Forensic is the science involving forensic scientists (also known as laboratory analysts). The usually serve as an expert witness in court. Their duties include: providing scientific information and expert opinions to the court (i.e., to judges, juries, and lawyers). Outside the courtroom, they work closely with the police, prosecuting and defense attorneys, CSI, DEA, CIA, FBI agents, as well as lab technicians to try and solve a crime scene case.
Often associated with forensics is Crime Scene Investigation (CSI). They too have an important role in solving cases and catching criminals. Even though there are some differences between what a forensic scientist and a crime scene investigator will do in a crime case, as well as the methods to carry out an investigation; they do however have one thing in common: to gather evidence from a crime scene that could possible identify, arrest, and possible put behind bars the perpetrator of a crime. In order to do this, both a forensic scientist and a crime scene investigator will use a variety of techniques, processes, tools, equipment, and methods that will play an important part of the case in court.
The scene behind criminal investigations will usually involve a CSI team or people who are experts in forensic science. Their mission is to collect, document, and identify the victim(s) at the crime area. Certain items, clothing, fibers, and hairs will be gathered from the scene. The time, date, location, sex (male or female), race, color, etc. will be recorded. As well, they will try and figure out what had occurred or what was the actual cause of the crime. In addition, try and understand what type of crime occurred (like homicide, murder, manslaughter, assault, or sexual assault). These events normally occur immediately following the knowledge of a crime scene. As for the criminal evidence, it will all be used in a courtroom.
Since forensics focuses on either the living or the dead. It also covers a lot of ground in science; it is often divided into its own sub-science categories (like Toxicology, Pathology/Biology, Odontology, and Physical Anthropology). However, the methods and techniques involved (even though differently performed) will all end up in a criminal case or civil trial court case. Each scientific research provides relevant criminal and legal evidence for the courtroom.
Forensic science involves many hours studying and performing autopsies (like dissecting, analyzing, photographing, DNA, etc) of a crime scene looking for clues to the crime. The scientific evidence will help a great deal to visualize a crime that took place. In other words, it takes time to help solve what seems to be a mystery, but both the court as well as the public waits for the facts.
Many times there will be different types of forensic scientists involved in a legal case or trial; that depends of course on the type of crime committed. Behind forensics and CSI lies the science of what had been identified and discovered in the process.
Simply said, Forensics is “The Science Behind Criminal Investigations.”
- NAS Report on Forensic Science & Crime Labs - Forensic Science Reports
- Forensic Science Communications - A Forensic Science Journal (published quarterly)
- American Academy of Forensic Sciences - A Society of Forensic Science
- Crime Scene Investigator Network - Crime Scenes & Forensics
- Forensic Science Suite 101 - Forensic Science: Articles
- Forensic DNA Database - DNA used in Forensics
- Thinkquest Library of Autopsy - Autopsy used in Forensics
- Explain That Stuff - Forensic Science: Explained
- Crime and Clues - Relevant Forensic Articles
- Forensic Evidence: Master Index - General info regarding Forensic Science
- Tech-FAQ: Forensic Science - Forensic Science: FAQs
- The Forensic Sciences Foundation - A guide to Forensic Science
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