Forensic science is involved with providing scientifically proven evidence in court based on the detection and investigative procedures undertaken during an investigation. This practice originated from the Roman society whereby presentation of criminal charges was done before a forum of individuals (Stewart, 2006). During the presentation, the accused and the accuser were given a platform to narrate the criminal ordeal. In this hearing, the best argument would be considered as the determinant of the finalization and judgment of the case (Hynson, 2012). The popularity of forensic science gained prominence during the late middle ages. This welcome reception was facilitated with the increased poisoning incidents that had become rampant in Europe in its entirety. The main issue included the difficulty in tracing and detecting poison as well as distinguishing these occurrences from symptoms of other incurable malaises that existed during that period. The first test conducted that involved this science was the post mortem of corpses for toxic elements and substances.
The pioneer of forensic science as recorded was a French army surgeon known as Ambrose Pare who was one of the many medical practitioners interested in studying causes of death during the 16th century (Ricciuti, 2007). His studies contributed to the early development of forensic sciences as he analyzed the effects of traumatic deaths on bodily organs and fluids (Hynson, 2012). His research was further validated and affirmed by Paolo Zacchia and Fortunato Fidelis who were more focused on the physiological changes that occurred due to a victim or patient being under a diseased condition. According to history, these studies marked the beginning of pathology as a science intertwined with forensic science (Ricciuti, 2007). Additionally, through pathological studies, rational values became more inculcated in forensic studies whereby criminal investigations relied heavily on evidence-based truths and facts proven through scientific thus eradicating the overreliance on witness reports, torture, sorcery and forced confessions (Stewart, 2006). Cases that exemplify this development include that of John Toms who was tried and convicted of murdering Edward Culshaw and a farm laborer in Warwick who was also involved in the violent assault and killing of a young maidservant in 1816.
Roles of Forensic Sciences and its Relationship with Other Disciplines
Forensic sciences are comprised of various disciplines, which are constituent of varying scientific disciplines. Anthropology is considered as one of the major disciplines that have been inculcated within the forensic science scope (Ricciuti, 2007). It is a broad field; however, forensic science encompasses this discipline in terms of studying the physiological aspects of the human body, particularly concerning the overall interpretation of the human skeletal framework (Hynson, 2012). Due to this aspect, forensics take on the role of executing proper excavation methods as well as mapping in order to solve cases involving scattered or buried human remains (Stewart, 2006). In addition, owing to the meticulous recovery protocols developed through the interrelation between anthropology and forensic science, criminal investigations have become more aggressive as evidence and remains are not only properly collected but are also documented effectively which greatly assists with recognizing the victims and the perpetrators.
Forensic science has implemented engineering principles in order to solve cases that require resolving issues related to regulatory, criminal, and civil aspects. Engineering has enabled forensic scientists to investigate criminal activities, automobile accidents, product failures as well as environmental pollution and contamination (Ricciuti, 2007). In engineering related cases, forensic sciences play several roles. Firstly, it assists in the apprehending and conviction of criminals involved in such crimes. They also provide valid evidence, which offers support to engineering related lawsuits that are involved with negligent acts that have led to bodily injury or harm (Hynson, 2012). Thirdly, engineering forensic play the role of conducting product analysis, which is imperative in detecting sources of environmental pollution or causative elements of injury infliction on a product user as well as the infringement of a user’s rights. Most requests pertaining to forensic engineering are based on civil and criminal suits in which expert opinion is required.
Other related disciplines that have also significantly contributed to the role of forensic science in criminal investigations include pathology and toxicology. Firstly, toxicology allows forensic scientists to apply its methodologies and principalities for law purposes as well as in medicolegal intents (Hynson, 2012). This field is highly required by various professionals such as death investigators, law enforcers, legal experts, as well as crime scene investigators (Hynson, 2012). The relationship between forensic science and toxicology has allowed the fostering of work relations between coroners (Stewart, 2006). Medical examiners, pathologists with forensic pathologists in conducting post mortem for investigative purposes such as evaluating the cause of death of a victim. Pathology is also strongly associated with forensic on the same breadth (Ricciuti, 2007). Through conducting autopsies, forensic pathologist with the assistance of medics in the medical and biological fields are able to provide a detailed report on death of a victim hence contributing to the legal systems whose main aim is convicting felons.
Capabilities of Forensic Science
In the modern day setting, forensic science has undergone rigorous research, which has facilitated its advancement in crime resolution globally. Its main outstanding capabilities include DNA analysis, finger printing, and ballistic identification (Hynson, 2012). Regarding DNA analysis, since its discovery by Alec Jeffreys, a British geneticist, it has been considered as one of the most powerful tools of forensic science used for exonerating wrongly accused people, paternity testing as well as identification of crime perpetrators (Ricciuti, 2007). It is highly reliable and over decades has increased confidence in scientific methodologies of solving crime. Fingerprinting has also received accolades in the law enforcement industry. Through friction ridge analyses, many criminals have been apprehended based on the detection of their fingerprints left at the crime scene that has greatly assisted in reducing the crime rates (Hynson, 2012). Lastly, the trajectory of bullets is considered as the componential aspect studied in ballistics. Basing on the fire arms tool marks which are unique to each firearm, forensic science has been able to not only reproduce details pertaining to the bullets used for perpetrating a crime but also tracking the firearm criminal which has boosted the overall function spectrum of this field
Hynson, C. (2012). Forensics. Mankato, Minn.: Smart Apple Media.
Ricciuti, E. (2007). Forensics. New York: Collins.
Stewart, G. (2006). Forensics. Farmington Hills, MI: Lucent Books.
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