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Forensics Ch. 1

What is Forensic Science, and how can it aid in criminal investigation? The use of science in matters of law.
Fields in Forensic Science Engineering, anthropology, psychology, biology, chemistry, accounting, computer science
Field Science Securing and protecting the crime scene; collecting evidence and reconstructing/interviewing.
Laboratory Science Analysis of physical evidence.
Medical Science Autopsy; blood/DNA.
How long have investigators been using forensic science? It has been used for 800 years.
What year was the first crime solved? 1836
The man who solved the first crime James Marsh
What crime did he solve and how did he solve it? James determined the crime of arsenic poisoning through chemical analysis.
In 1900, crime solving came through... Blood typing
Why was blood typing used? It was used because Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types.
How long has DNA testing been used? 20 years; it is still being perfected.
Criminologist A specialist in the collection and examination of physical evidence at a crime scene.
Forensic Scientist Uses many areas of science to analyze and interpret the physical evidence.
Is Forensic Science always conclusive? No
Presumptive Tests Don't indicate absolute truth, they are quick and easy but must be followed up with conclusive tests.
Examples of presumptive tests Luminol and phenolphthalein - indicate blood, gunshot residue tests
Observation What a person sees using his or her's senses.
A forensic examiner must be able to... Find - Identify the evidence, Document - record the evidence, and Interpret - accurately determine the significance of the evidence.
Perception Interpreting information. Our brains fill in gaps in our perception.
What sort of detail must our brains be able to enrich to be able to make sense of what we perceive? Taste, hearing, smell, or feel.
What do our brains apply? Previous knowledge to new situations.
What affects the observations to witnesses? Their emotional states, whether they were alone, part of a group, or whether others were in the area, and what type of and how much activity was going on around them.
Eyewitness Accounts Reports from individuals about crime-scene events often vary.
What do observations depend on? The level of interest, stress, concentration, and the amount and kind of distractions present.
Some more affects of eyewitness accounts can be... Prejudices, personal beliefs, motives, and any lapse in time since the occurrence.
The Innocence Project Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, starting in 1992, used DNA to examine post-conviction cases.
What did the The Innocence Project discover? It found that up to 87% of the wrongful convictions they discovered were due to faulty eyewitnesses identifications.
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 piece of evidence, do not assume that later on you will be able to remember everything.
How to be a good observer (cont.) 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.
How to be a good observer (cont.) Leave the final interpretations of data until later - Do look for patterns and make connections, but the more information obtained, the better will be the interpretations, remember that eyewitnesses accounts and your own thinking can include prejudices.
How to be a good observer (cont.) 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.
How to be a good observer (cont.) Study situations, find clues in ordinary details, work backwards from the evidence to what led up to the crime, be patient, and practice.
Summary The environment and our natural sensory filters affect our ability to observe, eyewitness reports can be faulty, gaining good observation skills is possible, forensic scientists find, document, and accurately interpret the evidence.
Created by: Blissful_Olive