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History And Scope


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  • 1. FORENSIC SCIENCE History & Scope
  • 2. Forensic Science
    • science occupies unique role in criminal justice system
      • based on scientist’s ability to supply accurate and objective info that reflects the events that have occurred at a crime scene
    • forensic science in broadest definition is application of science to law
    • is the application of science to the criminal and civil laws that are enforced by police agencies in a criminal justice system
  • 4. History – Early Developments
    • China – 3 rd century
      • A Collection of Criminal Cases
        • outlined use of experimentation to defy claim of woman saying husband died in accidental fire
      • first to recognize potential of fingerprints for identification
  • 5. Initial Scientific Developments
    • between 1775 and 1806 many advances in detecting various poisons
    • Mathieu Orfila (1814)
      • published first scientific treatise on detection of poisons and their effects on animals
      • established forensic toxicology as a legitimate scientific endeavor
      • Orfila now recognized as “father of forensic toxicology”
  • 6. Late 19 th Century Progress
    • officials beginning to apply knowledge from many scientific disciplines to study of crime
    • Alphonse Bertillon (1879)
      • anthropometry – systematic procedure that involved taking a series of body measurements to establish identity
      • (replaced by fingerprints in early 1900’s)
      • “father of criminal identification”
  • 7. Late 19 th Century Progress
    • Francis Henry Galton (1892)
      • first definitive study of fingerprints
      • developed methodology of classifying them for filing
      • published Finger Prints containing statistical proof supporting uniqueness of fingerprints as personal identification
  • 8. Late 19 th Century Progress
    • Hans Gross (1893)
      • studied and developed principles of criminal investigation
      • Criminal Investigation
        • detailed assistance investigators could expect from fields of microscopy, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, zoology, botany, anthropometry, and fingerprinting
  • 9. Late 19 th Century Progress
    • Sherlock Holmes
      • although fictional, author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had considerable influence on popularizing scientific crime detection methods
        • first to apply serology, fingerprinting, firearms identification, and questioned document examination
        • long before these were valued and accepted by real life criminal investigators
  • 10. 20 th Century Breakthroughs
    • Dr. Karl Lansteiner (1901)
      • discovered blood can be grouped into categories
    • Dr. Leone Lattes (1915)
      • developed simple procedure for determining blood group of a dried blood stain
  • 11. 20 th Century Breakthroughs
    • Edmond Locard
      • took Gross’ principles and demonstrated how they could be incorporated into a workable crime laboratory
      • 1910 – persuaded Lyons police dept. to give him 2 attic rooms and 2 assistants to start a police laboratory
      • eventually became founder and director of the Institute of Criminalistics at the University of Lyons
  • 12. 20 th Century Breakthroughs
    • Edmond Locard
      • Locard’s Exchange Principle
        • when two objects come into contact with each other, a cross transfer of materials occurs
        • therefore, every criminal can be connected to the crime
        • however, we may not have the technology to see, collect or process all the materials that have transferred
  • 13. 20 th Century Breakthroughs
    • Dr. Walter C. McCrone
      • world’s preeminent microscopist
      • applied microscopy to analytical problems
    • Colonel Calvin Goddard
      • refined techniques of firearms examination by using comparison microscope
  • 14. Modern Scientific Advances
    • Sir Alec Jeffreys (1984)
      • developed first DNA profiling test as a method of personal identification
        • can be used to prove either guilt or innocence
  • 15. Modern Scientific Advances
    • Computerized Databases
      • compare evidence at a scene to thousands of pieces of similar information
      • used for fingerprints (AFIS), markings on bullets and shell casings, and DNA
  • 16. Scope of Forensic Science
    • Crime Laboratories
      • vary by country
      • usu. at least one dedicated facility offering forensic science services
      • in US- many local, regional and state labs
      • FBI runs a national lab in Virginia
  • 17. Scope of Forensic Science
      • basic units of a “full service” lab
        • physical science - applies principles of chemistry, physics and geology to evidence
        • biology – DNA, bloodstains, hair & fibers, botanical materials
        • firearms – examines firearms and ammunition, clothing and other objects for gun shot residue
        • document examination – handwriting, typewriting, paper, ink
        • photography – examines and records the physical evidence, preps exhibits for courtrooms
  • 18. Scope of Forensic Science
      • additional services/units
        • toxicology – examines body fluids and organs to determine presence or absence of drugs and poisons
        • latent fingerprint – visualizes the “invisible” prints not seen by the naked eye, records
        • polygraph – lie detector, staffed more by criminal investigator
        • voiceprint analysis – uses spectrograph to create visual display from speech, used for identification
        • crime scene investigation – evidence collection unit
  • 19. Scope of Forensic Science
      • specialized services/units
        • forensic psychiatry – examines relationship between human behavior and legal proceedings
        • forensic odontology – identify victims through dental evidence if body is left in unrecognizable state, bite mark analysis
        • forensic engineering – concerned with failure analysis, accident reconstruction, causes and origins of fires and explosions
        • forensic computer and digital analysis – identifying, collecting, preserving and examining info from digital devices