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Lecture 1

FSCI 1010U Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Gunshot Residue, Forensic Toxicology, Postgraduate Education


School
UOIT
Department
Forensic-Science
Course Code
FSCI 1010U
Professor
Nelson Lafreniere
Lecture
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Forensic Science Lecture 1 01.13.16
Orientation and History
A Brief History of Forensic Science
What is Forensic Science?
oScience used in legal investigations
Chemistry
Biology
Physics
Computer science
Medicine
Pharmacology (how drugs and poisons interact with the body)
Anthropology/Archaeology
Marine science
Psychology
oThe intersection of science and law
What Forensic Science is not:
oPrime-time television shows like CSI have greatly increased the public’s
awareness off the use of science in criminal and civil investigations
oBut it has also created some unrealistic expectations
Procedures that in reality could take days, weeks, months, or even years
take only minutes on TV
Every crime scene yields forensic evidence that supports a case – this is
not always true
oThe unrealistic – and detrimental – expectation that a prosecutor’s case should
always be bolstered by forensic evidence is known as the “CSI effect”
Juries place a lot of weight on forensic evidence
A Timeline of Forensic Science
Pre-700 B.C. – Fingerprints are used on clay tablets for business in ancient Babylon
287-21 B.C. – Archimedes talks about being able to prove the crown was not made of
gold using density and buoyancy
1235-1248 A.D. – First recorded application of medicine to help solve crimes
1447 A.D. Missing teeth used to identify remains
1590 A.D. First optical microscope is developed
Mid-19th Century is when forensic science began to coalesce as a recognized discipline
Key People
oVictor Balthazard (1852-1950), French
oAlphonse Bertillon (1853 – 1914), French
oSir Francis Galton (1822-1911), English
oCalvin Goddard (1891-1955), American
oHans Gross (1847-1915), Austrian
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Forensic Science Lecture 1 01.13.16
oEdmond Locard (1877-1966), French
oMathieu Orfla (1787-1853), Spanish/French
(Most of these people were generalists rather than specialists)
Victor Balthazard
Victor Balthazard (1852 – 1950), French
oMedical examiner in Paris – helped to advance fingerprint, firearm, and hair
analysis
Probability models for fingerprints – 1 chance in 1060 that two people had
the same fingerprints
Photographic methods of comparing bullet markings
Firing pin and fabric impressions of a soft lead bullet moving
through fabrics
oWrote the first comprehensive book on hair analysis entitled – The Hair of Man
and Animals (1910)
Alphonse Bertillon
Alphonse Bertillon (1853 – 1914), French
oDeveloped the first systematic method for the identification of suspects and
criminals
Called Anthropometry or Bertillonage
Based on 11 body measurements
Descriptive information
Photographs
Fingerprints not commonly collected
oCommonly used from 1883 to early 1900s
oDespite initial resistance to fingerprint use, Bertillon was the first person to use
them to solve a crime
Sir Francis Galton
Sir Francis Galton (1822 – 1911), English
oFirst classification system for fingerprints
Basic Patterns: Loop, Arch, and Whorl
oPublished Finger Prints in 1892 which helped bring fingerprinting to the forefront
of criminal identification
Still considered a primary reference in the field
Edmond Locard
Dr. Edmond Locard (1877 – 1966), French
oTrained in both law and medicine
oEstablished a Forensic laboratory in Lyon, France
oInterested in microscopic and trace evidence
Believed that it was crucial in linking people to places
oMost famous for Locard’s Exchange Principle
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Forensic Science Lecture 1 01.13.16
Usually paraphrased as ‘every contact leaves a trace’
Science and the Law Today
Law: A way to settle disputes
Can settle disputes between individuals and the state (criminal law) or among individuals
or entities (civil law)
Guided by the law, precedent, and functions using an adversarial system
oTwo opposing sides arguing for acceptance
oIs outcome based
The finder of fact or trier of fact usually a judge or jury determines the
“truth” based on evidence presented by two opposing sides
Science: A way to study the natural world
Science enables us to ask basic questions:
oHow did the Earth form?
oWhat governs the property of matter?
oWhat was the cause of death?
Science helps us answer these questions using observation, testing and interpretation
through logic
oScientific method is at the heart of answering questions
A good forensic scientist practices good science
oA good forensic scientist doesn’t care about the truth, they care about the evidence
Scientific Definitions
Hypothesis: a tentative explanation for an observation, phenomenon, or scientific
problem that can be tested by further investigation
oIt is a testable idea, not simply an “educated guess”. It is a well thought out
experiment
Scientific theory: explanation of some aspect of the natural world that has been
substantiated through repeated experiments or testing
oIt is an explanation, not just a hunch or guess
oCan be supported, rejected, or modified based on new evidence
Fact:
oA confirmed or agreed-upon empirical observation or conclusion.
oKnowledge or information based on real occurrences.
“… It is just a theory”
Referring to evolution as a theory is incorrect, because evolution is a scientific fact
oAn objective, verifiable observation that is the same everywhere
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