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Criminal Identification Procedures in the 21st Century

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Criminal Identification Procedures in the 21st Century
Within the criminal justice system many technological advances exist to assist law enforcement officials in identifying a criminal suspect. The technological advances that continue to assist the criminal justice system in these identifications are Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) analysis, biometric identification, Intra-agency databases for DNA, fingerprinting and palm printing, and camera and wiretap surveillance. Each aspect serves a specific purpose in making certain that the right person is properly identified for the crimes that they commit. Each technological aspect makes certain that the criminal justice system can prove without a doubt that the person under arrest is the person responsible for committing the crime.
Criminal Identification Procedures
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) analysis is an examination method that allows any organism to be identified, by its genetic sequences. DNA analysis is highly accurate, important, and used all across the world for important reasons. The main purpose for DNA analysis is identifying individuals who are suspects in criminal cases, identifying victims or their remains when other means of identity is not possible. The advantages of DNA analysis are reliable, accurate results, and helps solving old and new cases. The disadvantage of DNA analysis is it reveals information on physical state, this information is sensitive and must be guarded.
Biometric Identification is a system based around the main physical characteristics of the human body such as finger print identification, hand geometry, palm vein authentication, retina scan, iris scan, face recognition, signature, and voice analysis. The advantage is unique the information for each individual can be identified in spite of length of time. The disadvantage is the biometric information can be stolen if it is stored on a computer. Some biometric identification systems can be beaten with a copy of a fingerprint or eye. Someone who understands the technology can fabricate a copy from the owner's biometric information and access the computer system (Wade, H. 2012).
Intra-agency databases for DNA is a technology tool that stores hair, semen, blood and other sources of DNA into the database. This technology is beneficial to victims, families, and people who have been falsely accused of committing crimes. The advantages are DNA evidence will appear in the national database such as hair, blood and semen. Now the DNA is stored in the database it will show up at any time. The disadvantages dates back to crimes committed before the technological advancements were in effect. There are many people who have been incarcerated for years and sentenced to death row, who never had the chance to be cleared of the crime.
Finger print and palm print is the most-relied upon technology to positively identifying and liking individuals to criminal history and background records. The advantages are the electronic fingerprint and palm images allow rapid search of prints in extremely large databases with existing fingerprint and palm print records. The disadvantages are the current technologies can be difficult using, often times fingerprint and palm prints can produce poor quality. Camera and wiretap surveillance are electronic devices that keep watch over people to detect and gather information on suspicious and dangerous individuals who are involved in organizations. Wiretapping intercepts oral communications; camera surveillance is visual equipment to photograph individuals. The advantages of cameras are they deter crime from occurring, and also help capture criminals that commit crimes. The disadvantages are in society many view it as an invasion of privacy and a camera is a lead in a crime until discovered by law enforcement it is dysfunctional, broken, or did not catch the actual crime on tape. The advantage of wiretapping is it provides audio evidence under circumstances in conversation no actual person should be listening. The disadvantage is audibility; the sound can be variable or sometimes inaudible.
Perspective of Due Process There are a set rules and steps that law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges must adhere to. The first involves law enforcement interrogating, searches and making a lawful arrest which consist of probable cause and facts. This is where many television shows mislead the public by making them believe what they see are the facts. Suspect interview that are conducted by police officers cannot take place without an individual being advised of his or her legal rights. The person that is being charged has the right to either request or decline counsel and does not have to answer any questions asked by the police. There are situations where the accused will give up and tell the police everything. This seldom happens because the normal person does not want to admit guilt. Even when a suspect does admit to a crime, there are still criminal procedures to follow. If this would happen then the prosecuting attorney will offer the suspect a plea bargain. This is a good example of how both sides can work together and still gain. The second stage involves the granting of bail and the pre-trial motions. This gives the individual the right for due process. Pre-trial motions are used to establish grounds for the alleged charges. This is put into place to protect the rights of the public and to justify the actions of the prosecution. The third stage is the formal charging by the prosecution in the court of law. At this point the individual is within his or her right to make a plea. By this stage, the defense and prosecution has already agreed upon a set punishment. This happens about ninety percent of time as it helps keep cost down.
The fourth stage would depend on whether or not the defendant has decided to go to trial and it would involve either a jury trial or a judge. A jury or judge will determine guilt or innocence. Lastly, we have the last and final stage where the defendant will be sentenced according to the law or plea. It also provides the victims an opportunity to be heard in a court of law.
Perspective of Crime Control
The effects these advancements have in the criminal justice are huge. With systems that are able to identify DNA, biometric identification, intra-agency databases for DNA, fingerprint and palm print identification, and surveillance cameras which also include wiretaps. Criminal control has become easier and also more effective in finding out the facts of crimes that have occurred. In the past, police had to rely on clues and eye witness accounts. They never had a definitive answer and could never match people to crimes through DNA or fingerprints. With the advancements of these systems, the police are able to locate DNA at the scene of murder, collect it, and then put the DNA into the intra-agency database to find a match. With this system, the police can locate a person immediately through DNA. Also, DNA samples are extremely accurate and the chances of a DNA match being wrong are 350 million to 1. The process is simple; take two samples, one from the suspect and one from the scene of a crime. These samples can be through skin tissue, hair, blood, semen or vaginal fluid. The sample is then extracted and then studied and compared. The process is simple and accurate.
Systems such as surveillance cameras and wiretaps play a huge role in taking down huge crime circles and are extremely important for law enforcement usage. Drug operations are a huge part of our world today and it is essential for law enforcement to gather as much information as possible when dealing with these types of organizations. The more intel that is gathered, the stronger a case the police have. With these advancements in technology, the police are able to make correct arrests and convictions. With video and wiretaps of suspects discussing the crimes on a recording, it provides an extremely strong case against the criminal.
These advancements in technology keep innocent people out of jail, for the most part. It also helps the police build strong cases and convict the right suspects. There are still errors within the systems and mistakes do happen but technology is at an all time high and I believe it will only continue to advance further and further as time goes on.

References:
Wade, H. (2012). Disadvantages to Biometric Identification Systems .retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/list_5969015_disadvantages-biometric-identification-systems.html
Schmalleger, F.(2010). Criminal law today: An introduction with capstone cases. (4th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall

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