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Forensic science (often is written as forensics) is a number of different sciences that answer questions of legal system. This may be relevant to a crime or a civil action. It is also relevant to a legal system, more generally forensic science covers the accepted scientific methodology and norms with the help of which the facts regarding some events, or artifacts, or some other physical item that can be the case. In that regard the concept is related to the idea of authentication, where by an interest outside of a legal form exists in determining whether an object is what it wishes to be, or is alleged as being.
Nowadays it is certainly easier to solve crime problems than it was 70 years ago, because of the progress that was made in science, and especially in forensic science. New crime solving techniques that appeared were created in order to help law experts to solve cases that are baffling the first time. If we took a look at the role that forensic science plays in the sphere of justice criminal law, we would understand how significant it is in solving crime problems because:
It really helps to identify the gist of the crime: we can divide crime into two types: crimes that are accidents and another type is: that are made by design. Analyzing the evidence with the help of a forensic microscope we see experts in enforcement area to understand if the crime can be qualified as a murder, suicide or some other form of accidental death. If it is qualified as a murder, experts tell if the crime was accidental or not. Forensic science is used to detect drug offenses, automobile accidents and burglaries and arsons
Forensic science helps to remove someone's prejudices to the crime: It makes officers to explore only the evidence and not look at their feelings or instincts. That is why it helps to have the right way to solve a crime (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2004, p. 32).
We also should mention that the most important is that, it helps solve the crime itself: Examine such facts as the time of death or any other physical basis, forensics can tell for sure if a man is guilty in the crime or innocent as he claims.
Forensic science extends into a lot of sub-sciences which uses natural science techniques to get relevant criminal and legal evidence (Richbourg, J., 2004, p.17).
Forensic science specialties of the 21st century include:
- Forensic Accounting - This science allows receiving, examining and taking into account obtained data.
- Digital Forensics (also called as Computing Forensics) - includes scientific methods and techniques used for search, recovery of information on digital media (pictures, e-mail).
- Forensic Document Examination - This science allows studying, recovering and understanding the documents, making an analysis of handwriting and drawings, charts and graphics. Many studies involve a comparison of the observed document, or components of it, to a set of known standards.
- Forensic Economics - The purchasing, researching and understanding of evidence that are from economic field, business.
- Forensic Engineering - This science includes reconstruction, researching and explanation of buildings. (Escholz S., 2002, p. 319).
- Forensic Linguistics - The searching and explanation of language.
- Forensic Origin and Cause - The researching, explanation and identification of a fire for the express purpose of determining the cause of ignition and origin of the fire.
- Forensic Anthropology is the kind of physical anthropology, relevant to a legal situation, examines bones.
- Forensic Photography - reconstructing, and preceding a photographic explanation of a crime scene.
- Forensic Psychology and Psychiatry - It includes researching, evaluation and understanding of mental illnesses and man's behavior for.
- Criminalistics is the supplement of combination of clues (i.e. fingerprints imprint footwear impressions and tire tracks), ballistics, trace evidence, controlled material.
- Criminalistics includes clues collected from different kinds of sciences to find the answers of questions relating to the researching and comparison of criminal investigations. This evidence is usually processed in a crime lab.
- Forensic Biology includes testing DNA and serological tests of physiological that helps in identification and individualization.
- Forensic Entomology helps in determination of time and location of death, by studding how insects influence the human remains, also can tell if the body was moved after death or not.
- Forensic Geology is a kind of science that works with minerals, soils and petroleum (Escholz et al., 2002, p. 321; Surette, 1998.p. 194).
- Forensic Meteorology is an analysis of prior weather situation, specific to the site being observed.
- Forensic Odontology is the science about teeth- specifically, the uniqueness of dentition.
- Forensic Pathology combines the spheres of medicine and pathology, determines the cause of injury or death.
- Forensic Toxicology is science that helps to give the evaluation and the elucidation of the effects of chemicals, poisons, and drugs on the human body.
- Forensic archaeology is the example of a mixture of forensics and archaeological techniques.
- Forensic psychology discovers the human's mind, with scientific methods. It often deals with the circumstances behind a criminal's behavior.
- Forensic video analysis is the scientific research, comparison, and analyzing of video in legal matters (Cather, K.H., 2004, pp.9-10).
- Forensic engineering is the studding and analyzing of different objects in order to answer questions as to their failure or reason of damage.
- Forensic limnology is the analyzing of clues gathered from crime scenes in or around fresh water sources. Revision of biological organisms, particularly diatoms, can be used in connecting suspects with victims.
- Forensic science is very important for policing, criminal investigations and court processes because it helps with:
- Crime-Solving Contributions. Forensic science helps in to solving crimes through investigative activities such as studding the reason of death, finding missing persons and identifying suspects.
- Determining Cause of Death. Experts-pathologists define the reason of someone's death by making autopsies. Making such procedures, they can tell the reason of death and the time of it.
- Identifying Suspects. Forensic experts can understand suspects by examine clues got from the scene of a crime ( hairs, blood, fibers and fingerprints).
- Finding Missing Persons. Scientists can help to find people disappeared a long time using the process of image modification. Using this method, a photograph can show how someone may look after some years without being seen (Cather, K.H., 2004, pp.11; Escholz et al., 2002, p. 339).
- Profiling Criminals. Forensic experts use profiling when they want to find suspects. While studding a crime accident, they can tell about a criminal's personality and patterns.
Forensic Science is important because it helps in analyzing of forensic clue is used in the prosecution and investigation of civil and criminal proceedings.Â It can help to find the guilt or innocence of suspects.
The public is primarily educated about forensic science by Hollywood films and television shows (Barak, 1995, p. 3). Within the past ten years, the emphasis on forensics as a primary tool to solve crimes has increased significantly on broadcast television with shows like CSI. In comparison, Hollywood films have rarely featured a forensic scientist working in a lab or out in the field as a main character. Typically, the police make a stop at the crime lab to drop off or pick up potential evidence, thus move the film's investigative plot forward.
Nevertheless, as depicted by the media, forensic science is a broad field practiced by both genuine forensic scientists and law enforcement investigators. In the real world, the duties of forensic specialists are normally limited to forensic science techniques; however, police investigators use forensic methods on occasion (Cather, K.H., 2004, p.13)
Audiences have learned about forensics from television as well as film. Television has shown both traditional forensic science and the use of forensic science by law enforcement through news shows, documentaries, docudramas and crime dramas. These have been given much greater exposure lo the public in various television formats than Hollywood films ever did. Probably first to focus on forensic scientists were investigative news shows, such as 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, and MSNBC investigates.
These often featured repugnant criminal acts that were solved through the use of forensic science evidence. During the mid 1990s, docudramas that focus on forensic scientists began to emerge. New Detectives, FBI Files, and Forensic Files, feature actors to recreate actual cases to depict how forensic science evidence assisted in the successful capture of offenders.
Nowadays there are a lot of videos and documentary films about forensics, such as A Case of Murder, Dead Men's Tales, Killer's Trail, The Case for Innocence, The Case for Innocence, Jefferson's Blood, The Bone Collector, Murder by Numbers, Kiss the Girls.
We should also mention such great television Series with Forensic Science Elements as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Crossing Jordan, Law and Order (Richbourg, J., 2004, p.19).
We can find a lot of True life crime & forensic science on television in such shows as: New Detectives, Forensic Files, I, Detective, Cold Case Files, Medical Detectives, Forensic Science, Unsolved History.
The fact that television shows aspects of sciences makes it a honor. The TV shows like CSI has made students to be interested in forensics courses.
Young people who watch CSI believe that those scenarios, where forensic scientists are always right, are what happen in reality. It means that in court, juries are not always impressed with evidence presented using scientific terms. Another big problem created by media coverage of forensic science is that it informs criminals of the techniques the police use to catch them. That is why, some forensics experts are not willing to cooperate with the media (Cather, K.H., 2004, pp.13).
There is an increasing amount of criminals who use gloves while making crimes and even use condoms during rapes in order not to leave their DNA at the scene.
As a conclusions we can say that a minority of America's population has had no direct experience with the criminal justice system (Escholz et al., 2002, p. 328; Surette & Otto, 2002, p. 450). That is why those who are called for jury duty know very little of the capabilities of the use of forensic science to resolve criminal investigations. With the media serving as a primary source of information to 95% of the public (Surette, 1998.p. 197), the reality of forensic science in the average citizen's mind could be based only on the medial depictions of forensic experts.
The ability of media to reach a broad audience seems to have caused a reaction by trial lawyers. For the last several years, the forensic crime drama CSI has surpassed the popularity of any other television show (Nielson Media Research. 2004). Nearly 80% of the surveyed lawyers suspected fans of forensic crime dramas have unrealistic expectations of evidence. The common belief among trial lawyers that forensic crime dramas create such unrealistic expectations seems to have resulted in several changes while preparing for trials and during criminal proceedings. First, a slight majority of the lawyers reported they ask jury candidates if they specifically view forensic crime dramas during voir dire. Attorneys also may be compensating for the possibility that jurors have unrealistic expectations of forensic evidence by submitting additional evidence for forensic testing. Fifty-one percent of the lawyers reported requesting some forensic tests more than they did five years ago. In contrast, prosecuting attorneys maybe requesting further forensic test because of an increased interest in matters involving forensic science by defense attorneys. For every topic of defense interest investigated by the current study, at least 59% of the lawyers reported an increase.
The responses to surveys by criminal trial lawyers suggest the majority of attorneys have reacted the current popularity of forensic crime dramas. Before these findings can be accepted as a general nationwide trend, further research in multiple regions of the country is needed. Qualitative and quantitative studies should be designed to test the findings of this study and expound upon this possibility. Better preparation by judges and attorneys to counter such a trend is warranted.