Crime scene management and investigation refers to the activity that goes on at an actual crime scene rather than in a forensics laboratory. However, the physical and trace evidence gathered in the field at a crime scene will eventually be analyzed in a forensics laboratory and the analyses conducted govern the types of evidence collected at a scene. Many individuals tend to accept as absolute truth that forensic laboratory testing and results are scientific in nature. However, much criticism has been leveled in recent years that many of the techniques used have never been validated and no known error rates have been established. Without this information, we cannot be sure how often forensic examiners make errors in judgment or to what extent these errors are influenced by what the examiner already knows about the case. This has broad implications in criminal investigation.
For this week’s assignment, you will step out of the crime scene and into the forensics laboratory for a look at some known issues and criticisms in forensic laboratory testing as well as in credentialing someone to be classified as an “expert” forensic examiner. It is beneficial to understand what happens with the evidence collected at the crime scene once it goes to the laboratory. Your research for this paper may cause you to question the reliability and validity of commonly relied upon forensic evidence in criminal trials. However, your job as a scholar (and criminal investigator) is to evaluate objectively what you are learning and arrive at a conclusion that is based on information from credible sources.
First, watch the Frontline documentary The Real CSIand then discuss the following in your paper using the National Academy of Sciences 2009 report (Chapters 2, 4, and 5) as a credible resource to support your assertions:
The Forensic Identification: Science or Pseudoscience? Paper:
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