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What is Forensic Science?

Unit 1
Is it?
Cracking open the case...
What is forensic science?
Usually refers to: scientific study of
evidence to discover the facts in a
criminal or civil matter
new technology has made this a
rapidly growing field
What it is and its not?
It is not = kicking down doors, interrogating suspects, speculating
scenarios, multiple expertise, dna analysis in a day
It is = no judgments, speculations or interrogating, and usually only one
expertise, it could take weeks/months to
The CSI effect
.Well the good news is.increase in applications to forensic science
research programs at universities...More scientists = yay!!!! :)
Different specialities
Crime Scene Investigation
Forensic Medicine
Forensic Toxicology
Forensic Entomology
Forensic Engineering
Forensic Dentistry
Forensic Art
Forensic Psychology and Psychiatry
How can you become a forensic
Keep an open mind...what are you good at?
Dont worry if you're not a science person
Rewards of an exhilarating career for extra work now
Any course that sharpens your skills of analysis will be
A bachelors degree in science
good note taking skills
ability to write understandable scientific reports
good communication
good ethics and and personal integrity :)
So what do you think...
should shows like CSI
and Law and Order be
taken off the air due to it
complicating real life
crimes, otherwise known
as the CSI EFFECT?
History and Origins
Forensic = latin, meaning of or before the
Ancient Rome
China, 1247
Mathieu Orfila, 1813
Famous Scientists
Francis Galton Edmond Locard Hans Gross Calvin Goddard
Two Landmark Cases
Frye v. United States
What will the court except as scientific evidence
questioned procedure must be generally accepted
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical
Frye is not the only standard for submitting scientific
The judge must act as the gatekeeper in making
sure it is both reliable and relevant to the case
Nothing but the truth!
Forensic scientists are
expert witnesses.
Only witnesses allowed
to state their opinion in
court. However, need
to be accurate,
objective, and fair.
Why this is such a big deal!
The difference between an expert witness
and and an eyewitness
Eyewitness must only tell what they
personally heard or saw.
Eyewitness testimony is often unreliable.
Depends on perception of that person
The process of the scientific method is
essential for a crime scene!
So...what 1st happens at the crime scene?
What happens at a crime scene?
1. Secure and protect the integrity of the c.s.
2. Do not disturb the evidence
3. Crime scene investigators (CSI) gather info and document aka walkthrough
-determine what type of scene
primary or secondary
-types of evidence
-mental note of points of entry/exit
-mentally reconstruct or put together the events
4th Amendment
The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV)
to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of
Rights that prohibits
Obtaining the search warrant
Only __________may issue search warrants.
To obtain a warrant, ______________ must show
that there is probable cause to believe a search is
Officers must support this showing with
______________________, and must describe in
particularity the place they will search and the
items they will seize.
Goals of the Crime Scene Search
1. Provide info on the Corpus Delicti
2. Provide info on Modus Operandi
3. Links a suspect with a victim
4. Links a person with a crime scene
5. Disproves or supports an alibi
6. Identifies a suspect
7. Provides investigative leads
8. Identifies unknown substances
Importance of our senses and
As a CSI, its important to have keen
observation skills
You only get one chance to search the scene
Viewing the crime scene as a whole...keep an
open mind
Look for what is present and what is missing
Locards Exchange Principle
There are two theories behind crime scene
1. Linkage Theory-
2. Locards Theory of Exchange -
Methods of searching crime scenes
Documenting the Crime Scene
Taking meticulous notes
Video taping the crime scene
Documenting the Crime Scene (cont)
Photographing the crime scene
Making a diagram of the crime scene
Physical Evidence
How to properly collect evidence:
Evidence Classification:
Keeping evidence in the proper chain of