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Forensic Science in the 21st Century

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Forensic Science in the 21st Century
Gertrude West
Forensic Science and Psychological Profiling /CJA590
May 30, 2011
Edward Baker

Forensic Science in the 21st Century Forensic science has various influences on crime, investigation and the people that are involved. Forensic science has a connection with the courts to ensure crimes are getting solved and justice is being served to those that commit crimes. With the help of forensic science, crimes are being solved from a human and technological aspect. This paper highlights numerous discussions on how forensic science plays a role in criminal justices system, security, media and the law. Forensic science is a separate entity from the police; although a large portion of the work is obtains through law enforcement. Forensic science is a recognizable component of policing during criminal investigation. The successful resolution from a crime scene involves preventing the site from being contaminated. This helps assures a great deal of gathering and interpreting evidence that could lead to an accurate interpretation of the event. The advances in technology are being applied to forensic science; a field in which technical is achieved by many factors such as including training, experience, continued education, and scientific methodology (NYSP, 2007). Forensic Science continues to develop in the 21st Century. It blends science and technology that has been useful for law enforcement to solve crimes and prosecute criminals. Forensic sciences in criminal investigations include but are not limited to: bioscience, trace evidence, toxicology, photography, documentation, forensic imagery, forensic ID and SAFIS, evidence receiving, drug chemistry and ballistics. In addition, private forensic laboratories, such as Applied Forensics, are contracted and employed to assist in the judicial process in the analysis of documents in question and handwriting analysis (Davis, 2006). One of the biggest things that criminal investigators and officers will look for at a crime scene is DNA. DNA can be gathered not just only through blood but through any type of fluids as well. According to Blackman (2011), “DNA analysis is one of the main tools used in forensic science to identify individuals. Crime laboratories undertaking DNA typing are typically concerned with comparing DNA evidence with known standards. The evidence is DNA samples collected from a crime scene and these are cross-matched against DNA swabs taken from anyone connected to that scene, be that victims, defendants or elimination ‘known’s’. The elimination known’s can come from the victims’ relatives, for example, or, if it’s a shared house, from tenants. The comparisons are made, not only to generate and compile evidence against suspects, but also to exclude people from the investigation.” The development and applications of forensic scince suppors operation aimed at prevention, disruption, and prosecution of terrorism. The discipline helps support intelligence and investigation. Thiss component is now incorporated into homeland Security, A pattern of legal instances benefiting from this type of scientific study would be medical malpractice litigation, probate proceedings, complex and commercial legal action and contract lawsuits. According to Shelton (2010), “Forensic Science in Court explores the legal implications of forensic science--an increasingly important and complex part of the justice system. Judge Donald Shelton provides an accessible overview of the legal issues, from the history of evidence in court, to gatekeeper judges determining what evidence can be allowed, to the CSI effect in juries.” The media has the potential of affecting the way people think. People disregard their perception based on scenarios presented. Popular media representation of forensic science and influential presence on the public’s opinion on justice-related issues, the effect that impeccable synchronicity of the investigator and successful outcomes portrayed in fictional arenas are contemporaneous with the public’s feelings. Dissatisfied with the criminal justice system not solving cases fast enough, the public then places astronomical expectations on medical examiners. Real life investigators believing that a lack of competency may be at play when in reality, society has been provided a distorted view of the lengthy, painstaking process involved. According to Nurse Advocacy (2007), “People disregard all messages in advertising, since ads commonly present actors and models, but that is simply not how the human mind works. Despite being fiction, media products like this can still influence: our views of the vehicle in question (as the advertiser fervently hopes); the ability of women today to become authoritative, powerful professionals, yet to still have a family (presumably this ad was directed mainly at women who would identify with the surgeon); the basic set-up of OR's, the kinds of professionals who participate, how they dress, and what tools they use; and of course, the relative power, knowledge and professional roles of physicians and nurses. Some of this may be unintended, but all of it sells the minivan to the target demographic. All of the elements above contribute to the high credibility of the surgeon, who is, after all, doing the selling.” In this manner media also increase the knowledge of those that are committing crimes, what they may not have been doing before they are doing it now. For example if they were not wearing gloves and using cell phones that cannot be trace, paying for things in cash instead of electronically, they are sure doing this now. Television crime shows gives potential jurors the expectation of more cateforical proof than that which forensic scine is capable of produciing. “The most obvious symptom of the CSI effect is that jurors think they have a thorough understanding of science they have seen presented on television, when they do not” (Economist, 2010 ). Scientist deals more with probability than certainty. The process of calculating the probability is complex. During a court preceding a finger print expert may acknowledge a 90% chance of obtaining a match if a defendant left a print. On the other hand it could be one in several billion chance of a match if someone other than the defendant left the mark. DNA in general provides evidence of a higher quality than other forms of proof; therefore, experts may be more confident to link results to a specific individual. The probabilities and not certainties still lie within the DNA findings. As a result, trials are longer and cases that previously might have offer quick convictions are now ending in acquittals. The CSI effect can also be positive. “In one case in Virginia jurors asked the judge if a cigarette butt had been tested for possible DNA matches to the defendant in a murder trial. It had, but the defense lawyers had failed to introduce the DNA test results as evidence. When they did, those results exonerated the defendant, who was acquitted” (Economist, 2010 ). In the study of forensic science, there are so many things that people do not know. The intelligence of this subject is becoming more and more prominent. In this manner people are becoming more educated in a good way (knowledge) and also in a bad way (committing crimes with the less possibility of getting caught). This subject matter is very prominent because it also increasing the knowledge of different crimes that may have not been prominent before the use of technology to now. The creation computers were for those to store office files and important information, but now computers are being used in so many different aspect as far as pornography, the promotion of sex, and so many other things. Technology has not become a door way to so many things. This makes forensic science become more and more prominent in this day in age, because there are computers hackers trying to access files to find out what is Americas next move and sometimes just the simple things of stealing others identification. In this manner that forensic has a connection with the courts, it is very important that this type of connection stays going due to the drive that it connects to ensure crimes are getting solved and justice is being served to those that are committing these crimes.

Reference
Blackman, G. (2011). Criminal Investigation.Forensic. Retrieved from http://www.scientific-computing.com/features/feature.php?feature_id=225
Davis, G. (2006). Forensic medicine in the 21st century: A realistic view of our changing science. Retrieved from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3725/is_200609/ai_n16717323
NCJRS (2009). Strenghthening Forensic Science In the United States: A Path Forward. Retreived from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/228091.pdf
NYSP (2007). Modern Forensics: 21st Century. Retrieved from http://troopers.ny.gov/forensic_science/Forensic_Science_History/The_21st_Century/
Shelton, D. (2010). Forensic Science in Court: Challenges in the Twenty First Century. Lanham, MD : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
The Center of Nurse Advocacy (2007, January). How does the media affect how people think? Retrieved from http://www.nursingadvocacy.org/faq/media_affects_thinking.html
The Economist (2010). Forensic Science: CSI Affect. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/node/15949089?story_id=15949089

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