliva samples are examples of less powerful biological analyses that can yield useful results, giving investigators reasonable evidence that these samples do, in fact, consist of seminal fluid or saliva. If there is sufficient biological material and these samples are viable enough to run DNA analysis (e.g., the material has not been contaminated or degraded below qualifying levels), further analysis can be run to refine these preliminary results. Forensic analysts may also choose to use other methods, such as microscopy and species typing, to refine these results if DNA analysis is not an option.
Not many, in my case. I often work with psychologists, and sometimes with other kinds of medical specialists, but forensic psychiatry rarely involves fields such as fingerprinting, ballistics, chemistry, or pathology. I am a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, however, and enjoy learning about other fields.