Police And Forensic Science Essay

Length: 8 pages Sources: 8 Subject: Criminal Justice Type: Essay Paper: #30941653 Related Topics: Forensic Science, Histology, Expert Witness, Physical Anthropology
Excerpt from Essay :

Picture a place where criminals could roam freely, detectives, and police officers went about gathering evidence the same way that they do now, except the one main difference is that they do not use science. Without the use of scientific analysis, you would not have a lot of useful evidence that you could use to convict someone of a crime. Criminals could get away with everything from common theft to a homicidal rampage unless you had a witness who was present at the time of the crime who could testify against them. These criminals would continue stealing, murderers would continue murdering people and drug dealers would still be out in the streets selling drugs and ruining society. With forensic science, the clue that these criminals leave behind can be traced back through scientific evidence and today we are able to use science as a method in solving crimes.

These clues are gathered through specific processes that have been tested and continue to evolve through time. Society's tool to collect substantial and concrete evidence is what allows prosecutors in the court system to convict criminals. This essay will show what forensic science is as well as the police work involved in forensic science. Sometimes the best way enough evidence comes from the first line of the justice system, the police officer.

a) What is Forensic Science?

The word "forensic" is derived from forensic, a Latin word meaning public, public discussion, belonging to a discussion or debate. A modern definition of the word "forensic" is used in, relating to, or suitable to any court of law (Yacine & Fellag, 2011, p. 256). Forensic law then becomes any science utilized for the purposes of the law. Law enforcement and government agencies use forensic science internationally to help resolve civil disputes, to protect public health, and to enforce justly government regulations and criminal laws.

Those specializing in forensic science, forensic scientists, could be involved at any time in an objective because people need scientific examination in order to seek justice or find the truth in a legal proceeding. Society associated law enforcement with forensic science early on because prosecution of criminal cases needed scientific backing to support charges against criminals. However, forensic science remains unbiased and objective because it applies equally to both sides of any civil, criminal, and other legal issue.

2) Forensic Science Techniques

a) Psychology

Forensic psychology is the middle ground of the justice system and psychology. It involves the understanding of elementary legal principles, specifically concerning expert witness testimony and the particular content area of concern like workplace discrimination and competence to stand trial (Scott, 2010, p. 48). Additionally, relevant jurisdictional considerations like the definition of insanity, in order for a person to possess the ability to interact appropriately with attorneys, judges, as well as other legal professionals. A significant characteristic of forensic psychology is the capacity to testify in court with the court as an adept or expert witness, reformatting psychological results and findings into the appropriate legal language of a courtroom.

For forensic psychologists to be considered credible witnesses, they must comprehend the rules, standards, and philosophy of the judicial system. The main thing to understand is the adversarial system. Rules concerning hearsay evidence must also be understood along with the most important, the exclusionary rule. Forensic psychologist may be trained in organizational, social, clinical or any other area of psychology.

The criminal justice system generally asks forensic neuropsychologists to appear and act as expert witnesses in trials in court to argue cases that involve matters with brain damage or the brain. They may also handle matters over whether a person may be legally capable to stand trial. The criminal justice system may call in forensic psychologists in order to offer sentencing recommendations or treatment recommendations as well as any other information a judge may request, like information concerning mitigating factors, evaluation of future risk including assessment of witness credibility. Forensic psychology likewise involves evaluating and training police or other kinds of law enforcement employees, giving law enforcement criminal profiles and other ways of working with police departments.

b) Pathology

Forensic pathology...


Essentially, the forensic pathologist is a medical doctor that finished training and is educated in anatomical pathology. Forensic pathologists specialized during their academic phase in forensic pathology. Requirements for achieving the status of forensic pathologist differ from nation to nation (Prahlow & Byard, 2012).

Typically, forensic pathologist perform autopsies/postmortem examinations in order to determine cause of death. Their completed autopsy report contains opinions concerning the pathologic process, disease, or injury. This information directly results in/begins a series of events of what most likely lead to an individual's death. This is also called mechanism of death. Some common mechanisms of death are a bullet wound shot to the head, exsanguination caused by a fatal stab wound, ligature or manual strangulation, myocardial infarction (heart attack) resulting from heart disease and so forth (Prahlow & Byard, 2012, p. 12).

The "manner of death" (the conditions surrounding the person's cause of death) in the majority of jurisdictions include:

1. Homicide

2. Natural

3. Suicide

4. Accidental

5. Undetermined

The autopsy additionally offers a chance for other concerns raised by the death to be discussed, such as the gathering of trace evidence/identifying the deceased. Forensic pathologists also examines and document wounds and injuries. They do this for both at autopsy as well as sporadically in a clinical setting.

Forensic pathologists also collect and examine tissue specimens with the aid of a microscope (histology) to ascertain the absence or presence of natural disease including other microscopic findings like asbestos bodies in a person's lungs, even gunpowder particles surrounding a gunshot wound. They collect and interpret toxicological studies on body tissues as well as fluids to help determine the chemical cause of considered accidental overdoses or on the other spectrum, deliberate poisonings. These kinds of specialists also work side by side with the medico-legal authority in terms of investigating sudden and unexpected deaths.

c) Anthropology

Forensic anthropology much like regular anthropology, is the application of the science of anthropology as well as its numerous subfields, including (Physical) Biological Anthropology and (Ethnology, Linguistics, Archeology) Cultural Anthropology in a legal background. The adjective "forensic" denotes to the application of forensic anthropology in judicial settings both civil and criminal. The most common applications for anthropology are human biology and physical anthropology used in criminal cases concerning government organizations like the FBI, the military or CIA. When forensic anthropologists examine the victim's remains, they are in advanced stages of decay.

Forensic physical anthropologists aid in the identification of dead persons whose remains are decayed, burned, damaged or otherwise unrecognizable. The cultural anthropology aspect is demonstrated as follows: area experts elucidate the cultural framework of criminal behavior defined as ethnographic interpretation or as "cultural defense." Forensic anthropological methods can be utilized in the retrieval and examination of human remains (Stefoff, 2011, p. 112). Forensic anthropological analysis evaluates the age, stature, sex, ancestry, as well as evidence for an approximation of the major geographical lineage of the person, as well as decide if violent trauma, accidental cause, or a disease affected the individual before or at the time of death.

A forensic anthropologist frequently works in conjunction with homicide investigators, forensic pathologists, and odontologists, to identify a decedent, determine evidence of trauma, as well as conclude the postmortem interim. Though they normally lack the lawful authority to affirm the official cause of a person's death, (forensic pathologists do this) their opinions are taken into attention by the medical examiner. Forensic anthropologists may also testify as expert witnesses in court. Information from some uncommonly used methods, like forensic facial reconstruction; remain inadmissible as forensic evidence within the United States.

d) Criminalistics

Criminalistics is separated into various techniques. One such application is the palm print, which refers to an image attained of the palm area of the hand. The image can be either an offline image done with ink or an online one taken by a CCD or a scanner (Engdahl, 2011, p. 22). It differs from the fingerprint because it covers other information like indents, texture, and marks that can be utilized when comparing a palm to another. People use palm prints for several applications: criminal, commercial, or forensic. Palm prints, usually from the butt of the palm, have been frequently found at crime scenes because of the result of the criminal's gloves slipping for the duration of the order of the crime, and thus revealing part of the vulnerable hand.

Glove prints or glove marks, are covert, fingerprint-like imprints that are shifted to a surface/object by a person wearing gloves (Saferstein, 2001, p. 34). Numerous criminals habitually wear gloves to circumvent leaving fingerprints, making the crime investigation all the more problematic. Although gloves act as a way to hide the wearer's prints, the actual gloves themselves may leave prints just as unique as a person's human fingerprints, therefore revealing the wearer. After gathering glove prints, police officers and other…

Sources Used in Documents:


Engdahl, S. (2011). Forensic technology. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.

Evett, I. (2015). The logical foundations of forensic science: towards reliable knowledge. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 370(1674), 20140263. doi:10.1098/rstb.2014.0263

Gianelli, P. (2010). Daubert and Forensic Science: The Pitfalls of Law Enforcement Control of Scientific Research. University Of Illinois Law Review, 2011(1), 1.

Prahlow, J., & Byard, R. (2012). Atlas of forensic pathology. New York: Springer.

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