CRJS 370 Criminalistics and Crime Analyisis Notes Chapters 1-3.docx

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Virginia Commonwealth University
Criminal Justice
CRJS 370
Lindsey Wallace

Criminalistics and Crime Analysis Chapters 1-3 Chapter 1 Forensic Science – application of science to criminal and civil laws Criminalistics – scientific study and evaluating of physical evidence in commission of crimes History Alphonse Bertillion – devised first scientific system of personal ID in 1879 Francis Galton – conducted first definitive study of fingerprints and their classification “fingerprints” Leone Lattes – developed a procedure to determine blood type from dried bloodstains Calvin Goddard – used a comparison microscope to determine if a particular gun fired a bullet Edmund Locard – Locard’s Exchange Principle Walter McCrone – utilized microscopy and other analytical methodologies to examine evidence The Crime Lab Right now, there are over public crime labs that operate at various levels of government-federal, state, county, and municipal Rapid growth and lack of national/regional planning and coordination Technical Support Physical science unit – uses chemistry, physics, geology Biology Unit – blood samples, body fluids, hair, fiber, samples Firearms Unit – discharged bullets, shotgun shells, ammunition, cartridge cases Document Unit – handwriting analysis Photographic Unit – record/examine physical evidence Skills of a Forensic Scientist May provide expert testimony Expert witness – individual whom the court determines possesses knowledge relevant to the trial that is not expected of the average person Applies principles/techniques of the physical and natural sciences to analysis of many types of evidence during criminal investigation The Frye Standard Frye vs US: set guidelines for determining the admissibility of scientific evidence into the courtroom To meet Frye standard, evidence in question must be “generally accepted” by the scientific community 1993 Daubert vs Merrell Dow Pharm Inc. – USSC said Frye Standard not an absolute prerequisite to admissibility of evidence Trial judges are the ultimate “gatekeepers” for admissibility and validity of evidence presented in their courts, as well as expert testimony Daubert: USSC gave guidelines as to how a judge can gauge scientific evidence 1. Whether the scientific techniques or theory can be (has been) tested 2. Whether the technique or theory has been subjected to the peer review and publication 3. The technique’s potential rate of error 4. Existence and maintenance of standards controlling the technique’s operation 5. Whether the scientific theory or method has attracted widespread acceptance within a relevant scientific community Special Forensic Science Services -Forensic Psychiatry -Forensic Odontology -Computer Science -Forensic Engineering Crime Lab Capabilitites -Analysis of evidence can be no better than the samples submitted -Investigator has vital role to play in success of lab examinations -Effectiveness of crime labs and services performed are measured by: quality, proximity, timeliness Databanking and CODIS Legislation requires databanking of DNA evidence of convicted offenders National investigation support database developed by FBI called CODIS(Combined DNA Index System) The CSI Effect TV creates unrealistic expectation Produces unrealistic expectations that every crime scene y
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