Debunking Myths to Forensic Science<br />-Joulyn V Kenny<br />Forensic Expert<br />
In real life, the criminal justice system operates under constraints of time, manpower and priorities. <br />So what's all the huff-puff about CSI/CID or Mr&MrsMishra.. We should avoid.. <br />
CSI Myths: The Shaky Science Behind Forensics<br />Forensic science was not developed by scientists. It was mostly created by cops, who were guided by little more than common sense. And as hundreds of criminal cases begin to unravel, many established forensic practices are coming under fire. By Brad Reagan<br />
Myth no1: The fully equipped crime lab<br />Forensic labs in TV are always fully equipped with the most up to date technology<br />Even the labs with the largest budgets cannot afford to have the same lab quality as the labs on TV dramas<br />Shortages occur with building space, funds, equipment and proficient personnel<br />
Myth no2: One person can examine all types of evidence<br />There are few ‘generalists’ in today’s forensics field.<br />The expertise required for each section of forensics sometimes requires one piece of evidence to be examined by more than one individual<br />The evidence at hand needs to be examined sometimes in different departments of the laboratory<br />
Myth no3: The laboratory personnel examines evidence as soon as it arrives<br />Heard of COC, the procedures that follow…<br />Usually it takes months before time permits an examination of the evidence due to back logs and quality control procedures<br />Positive and Negative Controls have to be taken into consideration before starting an examination <br />
Myth no 4:Fingerprints susceptible to testing and identification are always found<br />Finding identifiable fingerprints that can be collected and are of a high enough quality to do an automated search are rare<br />Normally fingerprint comparison must be done by ‘hand’<br />The on-demand fingerprint scan(Eagle Eye- The movie in which a burnt body fingerprint had a match) is rare to use and hard to get results from.<br />
Myth no5: Testing for drugs and chemicals in blood is quick and easy<br />The chemical goes in and a paper print with determined results are out….Not Really!!<br />Numerous drugs, botanicals, chemicals that can be presented at any given crime scene and many instruments cant identify them<br />Process often takes weeks or months to complete<br />This also depends on what state the blood is in- wet blood, dried, from decomposed or skeletal remains<br />
Myth No 6:The cooperative crime scene<br />Then we would not have the “Perfect Murder”<br />The ‘perfect’ evidence is rarely there<br />Technology has greatly improved evidence collection but no technological advancements can find nonexistent evidence<br />The discovery of the crime and the time elapsed is the biggest factor<br />And an uncontrolled crime scene(Best Example- Aarushi Murder 2008) is something one should accept if forensic guidelines are not followed<br />
Myth no 7: Use and availability of some sensors<br />Sensors have become a fad trying to convince people of its “hi-tech” use.<br />Some of the sensors used are actually prototypes still in the developmental stages and are not on the market yet<br />The accuracy and power of some sensors has been enhanced beyond what they are currently capable of detecting<br />
References<br />The “CSI” Effect on the Psychology of Jurors: The Challenges that Pop Culture is Bringing to the Courtroom James McGrath, JD, MPH<br />CSI Myths: The Shaky Science Behind Forensics<br />CSI Effect-Myths and Realities of “Forensic” TV- http://stlcin.missouri.org/newsletters/articles.cfm?ArticleId=372&NewsletterId=37<br />
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