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Presentation on theme: "Forensic Science CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION."— Presentation transcript:


2 Learning Objectives Describe how the scientific method is used to solve forensic problems. Provide examples of the growth and development of forensic science through history. Understand the relationship between our legal system and prosecution of criminals.

3 What is forensic science?
The study and the application of science to matters of law.

4 Criminology Includes the psychological angle: studying the crime scene for motive, traits, and behavior that will help to interpret the evidence

5 So what does a crime lab look like?
Physical science unit Chemistry Physics Geology Biology unit Firearms and ballistics unit Document examination unit Photography unit The most common types of evidence examined are drugs, firearms, and fingerprints.

6 What specialties are found in a crime lab?
Forensic pathology Forensic anthropology Forensic entomology Forensic psychiatry Forensic odontology Forensic engineering Cybertechnology Geology Environmental science Palynology Polygraphy Voiceprint analysis


8 Federal Crime Labs FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigation
DEA: Drug Enforcement Agency ATF: Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms USPS: United States Postal Service U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Department of Homeland Security Department of the Treasury

9 Scientific Method in forensic science
Observe a problem or questioned evidence and collect objective data. Consider a hypothesis or possible solution. Examine, test, and then analyze the evidence. Determine the significance of the evidence. Formulate a theory based on evaluation of the significance of the evidence.

10 The Locard’s Principle
Locard's principle holds that the perpetrator of a crime will bring something into the crime scene and leave with something from it, and that both can be used as forensic evidence.

11 Criminal justice and the law
Statutory law passed by bodies such as Congress. Based on the Constitution. Common law based on judicial opinions or precedents Civil law based on non criminal suits to preserve individual or civil rights Criminal law concerned with offenses against an individual that are not acceptable to society Misdemeanor = minor crime – minor possession of drugs Felony = major crime such as murder

12 The Bill of Rights Guarantees;
Presumed innocent until proven guilty Not to be searched unreasonably Not to be arrested without probable cause Against unreasonable seizure of personal property Against self-incrimination To fair questioning by police To protection from physical harm throughout the justice process To an attorney To trial by jury To know any charges against oneself

13 Steps in pursuing justice
Miranda rights – police must inform arrestees that they have the right to remain silent and a right to an attorney. Steps involved in court cases Arraignment – defendant hears charges and enters plea Evidentiary hearing – evidence presented and charges filed or dismissed. Grand jury decides whether to indict Plea bargain – a defendant pleads guilty in return for a lesser charge

14 Admissibility of Evidence
Evidence must be probative (must prove something. Hearsay is inadmissible. The Daubert Ruling – used mostly in federal courts The judge decides if the evidence can be entered into the trial. Admissibility is determined by: Whether the theory or technique can be tested Whether the science has been offered for peer review Whether the rate of error is acceptable Whether the method at issue enjoys widespread acceptance Whether the theory or technique follows standards

15 Key Vocabulary terms Criminalistics Probable cause
Evidence Miranda rights Forensics Arraignment Pathology Grand jury Entomology Indict Odontology Probative Toxicology Arson Locard Principle Hearsay Criminal law Expert witness Civil Law Frye Standard Misdemeanor Daubert ruling/Junk science Felony

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