Forensic Science The Basics

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1 Forensic Science The Basics Introduction to Forensic Science Chapter 1 Forensic science has engrained into society Television, books and movies reflect this Evidence analyzed includes DNA, drugs, witness statements, etc Infamous cases- O.J. Simpson, Jon Benet Ramsey, Green River killer- Gary Ridgway have all contributed towards a greater public desire to explore this science What is Forensic Science? Forensic- of the Methods of science applied to public matters Also involves the system Divided into numerous applications or fields Application of scientific methods to solving crimes Criminalistics, father of forensic science in the U.S., originated this term Refers to comparative forensic sciences such as fingerprints, questioned documents, firearms and tool mark identification Also refers to at crime scenes- illicit drugs, blood, explosives, hairs, fiber, glass, soil, paints, bullets, casings, and plastics Pathology Forensic pathologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the determination of causes and manners of, generally when the person dies under suspicious circumstances or under conditions of respective laws May work for or as a medical examiner ( ) or coroner (generally an elected representative, such as a ) depending on state Cause vs. Manner of Death Cause of death is event that directly caused death- Examples:

2 Manner of death is classification of how: Examples: Anthropology Forensic anthropologists work with Identify bones as humans or animals In humans, determination includes Gender may be determined Attempt too determine injury or cause of death if damage to bones are present Odontology Forensic Cast bite marks Ted Bundy case Invaluable at mass disasters due to their ability to match post mortem dental records to antemortem records of victims Engineering Assess mechanical or structural Majority of work focuses on accident investigation Kansas City Hotel bridge collapse Entomology Forensic entomologists study presence of Evaluate life stages of insects and presence May be able to estimate post-mortem interval of death May also determine through toxicological analysis of insects whether poison or drugs were present

3 History and Development of Forensic Science Chinese used fingerprints Henry Faulds, Frances Galton and Sir Edward Henry developed use of fingerprints France developed first detective force in 1810, the Surete of Paris FBI lab established in First crime lab by Edmund in France August Vollmer, LAPD Chief, established first crime lab in the United States Paul Kirk, University of California, established first university forensic program in1937 Blood and Body Fluids History Romans used bloody palm prints 1853 Ludwig Teichmann developed crystalline tests to characterize blood 1863 German Scientist Schonbein developed first presumptive test for blood 1900 Karl Landsteiner determined Blood and Body Fluids History Kary Mullis developed Polymerase Chain Reaction, which is basis for all typing in forensic cases today 1984 Sir Alec Jeffries used DNA fingerprinting to solve a double murder case in England What do Forensic Scientists do? Work for law enforcement (enlisted) or as a civilian Major duties include: May be part of a crime scene investigation team Serving as an Expert Witness Forensic Scientists must have: Knowledge or skills in specific field Adequate education and/or Must have knowledge above that of an average person

4 Such knowledge qualifies the expert to render an opinion based on set of facts and reach a conclusion United States Forensic Science System 400 forensic laboratories in the United States Most are federal, state or local labs Some maybe private Some are full service, others are not Federal and state laboratories form a loose network Federal Laboratories FBI Laboratory Drug Enforcement Administration Department of the Treasury Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Secret Service Internal Revenue Service Department of the Interior United States Postal Service State and Local Laboratories Very diverse is size and functions California has 50 public laboratories Montana has one laboratory Every state has at least one publicly funded laboratory Larger counties in certain states, such as Maryland or California, may have own labs Private Forensic Science Laboratories May focus on special niche of forensic science May be large multipurpose laboratories Frequently used by for criminal defendants

5 Some public laboratories also serve as private labs (Northern Illinois Police Laboratory) Sections of laboratory Evidence Evidence Analysis Size and nature of laboratory dictates what sections a laboratory may have Organization of Forensic Science Laboratories Generally very secure facilities Evidence is present and must be maintained Evidence is logged in at Intake section into the laboratory information system is frequently used Analysis section allows for analysis and testing of evidence Chain of Custody Evidence must be Documents must reflect who was in control of evidence at all times All evidence is sealed and labeled with initials Any opening of evidence must be logged in Violations of chain of custody can render evidence

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