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Intro to Forensic Science - D. Scott
Transcript of Intro to Forensic Science - D. Scott
Famous People in Forensic Science
Forensic Science derives from a word meaning "of the forum". In Roman times many arguments and public hearings were made in a public forum.
The Innocence Project - was founded in 1992 (25th Anniversary) by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University to assist prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing.
To date, 351 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 20 who served time on death row. These people served an average of 14 years in prison before exoneration and release.
Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in nearly 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing
What are the Miranda Rights?
Came about in 1966 in the Supreme Court case of Miranda vs Arizona. The Miranda warning is intended to protect the suspect’s Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer self-incriminating questions.
The Crime Scene
Locard's Exchange Principle
from Dr. Edmond Locard.
This principle states that when someone comes in contact with another person or object a cross transfer of physical material can occur.
2 General Types of Evidence
Direct - testimony by a witness
about what that witness heard,
saw, or did. Video, Tape recordings,
and confessions are all examples.
This is also called trace evidence.
It is either Physical evidence like fingerprints or biological evidence such as blood or hairs.
2 Characteristics of Circumstantial Evidence
Individual Evidence - Individual characteristics are those that are unique to a single person or a specific item that only one person can possess
Class Evidence - Any characteristics that are common to a group.
The Seven S's of Crime Scene Investigation
1. Secure the Scene
It's the PRIMARY responsibility of the first responder to secure the scene and maintain the safety of all individuals in the area and then the preservation of evidence.
2. Seperate the Witnesses
Not allowing witnesses to talk helps
detectives piece together the story and acquire details.
Rashomon Effect - contradictory interpretations of the same event by different people.
3. Scanning the Scene
To determine where photos should be taken and if the scene is a primary or secondary crime scene.
4. Seeing the Scene
Take photos of the scene starting with a wide view to a more detailed view.
5. Sketching the Crime Scene
Include the following on a sketch:
1. Positions of evidence and bodies must be
2. Measure objects from 2 points.
3. Label North. Include a Scale.
4. Assign each piece of evidence a number/letter and list it in a legend.
6. Searching for Evidence
: an up and back criss-crossing method that is very time consuming.
is often used in large areas where many people can walk side by side.
can be useful in investigating houses, buildings and vehicles. Everyone is assigned a zone.
can be used for large outdoor areas with few obstructions. This method is sometimes used in open water.
7. Securing and Collecting Evidence
All evidence needs to be properly packaged, sealed, and labeled. Specific procedure and techniques for evidence collection and storage must be followed.
CHAIN OF CUSTODY
1 Find and Bag the evidence. Properly label and seal.
2. Collectors signature goes across the seal.
3. The evidence is then given to the next person responsible who then takes it to a technician.
4. Technician opens the evidence for examination at a location other than the original seal.
5. Upon completion of the examination, the evidence is then placed back in the original bag and is then resealed in new packaging and is signed once again.
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”
Ronald Cotton was wrongfully accused of the sexual assault of Jennifer Thompson. His conviction later overturned after spending 10.5 years in prison. Cotton was compensated 110,000 dollars from the state of North Carolina. Finally, arrested Bobby Poole, a serial rapist, in the case.
Bobby Poole, left, and Ronald Cotton.
In 2004, The Justice For All Act was passed compensating wrongfully accused individuals the sum of $50,000 a year for each year incarcerated. The sum is double for those on death row.