Senior project research paper Final Draft


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Senior project research paper Final Draft

  1. 1. Tiffany BaileyMaxwellBrit Lit2 November 2011 Forensic Science Forensic science is the use of science in public, in a court, or in the justice system(McDowell). The job of the forensic scientist is to take physical evidence from a crime, and useit to support or disprove a fact in court. It is becoming harder and harder for forensic scientiststo come up with evidence that would be valid in court to prosecute someone of a crime. Thecourt system has made it extremely difficult to convict criminals without DNA evidence to linkthem to that particular crime. In certain cases, forensic scientists not only rely on themselves,but also on other experts to identify bodies, find out how long the body has been there, and tellthe story of the crime. In cases where the cause of death is violent, unusual, or untimely, a forensic scientistwill use the help of an expert in forensic pathology. During an autopsy, the medical history ofthe individual may also be reviewed to help determine if the death was natural, accidental orcriminal (Forensic Pathology). At the time of the autopsy a forensic pathologist can findevidence such as a bullet to determine that the death was due to a crime. A forensic pathologistmay be appointed as a Medical Examiner by a legal jurisdiction such as a city, county or state(ADEA). For example, a female was found dead in her house with the back door wide open. Thepathologist reviewed the container where her biopsies were kept and noticed a reddish color toher tissue. The scientist constructed a carbon monoxide test and the results showed deadly
  2. 2. Bailey 2levels of carbon monoxide in her body. The home inspection report revealed that her ventedgas heater was not applied at the proper height therefore causing a breeze blowing in a downdraft was the cause of death (the effective truth). Over all, forensic pathologist plays a veryimportant role in aiding the forensic scientist by giving them an idea of the cause of death. Forensic toxicology is the study of toxins found in the blood that can harm or killsomeone. Poison can enter the body through ingestion, injection or absorbed through the skin.The level of toxicity depends on four factors: age, weight, amount found in the body, and thecondition of health of the person who was toxicated (Forensic Toxicology). Toxicology is usefulin cases where the victim was intoxicated with something harmful to their body. It can also tella scientist whether the victim was doing drugs or was intoxicated with alcohol at their time ofdeath. Forensic toxicology can help the forensic scientist in cases that involve drugs, alcohol, orany other toxin. Forensic psychology is the use of the study of psychology in the justice system, such asmaking the critical decision whether the defendant is sane or insane. The forensic psychologistis responsible for treating the mentally ill, negotiating with prosecutors, and investigating acriminal’s mind and intent (Forensic Psychology). This study is more useful in court where asuspect sanity is questioned. The forensic psychologist is called upon to make that decision incourt based on their level of expertise. Most cases where sanity is questioned the court willbring in more than one forensic psychologist expert and compare the conclusions and base the
  3. 3. Bailey 3verdict on the forensic psychologists’ testimony. The forensic psychologist can provide a vitalpiece of evidence in the prosecution of criminals in cases where sanity is questioned. Forensic anthropology is the use anthropology to identify the body or body parts and tosupport the details of the crime. They mostly focus on the skeleton of the human body. Theyalso can find out the age, sex, ancestry, stature, and unique features of a decedent from theskeleton (ABFA). Forensic anthropology is useful in cases where the body is found alreadydecayed. By looking at the hips and structure of the bones you can conclude whether the bodyis male or female. In cases where the human remains are unidentified, severely decomposed,or are skeletal remains, the forensic anthropologist is an asset in determining the details of thecrime. Forensic archeologist study the environment of the crime after the body has began todecompose into the soil. In a wet climate, the flesh is removed from the bone within eighteendays. In a hot and dry climate, the flesh can remain on the bone for up to one year (ForensicArcheologist). Forensic archeology can help give you the details of a crime and also set up yourcrime scene. This can give the forensic scientist an idea of how the body has been deceasedand lying in that environment. Forensic entomology is the study of larva and insects that are found in, on, or aroundthe body which is beneficial for knowing about how long the body has been there and how longthe body has been dead.(Forensics Entomology). It can also be used to preserve substances inthe victim’s digestive tract which can tell the scientist the time frame of the death and what
  4. 4. Bailey 4exactly was found in their digestive tract that is not meant for human consumption. Forensicentomology can be used in a case where a decomposing body is found and the forensic scientisthas to use this study to tell how long the body has been there and how long it has been dead.Entomology is very helpful in giving the forensic scientist a timeline of the death. Forensic odontology is the study of teeth and bite marks. Forensic odonology can be avery important part of a case where the victim had been severely burned and the only ways toidentify the body is by taking a sample of the teeth and compare them to dental records. Thesecond way odontology can be used is by examining a bite mark on either the suspect or victimand linking them together. Forensic odontology can be useful in a crime where the victim isseverely burned and you need to identify the body. It can also help link someone to a case ifthere are bite marks found on either the victim or the suspect. Odontology can be important inboth identifying the body and convicting a suspect. Forensic serology can be used to determine types and characteristics of blood, bloodtesting, bloodstain examination. Forensic serologist not only studies blood, but they analyzesaliva and other bodily fluids essential for DNA typing. Forensic serology can tell the story of thecause of death, where the suspect was standing, whether the suspect was right or left handed,and what kind of weapon was involved. Forensic serology would be used in a case where bloodis used to recreate the crime. The blood found at a crime scene can give you a suspect or canhelp identify your victim, depending on whose blood was found. Using the study of blood youcan tell whether the suspect you are looking for was right handed or left handed depending on
  5. 5. Bailey 5the entry of the wound. You can also tell where and how close the suspect was standing bydisruptions in the blood pattern. You can also tell if the weapon was a gun or knife by the entrywound as well. Blood is the most common, well known and perhaps the most important pieceof evidence in the world of criminal justice (Forensic Serology). Forensic microanalysis is just the study of trace evidence, which is any small piece ofevidence that can be used to link a suspect to a crime: hair, skin, blood and fingerprints.Microanalysis is sufficient to proving all suspects who were present at the time and place of thecrime (Forensic Microanalysis). Fingerprints can give you a possible suspect and can linksomeone to the crime scene. Skin under the victim’s nails can show signs of struggle and canmatch up to the skin of the suspect. This is very important to the forensic scientist, because itgives them a list of possible suspects and witnesses. Each field of forensic expertise can be effective in recreating the crime and convictingcriminals for their crime. By working together it strengthens their case and allows them to besuccessful in the justice system. It is very important that the forensic scientist has these otherexperts to go to so that a conviction can be made as soon as possible and they have as muchevidence as they can possibly get to make a case against the suspect. It difficult cases whereextra knowledge is needed forensic scientist look for these people to help them with evidencethat is not familiar to them. Having these different varieties of science is really beneficial to lawenforcement, even though it may not seem like you will have to use these different expertise ina crime. You never know what kind of case you will be dealing with so it is great to have these
  6. 6. Bailey 6different experts to turn to in situations where you have no knowledge in that particular study.Being a forensic scientist can be a tough career, but with the help of other experts it can maketheir job easier and more effective.
  7. 7. Bailey 7 Works Cited“Case Studies .” World Class Forensic Biology . N.p., 2011. Web. Aug. 2011. <>.“A Collection of Forensic Pathology Cases .” The Effective Truth. N.p., 24 July 1998. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <>.“Forensic Anthropology.” Foresic- Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <http://www.forensic->.“Forensic Entomology.” Forensic- Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <http://www.forensic->.“Forensic Microanalysis.” Forensic- Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <http://www.forensic->.“Forensic Odontology.” Forensic- Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <http://www.forensic->.“Forensic Pathology.” Explore Health Careers . ADEA, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. <>.“Forensic Pathology.” National Institution of Justice. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. <>.
  8. 8. Bailey 8“Forensic Psychology.” Forensic- Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <http://www.forensic->.“Forensic Serology.” Forensic- Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <http://www.forensic->.“Forensic Toxicology.” Forensic- Medecine. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2011. <http://www.forensic->.Kudolo, George B. “The Melting Pot- A case Study in Forensic Toxicology.” N.p., Aug. 2008. <>. Rpt. in The Melting Pot. By Cheryl L. Golson and Douglas Bearden. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. UT Health Science Center, San Antonio. Web. Aug. 2008.McDowell, John D. “What is Forensic Science?” Forensic Sciences Foundation. Ed. Gil Brogdon and Carla Noziglia. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Oct. 2011. <>.“Seven Infamous Insanity Cases .” Forensic Psychology. N.p., 2011. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <>.“What is forensics anthropology?” ABFA. N.p., 2008. Web. 1 Jan. 2008. <>.