Free Essay

Forensic Testimony in Court

In: Other Topics

Submitted By Dredder17
Words 1538
Pages 7
Examine Forensic Testimony Forensic evidence has become more and more important in the court case for proving the guilt or innocence of a criminal defendant. Due to new technology the world of forensics is becoming more and more advanced providing law enforcement with all types of new investigatory tools and ways for the court to prove or disprove guilt. It is essential for law enforcement agencies to have trained forensic personnel with the skills to properly collect the evidence first to ensure the evidence does not become lost, destroyed, or damaged and the forensic evidence is accepted in a court of law. Improper collection of evidence is only one of many potential challenges associated with forensic evidence but it is an important challenge that must be addressed. Forensic evidence is collected at the crime scene. If the evidence is not properly documented and collected it can be found to be unreliable in the court process. In order for forensic evidence to be accepted in a court of law it must be documented through sketches, photographs, and video tapings and it must be collected using accepted standard forensic collection methods. If evidence is not properly documented or collected the chain of evidence is broken and the court will exclude the evidence from the court case. The chain of evidence refers to an important aspect of forensic involving the movement of evidence. In order to show the court the evidence was located and collected at the scene and then taken directly to the lab for analysis as well as being stored properly at the lab there needs to be clear documentation. This starts with photographing the evidence located at the scene and clearly documenting each step of the collection and analysis process. When forensic evidence is presented in court it must be able to meet a specific legal standard before it can be accepted as reliable evidence in a court of law. The legal standard that is applied to testing reliability is either the Frye or Daubert Standard. In the Frye standard forensic evidence must be collected and analyzed employed widely accepted scientific methods. The Daubert standard came after Frye and requires not only that the evidence be collected and analyzed using widely accepted forensic methods, the scientific must be tested using the scientific method, and the evidence must be reliable and relevant. Each state applies a different standard. States with Frye have less of requirement for reliability than states with Daubert. The CSI Effect is the one of the biggest problem facing courts in the 21st Century. Due to shows, such as CSI, showing a glamorized version of the forensic process, juries expect prosecutors and defense attorneys to present forensic evidence, showing guilt or innocence but most of this burden is put on the state not the defense (Vergano, 2011). The truth is most cases are tried and won using circumstantial evidence and most police departments do not have the high tech forensic tools available to television police departments. Prosecutors are tasked with convincing juries to accept circumstantial evidence over the sought after forensic evidence. Juries are hesitant to convict a criminal without forensic evidence, such as DNA, showing they committed the crimes. Shows like CSI constantly tell the audience a criminal suspect cannot be at a crime scene without leaving evidence behind of their presence. When criminal investigators do not find this evidence at the scene or do not have the money to test the thousands or hairs or fibers located at the scene juries are convinced it because of the failures of police and do not convict. Prosecutor Misuse Forensics has brought many benefits but it has also brought many other challenges. There are many issues impacting the presentation of evidence within the court setting. The prosecutor plays an essential role in the criminal justice process. For one they are adversaries of the defense fighting to prove the guilt of the defendant while on the other hand they play a quasi judicial role. Prosecutors have more discretion than any other member of the court. They have the discretion to give any defendant a plea deal or even decide who will be charged and tried. In their quasi judicial role they can abuse their power by misrepresenting forensic evidence. A prosecutor has a duty to seek justice. The duty of the prosecutor is to seek the truth derived from several different sources (Gershman, 2003). The first source is the prosecutor’s obligation to protect the defendant’s due process rights. This means the prosecutor must share all evidence with the defense. Suppressing evidence is misuse of the evidence. The second source is a legal duty to act ethically and not to abuse the extended power of their office. Because prosecutors have greater discretion than other members of the court they must not abuse their power. Since the prosecutor has greater discretion over the evidence it can create a larger concern over the fairness of the process especially in presenting forensic evidence. If the prosecutor present evidence as valid forensic science while knowing the science is not trusted the fact finding process is flawed. Prosecutors must fight for the victims and the community but never use their authority to violate justice in order to win. The prosecutor must be under the same scrutiny as the defense in presenting reliable evidence and ensure the process is not only fair but just. Justice cannot be served if the prosecutor abuses their power by presenting false or misleading forensic evidence.
Judicial rulings regarding forensic science Judges plays the most important role in the presentation of evidence because if judge deems the evidence to be unreliable then it will not be presented in a court of law. The judge will be presented with forensic evidence which will be evaluated based on the Frye of Daubert Standard. As discussed previously the Frye and Daubert standards are the legal standards applied to assessing forensic evidence before it can be presented in the court. The standard applied in the court is dependent on the standard accepted in the state. States with more rigid evidence standards employ Daubert. Even with the Daubert and Frye Standards there are still different application of evidence by judges. One judge may be more lenient in the allowance of forensic evidence while another judge may apply stricter standards. For example in a state with the Frye Standard a judge may accept forensic evidence as widely accepted by scientific community but under the Daubert standard the same evidence would not be acceptable. Bite mark evidence is a good example of evidence accepted by some courts but not by others. When judges accept forensic evidence in one state as reliable and valid but not in another state it creates confusion especially when the case reaches the federal courts. All evidence has a different level of acceptance in courts but especially forensic evidence. Courts that see forensic evidence on a continuous basis will be far more likely to accept that evidence than a judge who has never or rarely sees evidence developed though forensic processes. The difference in acceptance in courts comes into the question the evaluation processes being used by judges. Judges must see through the deceptive practices of some prosecutors and get educated abput the science being presented.
National Framework for Reform of Forensic Science Forensic science has created a new type of evidence collection and analysis practices that assist police in identifying criminal suspects and proving their guilt. The problem with the forensic word is due to new technology it is always changing and evolving requiring an evolution of the acceptance of forensic evidence in court. Standardized methods are essential to ensuring the way evidence is collected and analyzed the same. If the collections and analysis methods are the same every item it will be easier for judges to give the same ruling on the same evidence in every court. In current society this is just not the case. Standardized methods would be beneficial but can be difficult to ensure these methods stay the same. Technology and forensic methods are constantly changing and adapting requiring a different approach (Lissitzen, 2008). In order for these methods to become more standardized the methods for collecting and analyzing the evidence will need to stay the same. This will not happen in the technological revolution with forensic methods constantly becoming more and more effective. Currently collection methods are standardized leading to wider acceptance in courts. This is the same for some forensic analysis methods.
Conclusion
Forensic evidence has forever changed the court process and the types of evidence proving guilt. Through forensic evidence the identity of criminal offender can be determined or the evidence can be used to prove guilt or innocence. In order to ensure forensic evidence is used properly and the evidence is accepted by the judge standardized methods must be developed and employed by all law enforcement agencies.

References
Gershman, B. (2003).Scientific Evidence by Prosecutors. Oklahoma City University Law Review, Vol. 28(1): p.25
Lissitzen, C. (2008). Forensic Evidence in Court. Carolina Academic Press, Durham, North Carolina
Vergano, D. (2011). Judges growing critical of 'CSI' evidence. Retrieved February 23, 2014 from http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2011/05/judges-becoming-more

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Psychology

...​Hypnosis is used in both Clinical and Forensic psychology. Hypnosis has been approved as a valid clinical tool. It helps to open suppressed knowledge to be recalled. Often times this knowledge would not be available in the conscious mind. The hypnotist will place the patient/ client in a hypnotic state and then proceed to ask a series of questions that may trigger memory. There are few problems with hypnosis in clinical psychology, but poses some in forensic psychology. My paper will be asking the question, “ Is hypnosis a valid tool in a court of law?” Forensic psychology uses hypnosis in eyewitness testimony. This can be a positive investigative tool if the hypnotists do an ethical job. There are problems that exist, such as, leading questions. This works similar to a leading question in a court case. In this setting the client is in a vulnerable state of mind, which makes it easier to give false testimony. Another problem that exists is debate in the ability of the conscious mind to be present during hypnosis. Some psychologists say an individual will not say things they don’t want to hypnotize or not. Does hypnosis increase or increase the error rate of a testimony? This is another question raised in forensic psychology. I would also like to explore the judicial laws on hypnosis. The United States have 2/3 of the states legislatively against the use of hypnotism in a court of law. This still leads to conflict as far as individuals Constitutional......

Words: 339 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Forensic Chemist Careers

...Forensic Chemist The trunk of a stolen car smells of decomposed flesh, a pair of Converse high tops with tiny specs of blood spatter are all alone in the back seat of the same car, and a half smoked cigarette rests softly on a freshly mowed lawn next to the driveway. These are clues of a crime scene. Each clue adds up to the story of something terrible. A crime has taken place, and law enforcement is on the scene. Whether it is a detective, county Sheriff or the FBI, the investigators will rely on their forensic teams to link all the pieces of the puzzle that don’t quite fit yet. A Forensic Chemist can make them fit by scientifically analyzing the evidence. Chemistry, biology, materials science, and genetics to analyze clue found at the scene of the crime, on the victims or in the bodies of the bad guys. Forensic Chemists go into a case with many unknow pieces of the crime scene they need to analyze to determine the nature of each sample. Most Forensic Chemists work in a lab. It is rare for private labs to do this kind of work so most of the time these labs are associated with Local, State, or Federal law enforcement agencies. From local Medical Examiner’s labs to state of the art FBI labs, Forensics Chemists often provide the strongest evidence in court against the defendants. They have many different types of test and methods they use to figure out what the samples mean. Each crime scene brings new types of clues and samples so a Forensic Chemist must......

Words: 984 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Forensic Accounting in Practice

...Forensic Accounting In Practice Contemporary Business 508 This paper discusses the role of forensic accounting practices. It takes a look at the skills sets of forensic accountants and the role they play out in the court room. It goes also analyzes the legal responsibilities of a forensic accountant form a professional perspective as their role for expert opinion in the court room. A forensic accountant is someone uses their accounting credibility for investigative or other legal applications, such as corporate acquisition, divorce proceedings, insurance settlements, or other legal purposes (Brody, Melendy, & Perri, 2012). Determine the most important five (5) skills that a forensic accountant needs to possess and evaluate the need for each skill. Be sure to include discussion regarding the relationship between the skill and its application to business operations. The first identifiable important skill for a forensic accountant to posses is investigative intuitiveness. The forensic accountant should possess creative and analytical thinking (DiGabrielle, 2008). According to DiGabrielle, the ability to solve a financial puzzle with an incomplete set of pieces is an extremely important characteristic for forensic accountants (p. 336). The forensic accountant is providing a service to a client for the purpose of expert information as it pertains to legal matters or for the purpose of finding or preventing financial misrepresentation. Their role is not to......

Words: 2600 - Pages: 11

Free Essay

Accounting in Practice

...skills that a forensic accountant needs to possess and evaluate the need for each skill. A forensic accountant assists organizations and individuals chiefly to provide management support in the form of reviews for fraud detection and litigation support, especially through expert witness testimony. In conducting an investigation, a forensic accountant applies specialized skills and technical abilities including: Understanding of law and rules of evidence—A forensic accountant is familiar with criminal and civil law and understands courtroom procedures and expectations. Understanding rules of evidence ensures that all the findings and related documentation is admissible in court. A forensic accountant possesses a basic understanding of the legal process and legal issues. Critical and analytical investigative skills—"An auditor may be a watchdog, but a forensic accountant is a bloodhound!" A forensic accountant must possess a high level of skepticism and the "tenacity of a detective" to thoroughly examine situations for red flags suggesting fraud. Understanding theories, methods, and patterns of fraud abuse—A forensic accountant thinks creatively in order to consider and understand the tactics a fraud perpetrator may use to commit and conceal fraudulent acts. A forensic accountant thinks like the individual who would manipulate accounting records or misrepresent circumstances to defraud the company. Well developed interpersonal and communication skills—A forensic......

Words: 1616 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Lab 1 Week1

...What is Computer Forensics? System forensics is the process of systematically examining computer media as well as network components, software, and memory for evidence. System forensics involves collecting, preserving, analyzing, and documenting evidence to reconstruct user activities. Appropriately collected evidence is often presented in court to solve criminal cases and prosecute criminals. 2. How has technology improved the way criminal investigators perform their job? Technology improved the way criminal investigators perform their jobs by making it easier to track things, there is different types of software out there today to help them with these issues, and make the jobs easier, when you have different technology to help. 3. Why would a company report or not report a compromise case? The reason a company may or may not report a compromise because if it’s not in their favor and they may report it if it’s in their favor and vice versa. They wouldn’t want to look incompetent. 4. Who is in charge of labeling and securing sensitive information? The one in charge of labeling and securing sensitive information is the forensic specialist. 5. What is the Daubert standard? The Daubert Standard provides a rule of evidence regarding the admissibility of expert witnesses' testimony during United States federal legal proceedings. 6. Why would someone use a hex editor in a forensic investigation? The reason someone would use a hex editor in a forensic......

Words: 898 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Criminal Trial

...lack of evidence. The defendant may also plead guilty without trial. Many guilty pleas result from plea negotiations between the prosecutors and defendant or defense attorneys. This pretrial process makes a formal criminal trial unnecessary (Scheb & Sharma, 2013). There are various roles in the criminal trial process, including the judge, the prosecuting attorneys, the jury, and the expert witnesses such as forensic psychologists. The assortment of roles has a high effect on the outcome for the defendant. A prosecutor is responsible for determining what charges to pursue and whether to plea bargain with the defendant. A jury decides a verdict. A judge decides a sentence. A forensic psychologist can influence all of these decisions by serving as an expert witness after their interaction with the defendant. All of these positions involve a great deal of discretion. This work seeks to research existing guidelines for decisions of prosecutors in bringing charges against a defendant, of judges in sentencing a defendant, of forensic psychologists in giving expert testimony, and of all of the court’s interaction with the jury. Do the roles of certain officials working in the criminal justice system effectively work in the court’s best interest? Much discretion is given to these officials to make decisions that affect society, the defendant, and subsequent legislation. These decisions should be enforced to ensure the discretion of these professionals is not abused (Morales,......

Words: 3921 - Pages: 16

Free Essay

Forensic

...Forensic Psychology Abstract: U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael Case (No. 97—1709. Argued December 7, 1998–Decided March 23, 1999) On March 23, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, No. 97-1709, that all types of expert evidence are subject to the relevance and reliability ‘gatekeeping’ function that the Supreme Court had articulated with respect to scientific evidence in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). The Court further held that trial judges have substantial discretion or ‘considerable leeway’ to determine how to evaluate relevance and reliability and to make a determination on whether to admit the expert evidence. While this decision will make it more difficult when judges are hostile to the type of expert testimony being offered by plaintiffs, there were some helpful aspects to the Court’s opinion that lawyers for plaintiffs should know and emphasize: • The Court rejected arguments that all, or even one, of the four Daubert factors (testing, peer review, error rates, and scientific acceptability) must be satisfied for the testimony to be admissible, noting that even in scientific evidence cases the Daubert factors ‘do not all necessarily apply’; • The Court endorsed the idea that expert testimony from reliable fields of study that conforms with the standards used in that discipline should be admissible (In doing so, the Court was......

Words: 395 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Conviction of Wrong Man

...Expert Witness Helped Convict Wrong Man A panel of six independent forensic scientists stated, in a report filed in a Houston State court, that crime laboratory supervisor James Bolding helped convict an innocent man of rape in 1987. Because Bolding either lacked basic knowledge of blood typing or gave false testimony, George Rodriguez spent 17 years in prison for a rape that he did not commit. Bolding’s testimony in the case was challenged amid a scandal that led to retesting of evidence in 360 cases; And with the report filed, that number could increase by the thousands, involving 25 years of cases. “The panel concluded that crime laboratory officials might have offered ''similarly false and scientifically unsound'' reports and testimony in other cases, and it called for a comprehensive audit spanning decades to re-examine the results of a broad array of rudimentary tests on blood, semen and other bodily fluids” (Liptak and Blumenthal, 2004). There have been many cases where forensic science and law enforcement experts have provided sworn testimony, documents, or reports intended for the court that contain unreliable or misleading information, findings, opinions, or conclusions. Some are found to have been intentionally offered by the expert in order to secure an unfair or unlawful conviction, via ‘fitting the evidence to the crime’. A state audit of the Houston police department (HPD) crime lab, completed in December 2002, found that HPDs DNA technicians......

Words: 538 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Forensic Accountants

... Forensic accounting is often involved with accounting, analyzing financial evidence, auditing, and investigating legal and financial proceedings. This paper will examine the most important five skills that a forensic accountant needs to possess and evaluate the need for each skill, describe the role of a forensic accountant within a courtroom, analyze the legal responsibility of a forensic accountant has while providing service to a business, and research two cases where forensic accountants have provided vital evidence in a case. Caleb Newquist touches on the subject of new forensic accountants, “Prospective forensic accountants can count on making many enemies in the course of their work and must be unhinged by the retaliation that normally follows uncovering fraud and other misconduct” (p.1). Their job description comprises of a wide range of duties in which each case they work require different skills and different ideas to become successful. Question 1: Determine the most important five skills that a forensic accountant needs to possess and evaluate the need for each skill The most important five skills that a forensic accountant needs to possess are analytical, creativity, organization or detailed oriented, persistence, and investigative skills. According to Luanne Kelchner editor for eHow, “Forensic accountants must have an analytical personality to perform well in the job. According to the American Institute of CPAs, a group of lawyers, CPAs and forensic......

Words: 1134 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Fruad

...judicial or regulatory proceeding, and their work usually will be protected from disclosure by the attorney work product privilege. ¶8016 Expert Witness An accountant may be retained by an attorney or court as an expert witness to testify in a judicial or administrative proceeding. Accountants often are asked to lend their expertise to shareholder disputes, valuation controversies, and commercial damage claims. Accountants retained as expert witnesses will be expected to give their opinion in a judicial or administrative proceeding and can expect their work for a lawyer or court to be available to others involved in the litigation. ¶8021 Masters and Special Masters Accountants sometimes are appointed by a court as a master to assist the court in some matter (e.g., to determine certain facts or compute damages). They also may be appointed to act as the court’s representative (referred to as a special master) in a particular transaction. The powers and duties of masters and special masters depend on the terms of the order making their appointment and applicable court rules. The compensation paid a master or special master is set by the court and paid by the parties or out of any fund or subject matter of the litigation. ©2011 CCH. All Rights Reserved. Chapter 8 100 Forensic and Investigative Accounting Standards of Conduct for Performing Litigation Services ¶8031 Knowledge, Skills, Experience, Training, and Education The knowledge, skills, experience,......

Words: 6617 - Pages: 27

Premium Essay

Data-Hiding Techniques

...pro to using this the BitPin forensic tool is that it does however gather the phonebook, calendar, wallpapers, ringtones, to do’s, SMS, call history, playlists and filesystem for the most of the supported phones (BitPim). Oxygen Forensic® Extractor offers OEM system builders and hardware manufacturers a unique opportunity to integrate a time-proven forensic acquisition system to their hardware-based solution without spending years developing in-house software. Oxygen Forensic® Extractor enables wired (USB) and wireless (Bluetooth) data acquisition from several thousand mobile devices running on all popular platforms (Oxygen Forensics, Inc.). Extractor has many capabilities, including the ability to extract the following: •         Common device information  •         Contacts with all the fields and contact photos •         Missed/Outgoing/Incoming calls and Facetime calls  •         Organizer data (meetings, appointments, memos, anniversaries, tasks, notes, etc.)  •         SMS, MMS, iMessages, E-mails with attachments  •         Device dictionary words  •         Photos, videos, audio files and voice records  •         Geo coordinates stored in camera snapshots •         Wi-Fi connections  •         Device logs •         Passwords to the device owner accounts and WiFi hot spots  •         250+ applications user data: Apple Maps, Booking.com, Facebook, Google+, PayPal, Safari, Skype, Viber,  WhatsApp, etc. Extractor by Oxygen Forensics costs approximately......

Words: 1131 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Joe Salitino

...For over 50 years forensic accountants have exist. In the most recent years the need for them has increase due to the creativity of white collar crime and the use of technology. Forensic accountants are specialists who work with financial information such as business records, bank statements, and tax returns for the purpose of finding valid data. This data is used to prepare their reports. The report is prepared in a manner that will be easily understood by the attorneys to use in research, negotiations or court proceedings. In the business world forensic accountants are used to help clarify and resolve a wide number of legal disputes, including shareholder disagreements, malpractice claims, insurance claims, business dissolutions, bankruptcy proceedings, and divorce proceedings, as well as fraud and embezzlement. ("Forensic accounting,") Determine the most important five (5) skills that a forensic accountant needs to possess and evaluate the need for each skill. Be sure to include discussion regarding the relationship between the skill and its application to business operations. Depending on the nature of the case, the skills necessary of the forensic accountant may vary. However, there are skills that all forensic accountants should have; • Oral communication skills- having the ability to effectively communicate and explain the findings of a case, especially in a courtroom environment is important. The FA should be able to disseminate information about company’s...

Words: 1709 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

The Diffrence Between Criminologists and Forensic Psychologists

...Criminologist and forensic psychologists share many similarities although they have a few differences. This essay will attempt to explain these similarities and differences. Criminology is the scientific study of crime and criminals whereas forensic psychology is the interaction of the study of psychology and the law, it is also a branch of applied psychology which is concerned with the collection, examination and presentation of evidence for judicial purposes (Haward, 1953) furthermore they hold a doctorate degree in a field of psychology. The role of a criminologist is to investigate a variety of reasons to why criminals commit crimes. In order to investigate how these crimes are committed, they must consider psychological and social factors furthermore consider if any biological situations could have led the criminal to commit the crime. The role of a forensic psychologist is to provide the legal system with sound psychological information from a sound research base (Grisso, 1987). A forensic psychologist role is similar to a criminologist role to an extent that they also work with prisoners and offenders moreover they also apply the psychological theory to criminal behaviour to figure out what makes criminals commit these crimes. The premium goal of a forensic psychologist is to The first act of psychologist taking part in the justice court was in 1896 when Albert testified at the trial of Munich man accused of murdering three women. Within the United Kingdom the......

Words: 2409 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

Forensic Psychology

...Forensic Psychology Name Institution Date Forensic Psychology refers to the formal intersection between the scientific section of psychology and the criminal justice systems. It involves having a thorough understanding of the criminal systems applied in various jurisdictions by constantly evaluating them at a global perspective (Bartol &Bartol, 2012). The scientific aspect of it takes this information and analyses this information and interrelates it with attorney generals, judges and other legal professionals. Moreover, the field is based on scrutinizing witness testimonies in an attempt to check its validity and make informed decisions when dealing with ambiguous court cases. The roles of forensic psychologists are multivariate. This is because they perform diverse roles according to the settings, circumstances and nature of the job. For instance, they train and evaluate police officers and, members of other law enforcement organizations. They also advise judges in determining court cases (Bartol &Bartol, 2012). For instance, when the juries are dealing with ambiguous court cases of rape, insanity or murder, all arising from mental in-capabilities of the assailants, forensic psychologies are called based on their expertise and experience to examine, evaluate and give recommendations concerning the sentencing of the culprits. Because of these several but crucial responsibilities, the field of forensic......

Words: 762 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Fraud Paper

...a 3 page paper that 1) explains the difference between litigating an embezzlement case in civil court and criminal court, and 2) discuss the role of an expert witness/fraud examiner in each proceeding. There are two major factions of the United States court system: civil cases and criminal cases. Both take place in courtrooms all across the country, but there are several differences that separate the two as well as the role of fraud examiner in each proceeding. The major difference of the two in an embezzlement case is: 1) In a criminal court case, the opposing parties are the prosecutor, often the Assistant District Attorney, and the defendant, represented by a trial lawyer. In a civil court case, however, the opposing parties are the plaintiff and the defendant, both of whom are typically represented by attorneys. 2) In a criminal court case, the prosecutor must establish the guilt of the defendant, but in a civil court case, the plaintiff must only establish the liability of the defendant. In the former, the defendant is either guilty or not guilty of a crime, while in the latter, the defendant is either liable or not liable for monetary damages suffered by the plaintiff. For example, in a criminal court case, the defendant can be found guilty of money laundry his money, while in a civil court case, the defendant can be found liable for stealing someone’s car. In civil court cases, the plaintiff must only win by a preponderance of evidence, which means that the......

Words: 1711 - Pages: 7