Lecture #2

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Published on 27 Sep 2011
School
UTM
Department
Forensic Science
Course
FSC360H5
Professor
September 13th 2011
Lecture # 2
Forensic Science
Forensic science is the use of science in the service of the law. Any science
can be applied into a legal situation.
Today we refer to forensics as "the analysis and interpretation of evidence
that is a part of a legal investigative process"
Sciences used in forensics include any discipline that can aid in the detection,
collection, preservation and analysis of evidence
-biology, toxicology, engineering (test reliability of machines)
Why is Forensic Science Important?
Analysis of forensic evidence is used in the investigation of civil and criminal
proceedings
-often, it can help to establish the guilt or innocence of possible suspects.
Forensic evidence is also used to link crimes that are thought to be related to
one another. For example, DNA evidence can link one offender to several
different crimes or crime scenes (or exonerate the accused).
Advances in Science
Forensic scientists also work on developing new techniques and procedures
for the collection and analysis of evidence. In this manner, new technology can
be used and refined not only to keep forensic scientist on the cutting edge of
science, but to maintain the highest standard of quality and accuracy.
-most labs are concerned with accreditation, approved by higher authority.
(recorded, validated and accredited)
Who Provides Forensic Analysis?
Forensic analysis is usually carried out by experts working individually or in
teams. Advanced techniques often require laboratories where the investigative
conditions can be carefully controlled and monitored.
Usually they will have a minimum of a four year degree; a forensic biologist
will have a B.Sc. in biology, biochemistry, molecular biology or some similar
field, a forensic chemist and a forensic questioned documents examiner will
normally have a B.Sc. in Chemistry and a forensic toxicologist will usually have a
B.Sc. in pharmacy or biochemistry. Once accepted into the forensic lab, the
successful applicant then undergoes an understudy period of 9-12 months,
depending on area.
- usually time of training is between 1-2 years. Not working with case work
for the first year, and after that working on cases but under the supervision of
a leader.
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Forensic Laboratories
Forensic scientists work in the Crime Labs. Some of these are police labs,
such as the RCMP labs across the country (6 labs) and some are independent
from the police, such as CFS, and the Labratoire de sciences judiciaires et de
medecine legale.
Forensic scientists do not collect evidence, interrogate suspects, or make
arrests. In Canada, they simply process evidence.
The Forensic Specialists
Forensic biology (dna)
forensic chemistry (bombs)
forensic toxicology (blood)
Questioned documents examiner (curracy)
Firearms and tool mark examiner (GSR)
Others:
Forensic entomology (bugs)
forensic anthropology (remains)
forensic odontology (dental)
forensic botany (plants)
The Role of the Forensic Scientist
The forensic scientists’ role often includes work in a laboratory, examining
and analysing evidence with tools and techniques specific to his/her specialty.
Depending on the specialty, the forensic scientist may use certain tools that are
standard in many labs, Examples include tools such as, chromatographs,
spectrographs and scanning electron microscopes.
There are also tasks that are more particular to forensic science. Often, this
may involve analysis done with or through software or database interfaces
(CODIS & IAFIS).
Expert Witness Testimony
Both the prosecution and the defence in criminal trials and both the
defendant and the plaintiff in civil trials may call for a FORENSIC EXPERT
WITNESS TESTIMONY. Findings or opinions of forensic expert witnesses may
either be presented as reports, or they may be asked to appear in court. There is
special training available for forensic scientists who are going to be asked to
make court appearances.
An expert witness is considered qualified to offer expert witness testimony
when he has specialised education, training, knowledge, experience, and skills
that are relevant to a court case.
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Document Summary

Forensic science is the use of science in the service of the law. Why is forensic science important: analysis of forensic evidence is used in the investigation of civil and criminal proceedings. Often, it can help to establish the guilt or innocence of possible suspects. Forensic evidence is also used to link crimes that are thought to be related to one another. For example, dna evidence can link one offender to several different crimes or crime scenes (or exonerate the accused). Forensic scientists also work on developing new techniques and procedures for the collection and analysis of evidence. In this manner, new technology can be used and refined not only to keep forensic scientist on the cutting edge of science, but to maintain the highest standard of quality and accuracy. Most labs are concerned with accreditation, approved by higher authority. (recorded, validated and accredited) Forensic analysis is usually carried out by experts working individually or in teams.