Forensic Science

Forensic Science
the application of science to the criminal and civil laws that are enforced by police agencies in a criminal justice system
Mathieu Orfila
Father of forensic toxicology.
Alphonse Bertillon

Father of criminal identification.

Devised first scientific system of personal identification: anthropometry. System of taking body measurements. 

Francis Galton
Undertook first definitive study of fingerprints and developed method of classifying them. Led to the present system of ID by fingerprints.
Leone Lattes
Devised a procedure to determine the blood group of a dried bloodstain.
Calvin Goddard
A US army colonel that refined the examination of bullets by using the comparison microscope.
Albert Osborn
Developed fundamental principles of document examination.
Walter McCrone
Preeminent microscopist, advocating the use of microscopy to analyze problems.
Hans Gross
Promoted the application of scientific disciplines to criminal investigation.
Edmond Locard

Established first crime laboratory in Lyons police department. Founder of the Institute of Criminalistics at the University of Lyons.


Locard’s Exchange Principle: Whenever two objects come into contact, there is an exchange of materials.

J. Edgar Hoover
Director of the FBI (Currently the world’s largest forensic laboratory)
California Association of Criminalists
1972 the California Department of Justice created a system of integrated forensic labs that exchanged information and expertise.
Forensic Science Service
UK national system of regional laboratories, which police agencies are charged a fee for services rendered.
Number of crime laboratories in the United States
350 Public crime laboratories, more than three times the number of crime laboratories operating in 1966.
Modern crime laboratories
Most function as part of a police department or prosecutor/district attorney’s office, some are with universities or independent agencies in government
Reasons explaining the rapid growth of crime laboratories
Supreme Court decisions that Illegal drug seizures must be sent to a forensic laboratory for confirmatory chemical analysis before the case can be adjudicated.

DNA profiling mandated for individuals convicted of crimes.

Four major U.S. crime labs
1. Federal Bureau of Investigation
2. Drug Enforcement Administration Laboratories
3. Laboratories of the Bureau of Alchohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
4. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service
Three Major Canadian Crime Labs
1. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Regional Laboratories
2. Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto
3. Institute of Legal Medicine and Police Science in Montreal
Reasons for the wide variety of total services offered in different communities
1. Variations in local laws
2. different capabilities and functions of the organizations to which the lab is attached
3. budgetary and staffing limitations
Physical Science Unit
Expertise in chemical tests and modern instrumentation to examine drugs glass paint explosives and soil
Biology Unit
Identify and profile DNA on blood stains, body fluids hair and fibers. Also botanical materials such as wood and plants.
Firearms Unit
Firearms discharged bullets ammo casings GUN STUFF Discharge residue and marks made by tools.
Document examination unit
Handwriting and typewriting To determine authenticity and source paper analyzing paper ink indented writing obliterations erasures burned or charred documents
Photography unit
record physical evidence techniques include digital imaging infrared ultraviolet and xray photography to make it visible to the unclothed eye
Toxicology Unit
examines body fluids and organs for presence of drugs or poisons
Latent fingerprint unit
Processes and examines evidence for latent fingerprints when they are submitted in conjunction with other laboratory examinations.
Polygraph Unit
Handled by people trained in the techniques of criminal investigation and interrogation.
Many agencies incorporated this unit into lab administration structure, where it sometimes remains today.
Voiceprint Analysis Unit
Telephone threats or tape recorded messages
Links a voice to a particular suspect
Crime-Scene Investigation Unit
Dispatches specially trained personnel to the crime scene to collect and preserve physical evidence that will later be processed at the crime laboratory.
1923 District of Columbia Circuit Court
Rejected the scientific validity of the lie detector (polygraph)
Frye v. United States
the court must decide whether the questioned procedure, technique or principle is “generally accepted” by a meaningful segment of the scientific community.
Federal Rules of Evidence
1. the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data
2. testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods
3. witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Judge acts as “gatekeeper” of scientific evidence. 1Whether the theory can be tested 2Theory subject to peer review 3Technique’s potential rate of error 4Existence of standards controlling the technique’s operation 5Whether scientific theory has attracted widespread acceptance
Kumho Tire Co., Ltd. v. Carmichael
“gatekeeping’ role of judge extended from scientific testimony to all expert testimony
Expert Witness
An individual whom the court determines to possess knowledge relevant to the trial that is not expected of the average layperson.
Forensic Pathology
Investigation of sudden, unnatural, unexplained, or violent deaths
medical dissection and examination of a body in order to determine the cause of death
Rigor Mortis
Medical condition that occurs after death and results in the stiffening of muscle mass. The rigidly of the body normally occurs within 24hours of death and disappears within 36hours.
Livor Mortis
medical condition that occurs after death and results in the settling of blood in areas of the body closest to the ground.
Algor Mortis
Postmortem changes that cause a body to lose heat
Ways to approximate time of death
1. The stages of decomposition
2. Rate of heart loss
3. Potassium levels of ocular fluid
Forensic Anthropology
identification and examination of human skeletal remains
Forensic Entomology
Study of insects and their relation to a criminal investigation
Forensic Psychiatry
Relationship between human behavior and legal proceedings. ie. Determining mental competency
Forensic Odontology
Identify victims when the body is left in an unrecognizable state using dental records.
Forensic Engineering
Failure analysis, accident reconstruction, and causes and origins of fires or explosions
Forensic Compter and Digital Analysis
Identification, collection, preservation and examination of information from computer and digital devices.
Common Types of Physical Evidence Part1.
1Blood, semen and saliva 2Documents 3Drugs 4Explosives 5Fibers 6Fingerprints 7Firearms and ammunition 8Glass 9Hair 10Impressions
Process of determining a substance’s physical or chemical identity. ie. Drug analysis, species determination and explosive residue analysis
Process of ascertaining whether two or more objects have a common origin
Process of determining a substance’s physical or chemical identity. ie. Drug analysis, species determination and explosive residue analysis
Process of ascertaining whether two or more objects have a common origin
Individual Characteristics
Properties of evidence that can be attributed to a common source with an extremely high degree of certainty
Class Characteristics
Properties of evidence that can be associated only with a group and never with a single source
Product Rule
Multiplying together the frequencies of independently occurring genetic markers to obtain an overall frequency of occurrence for a genetic profile
Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS)
national fingerprint and criminal history system maintained by the FBI
Combined DNA Index System (CODIS)
data bank containing DNA profiles of individuals convicted of felony sexual offenses and forensic indexes of DNA from unsolved crime-scene evidence.
National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN)
maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allows firearms analysts compare markings on bullets and cartridge casings.
The method used to support a likely sequence of events by observing and evaluating physical evidence and statements made by those involved with the incident.
Common Types of Physical Evidence Part2.
11Organs and physiological fluids 12Paint 13Petroleum products 14Plastic bags 15Plastic, rubber, and other polymers 16Powder residues 17Serial numbers 18Soil and minerals 19Tool marks 20Vehicle lights 21Wood and other vegetable matter
Tagged In :

Get help with your homework

Haven't found the Essay You Want? Get your custom essay sample For Only $13.90/page

Sarah from studyhippoHi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out