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Introduction to Forensics
application of science to law
Branches of Forensics
DNA electrophoresis
 Toolmarks
 Tire prints
 Shoe prints
Computer analysis
Branches of Forensics
 Photography
 Environmental
 Polygraphs
 Audio
 Wildlife forensics
 Firearms/Ballistics
 Trace Evidence
 Video analysis
 Hair, Fibers,
Soil, Glass
 Engineering
Branches of Forensics
 Competence (Insanity defense)
 State of mind (crime of passion)
 profiling
History of Forensics
Mathiew Orfila – Father of Toxicology – 1814 wrote
paper on how to detect poisons in animals
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes
 Study in Scarlet – 1887
Alphonse Bertillon – Father of Criminal Investigation – 1st
method of personal identification – used for about 20
years – 1888: Chicago 1st US city to use method of
Francis Galton – Father of Finger prints – 1892 wrote
book Finger prints
History continued….
Dr. Karl Landsteiner – 1901 discovered Blood grouping
(A, B, AB, & O)
Leone Lattes – devised the procedure for determining
blood grouping of a dried blood stain – still used today
Calvin Goddard 1891- 1955
US Army Colonel – refined technology of bullet
comparison established the comparison microscope as
an indispensable tool for firearm examination
History continued….
Hans Gross – public prosecutor and Judge in Austria
1893 wrote a paper on the application of science
disciplines to the field of criminal investigation
(microscopy, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, zoology,
botany, etc.)
Edmond Locard 1877-1966
Took Gross’s ideas and made them real
Lyons, France – Lyons Police Department – 2 attic room
and 2 assistants – Founder and Director of Institute of
Criminalistics at the University of Lyons
Locard’s Exchange Principle – He believed in cross
Locard Exchange Principle
 When
two objects come into
contact, material is exchanged,
there will be a cross transfer of
(i.e. hair, prints, blood, etc.).
History continued…..
1923 – LAPD oldest lab in the US
Chief August Vollmer from Berkeley, CA
headed the 1st US university institute for
criminology and criminalistics at the University of
California, Berkeley
1932 – Federal Bureau of Investigation – J.
Edgar Hoover built the world’s largest lab
Increase in number of Labs
Since the 1960’s number of labs has increased 3 fold.
Many court decisions caused this growth
Miranda Rights
Among these rights is the right to a fair and speedy trial
Drug cases out numbered any other type of cases
DNA profiling has had the greatest impact on Forensic
Science since the 1960s
Who runs forensic labs?
coroner/medical examiner
Secret Service
Four major federal crime labs
FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation (Department of Justice) largest crime lab
in the world (est. 1905 by Pres. T.
DEA – Drug Enforcement
Administration - (Department of Justice)
drug analysis violation – production, sale
and transportation (est. 1973 by Pres. R.
Four major federal crime labs
ATF – (now ATF & E) Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives) - (Department of
Treasury – est. 1789 to help pay off the
Revolutionary War debts) alcoholic
beverages and documentation relating to
tax law, enforcement as well as
examination of weapons, explosive
devices and related to evidence related to
Gun Control Act (1968) and OCC or
Organized Crime Control Act (1970)
Four major federal crime labs
US Postal Inspection Service maintains
labs concerned with criminal investigations
relating to the postal service.
State, County and larger cities have labs.
Types of Services
Not all are “full service”
Different capabilities and function of
the organization to which a lab is attached
Budgetary $$$$ and staffing limitations
Full Service Lab Includes (page 9)
Physical Science Unit – diverse – glass,
drugs, paint, explosives, soil, etc.
Types of Services continued..
Firearms – firearms, discharged bullets, cartridge, cases,
shot gun shells and ammo of all types
GSR – Gun Shot Residue
Tool Marks
Document examination handwriting and typewriting
on questioned documents
Paper, ink, obliterations, erasures,
burned/charred documents
Photography Unit – digital imaging, IR, UV and Xrays – aids for court
Types of Services continued…
Other Options:
Toxicology Unit – bodily fluids,
organs, etc.
Latent Fingerprints
Polygraphs – lie detector
Voiceprint Analysis
Evidence Collection
Expert - Allowed to offer an opinion during
Lay or Eye – testimony on events or
observations – JUST THE FACTS
1923 Frye Standard (general acceptance)
1993 Daubert Standard
Daubert vs Merrell Dow
morning sickness drug caused birth
plaintiffs had many experts
court ruled against the experts saying the
methods were not generally accepted
within the profession
Daubert standards
Judge determines who is an expert:
A) Has the expert’s scientific method been
B) Has the expert’s method been the subject of
peer review and testing
C) What is the actual or potential rate of error?
D) do other scientists generally accept the
expert’s methods?
What keeps crime labs the busiest?
Drug Analysis