Forensic Science

Forensic Science

Forensic Science An Introduction 1. Introduction Definition of Forensic Science Terms to Know Science Breakdown Founding Scientists Units of Forensics Labs Functions of a Forensic Scientist Forensic Science The

word forensic is derived from the Latin forensis, meaning forum, a public place where, in Roman times, senators and others debated and held judicial proceedings. It is the application of science to those criminal and civil laws that are enforced by police agencies in a criminal justice system. General Terms to Know: Algor mortis-the cooling of the body that follows death Livor mortis-settling of the blood in the lower portion of the body causing a blue discoloration of the skin after death

Rigor mortis-examination of a cadaver to determine or confirm the cause of death done by a pathologist Expert witness-person who is a specialist in a subject; a person who has knowledge beyond an ordinary lay person enabling them to give a testimony regarding an issue Locards Exchange Principle- the theory that anyone or anything entering a crime

scene both takes something with them and leaves something behind What is the role of forensics? It is important to realize that the forensic scientist must pull from a wide array of knowledge and specialists to competently do his or her job. Forensics is more of a team effort than one would imagine. (Forget CSI, folks.the real world is nothing like that.)

A death that is unexpected or is thought to have been caused by an injury or poison is always investigated for the purpose of determining whether or not it was a homicide. Forensic Science Forensic scientists use crime labs to help them examine evidence. Most crime labs will include several departments: physical science (including chemistry, physics, and geology) biology ballistics document examination photography toxicology and drug analysis fingerprints Besides using the departments listed above, forensic crime labs may also

consult specialists in the following fields: anthropology computer technology voiceprint analysis psychiatry pathology taphonomy odontology entomology etc engineering polygraphy 8 Founding Scientists

Mathieu Orfila (1787-1853) Father of toxicology. First to detect poisons in animals. Alphonse Bertillon (1853-1914)

Developed the science of anthropometry, the taking of body measurements as a means of distinguishing people. (This was replaced later by fingerprinting). Francis Galton (1822-1911) First to look into fingerprinting. 1892 wrote Finger Prints which talked about the science of fingerprinting. Leone Lattes (1887-1954) Developed the technique for determining the blood type of a sample of dried blood. Calvin Goddard (1891-1955) First to refine the science of bullet comparison. Albert Osborn (1858-1946) Authority on authenticating documents. Walter McCrone (1916-2002) Perfected the use of the microscope in investigation. Edmond Locard (1877-1966) Perfected the use of scientific method in todays labs.

Locards Excange Principle Units of the Forensics Lab Basic Units Optional Units Other Units 10 8 Basic Forensics Units Physical Science Unit

Chemistry, Physics, and Geology Work with drugs, glass, paint, explosives, and soil. Biology Unit Biology and Biochemistry Work with DNA, blood, body fluids, hair and fibers, and living organisms (animals to plants). Firearms Unit Physics and Chemistry Works with gun, bullets, and trajectory plans.

Document Examination Unit Physics, Chemistry, and Biology Works with examining handwriting, typewriting, paper and ink documents. Photography Unit Physics and Chemistry Works with photos, X-ray, UV, infrared, and digital imaging. 11 9

Optional Forensics Units Toxicology Unit Works with body fluids determining the effects of drugs and poisons. Latent Fingerprinting Unit Works solely with fingerprinting and identifying people according to those prints. Polygraph Unit Works with validating statements made using a polygraph machine.

Voice Printing Analysis Unit Works with identifying sounds and voices on recorded media. Evidence Collection Unit This unit works only with the collection of evidence from a crime scene. 12 10 Forensic Pathology

Tries to get into the criminal mind to understand why they did what they did or what their next step will be. Forensic Odontology Works with the use of insects to find the timeline of the death. Forensic Psychiatry

Identifies human skeletal remains. Also tries to reconstruct from the remains the physical appearance of the deceased. Forensic Entomology Works with identifying dead bodies and reason for death. Forensic Anthropology

Other Units Identifies the person by their teeth or bite marks. Forensic Engineering Reconstructs the crime scene. 13 11 Methodology The forensic scientist must be methodical

in his or her work. Must first observe general characteristics of the evidence then observe more specific features. Must link evidence to a crime and to the suspects by identifying and comparing relevant material. All forensic scientists use the scientific method to conduct their investigations. Skills of a Forensic Scientist: 1. The forensic examiner must be able to find identify the evidence. 2. The forensic examiner must be able to

documentrecord the evidence. 3. The forensic examiner must be able to interpretaccurately determine the significance of the evidence. 15 Making Observations Our brains can filter out information. Point out some of the details in this photo. 16 Making Observations. Our brains fill in gaps in our perception.

In order to make sense of what we perceive, our brains often enrich with detail what we see, taste, hear, smell, or feel. After an event, we can believe things were part of the background even though they were not. 17 Making Observations Our brains apply previous knowledge to new situations. What

assumptions can you make about this scene? How might those assumptions be wrong? 18 How to be a Good Observer Observe systematically Start at one part of a crime scene and run your eyes slowly over every space. Slowly look at every part of a piece of evidence. Do not assume that later on you will be able to remember everything.

19 How to be a Good Observer Turn off filters Do not pay attention to only what you think is important. On a crime scene you will not know what will turn out to be important. Make a conscious effort to pay attention to all the details in your surroundings. 20 How to be a Good Observer Leave the final interpretation of data until later

Do look for patterns and make connections. The more information obtained, the better will be the interpretations. Remember that eyewitness accounts and your own thinking can include prejudices. 21 How to be a Good Observer Documentation, documentation, documentation It is important to write down and photograph as much information as possible. Keep in mind that memory is faulty.

Remember that our brains tend to automatically fill in gaps in our perceptions. 22 To Make Good Observations in Forensics You should Study situations Find clues in ordinary details Work backwards from the evidence to what led up to the crim. Be patient Practice 23

Observations by Eye Witnesses are affected by: their emotional states. whether they were alone, part of a group, or whether others were in the area. what type of and how much activity was going on around them. 24 Remember-Perception is reality As a result an eye witness may not be the best

source of crime scene information. A police composite may be developed from the witness testimony by a computer program or forensic artist. Faces Composite Program by InterQuest Eyewitness in Court Juries can be heavily influenced by eyewitness accounts. But how accurate are they?

Eyewitnesses can make perceptual errors for many reasons: (take a minute to brainstorm) crime scene was too dark, encounter was too brief, or the presence of a weapon may have diverted their attention the stress and fear involved in witnessing a crime may sharpen some peoples focus and confuse others the time between the crime and questioning

new information viewing mug shots or being asked leading questions Eyewitness Accounts in Summary: Reports from individuals about crime-scene events often vary. Observations depend on the level of interest, stress, concentration, and the amount and kind of distractions present. Prejudices, personal beliefs, motives, and any lapse in time since the occurrence can also have an affect.

27 The Innocence Project Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, starting in 1992, use DNA to examine post-conviction cases. The project has found that up to 87% of the wrongful convictions they discovered were due to faulty eyewitness identifications. 28

To Wrap it up 1. What affects our ability to make observations? 2. What is one problem with eyewitnesses? 3. How can forensic scientists gain good observation skills? 4. What are the three skills all good forensic scientists should have? 29 answers 1. The environment and natural sensory filters affect our ability to observe 2. Can be faulty

3. Patience, practice, noticing details 4. FDI-Find, Document and Interpret the evidence 30

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