Forensic Science Role Criminal Investigation

Introduction

In wider sense, forensic science comprises of science which is applied and that it relates with legal process thus capable of being used to aid to unearth findings that may lead to conclusion being made as to the criminal elements in the course of investigation. The specialists in the forensic science use ultramodern equipments such as high definition computers and records that they apply science to go deep into critical analysis of the matter at hand (Ribaux & Caneppele, 2017). On the other hand, criminal investigation is the undertaking that the law enforcement officers carry out in respect to an alleged crime that may have taken place. The investigation carried out looks at the circumstances under which it took place. The criminal investigation is the pragmatic approach used by the players in the criminal justice system to gather evidence that the prosecution will use to prove the culpability of an individual. The connection comes handy in the sense that once crimes has taken place, the investigative agencies within the government will take steps which may involve forensic experts to aid in the analysis of items found at the crime scene (Dror, 2015).

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In the realm of criminal justice system, forensic evidence satisfies the role of investigators in that it is capable of giving a proof that a criminal activity has taken place and to also establish the unique elements of the said crime that are useful in the investigation thereof (Resnikoff ET AL., 2015). In so doing, the forensic by aid of their tools get to put the suspect in connection with the scene of crime and they may show that the victim was in close vicinity with the suspect. Critically, the forensic evidence further is used to corroborate the testimonial evidence of the witness siding with the victim. Additionally, the paper will show that forensic science is used to critique facts related to the occurrence of crime in question (McEwen, 2010).

Within the fulcrum of forensic science, the modern technology is used for effective realization of the core objective of the criminal justice system. In the course of their operations, the forensic experts must involve some kind of chemistry, biology, science engineering, and Physics. High definition computers are also required for purposes of finding accurate information (Gudjonsson & Haward, 2016). For instance, the branch of physics is applied to when a specialist wants to know the direction and sequence of blood spatter. Equally, whenever there is a dispute on the identity of the suspect, biology comes in to establish where he comes from. Chemistry on the other hand is used to know the elements and components (Ribaux et al., 2016).

In the course of looking into the role that that forensic science plays in the criminal investigation, it is chiefly important to take notice that the service of forensic science begins by getting accessed to the scene of crime of the subject matter in question. The evidences that are needed must first be theoretically noted down so as to be given recognition. In various jurisdiction especially the developing world, the testimony of witnesses always form chiefly the evidence that the prosecution relies on in the courts (Ribaux et al., 2017).

The field of forensic science comprises of forensic biology. Although finger prints analysis is the most common, profiling people based on their places of origin such as ethnicity. Even though the importance of forensic science cannot be overemphasized, the paper holds that the modern era. The society that we live in is very dynamic that in that the things that used to be allowed are allowed sacred. In the society, the suspects and accomplices have devised a way of advancing their criminal thoughts and executing the same. It is upon this background that the criminal investigators apply the tools in forensic science to analyze finer details of coming up with logical conclusion of finding the responsible culprits (Bitzer et al., 2015).

Essentially, the sphere of forensic science has a vital importance in the whole of the criminal justice system as it provides information that is scientifically reviewed basing it on keen analysis of substantial evidence (National Institute of Justice, 2019). When the detectives are in the field collecting out the samples, they verily know that there are some very critical pieces of evidence that they cannot see by their own eyes, and that there are some specific samples that must end up in the laboratory to be taken through high-powered machines. It is at this juncture, that forensic science comes in to ease the burden that the investigators have (Ribaux & Caneppele, 2017). Once they have provided the information needed, the prosecution takes the case and convinces the bench to accept the evidence.

When death has occurred, the forensic pathologists come in handy to trace the circumstances that may have led to the death of the deceased. Forensic experts deal with human remains in a delicate way called autopsy, so as to get to know on how the death occurred, especially if surrounding circumstances especially if the death is untimely and element of violence can be seen (National Institute of Justice, 2019).

A classical example of a country where forensic science was used in order to nail down the culprit is Rwanda, after the genocide that left about a million people dead and millions maimed (Ribaux et al., 2016). The international community led by the United Nations put in place a jurisdiction, which was authorized by the United Nations Security Council for prosecution of the suspects that orchestrated and executed the mass killings. The tribunal was based in Arusha, Tanzania but had offices Kigali Rwanda as well. The appellate jurisdiction of the tribunal was however based in Hague Netherlands (Uzabakiriho 2015). Though the forensic technology was not used so much in the investigation, genocide of such magnitude requires that investigators must get into the depth of knowing who the real suspects by conducting biological tests such as the Deoxyribonucleic acid (the DNA test).

Using both the deductive and the inductive reasoning, crime scene actually plays a center stage of getting to know what may have transpired at the commissioning of the crime. Forensic science expertise chips in herein to establish the connection that may exist between the suspects and the crime scene (Ribaux et al., 2017). Through the application of forensic methodological investigations, the biological information of the suspect can be collected to ensure that it matches that in the scene of crime. In the same note, forensics experts emphasizes greatly on the need to secure the crime scene at all costs. Previously, crime detectives did not give the place of crime; neither did they take good care of evidence gathered at the occurrence of the crime. Forensic science does not take this area lightly as the common law jurisdiction places high reliance on the prosecution to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt (Bitzer et al., 2015).

When unearthing the happenings of mass killings, which comprise of crimes against humanity, interdisciplinary forensic science is plays a very critical role in the course of investigating such heinous crimes. Pakistan and Iraq are among the countries that have had huge mass graves in which many people were buried alive (Bitzer et al., 2018). Such graves were discovered later due to natural factors. However were it that the forensic archeologists were involved in the whole process of investigation, those responsible- military officers who took command from their bosses would have faced prosecution with water tight criminal cases. Experts in forensic archeology have the ability to recognize mass graves and even identify the age, race, and even sex of the victims that were buried therein (Kloosterman et al., 2015).

The forensic archeologists can document and know the number of people were killed and dumped in a place. The courts of law heavily place reliance on such information from the forensic experts, as it is trite law that expert testimony should not be treated with doubt. Even the defense counsel is very cautious with regard to the testimonial evidence given by the expert witnesses. In fact, most of the opposing advocates majorly question only the educational and professional qualification of the expert witness (Uzabakiriho, 2015). Verily, once the investigators do their best in collecting relevant evidence and present the same to the prosecution, the later can then apply the law to nail down the suspects.

A branch of forensic science called forensic toxicology enables the investigators to analyze biological samples to verify drug and toxin presence in a substance (McEwen, 2010). Detectives the world over have used this sphere in determine the criminal culpability of persons of trust such as drivers, pilots, captains among others. It is also principally used in cases such as accidents sexual violence and poisoning. While the experts use forensic toxicology, they aim at determining crucial information concerning the nature of chemicals inside an individual’s blood in relation to the accident being investigated (National Institute of Justice, 2019).

An important trajectory indicates that the role of forensic science plays in the criminal investigation and prosecution. When technological advancements are employed in the investigation process, time is saved thus justice is ensured to those affected by the said criminal act. Domestically, a country such as Rwanda can as well use the forensic machines to cut the costs that it may incur were the samples taken abroad as many developing nations do whenever they are faced with high profile deaths (Bitzer et al., 2018). The police have the capacity to handle such cases should they be given the necessary infrastructure. This has the effect of asserting what one judge once said that justice must not only be done but it must be seen to be done.

Forensic evidence has aided a lot in adjudication of very serious offences (felony). For instance, there were times that sporadic killings used to happen in the American cities of Kansas, Chicago, and Illinois. The detectives gathered their efforts in firearm analysis. Bloodstains, semen, and fingerprints were given prominence in the investigative path (Kloosterman et al., 2015). The periods marked a sharp reality that indeed, forensic evidence has a lot of impact in sustaining a conviction before a judge who is grounded on pragmatism. This approach emphasizes on the data collected at some specified locations to conduct thorough analysis of the victim’s biological and physical features (McEwen 2010).

By using the modern equipment in the investigation of crimes, forensic laboratory gives the benefit of carrying out operations in environment that has high quality analysis of itemized specimens. The level of risk is reduced and contaminations are kept off from interfering with the evidence. Any errors that may inhibit the whole process are kept at bay. The experts involved in the forensic investigation offer fresh breath in the criminal justice system in that the complex evaluation that they carry out because ensure criminalistic interpretation (Kloosterman et al., 2015).

Forensic science assists in the analysis of the DNA and the uniqueness is that it does this very fast as compared to how it used be conducted previously in the criminal justice system. Forensic science experts hitherto succeed to integrate technologies of high magnitude and that operate very fast into protocols that are able to propel the deoxyribonucleic acid analysis in order to deliver a profile of DNA (Uzabakiriho, 2015). The scientific operation happens in a way that use of small lifting tapes can regulate the input of DNA sample to the enough fabric. The whole process does not take time as many people usually think. Once this is done and the strict procedure is followed to the letter, the desired result can be achieved so that the prosecution can link up with the investigative agencies to achieve faster trial in particular and criminal proceedings in general (McEwen, 2010).

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Conclusion

In conclusion, the role that the forensic science plays in the investigation of crimes and subsequent trial in the whole criminal justice is very crucial and the importance cannot be over-emphasized. Various jurisdictions in the world have adopted this trend. However, the only challenge lies in the budgetary allocation that most governments give for investigative agencies. Care should be had because criminal justice system includes not only the courts but even other agencies that the judiciary works with in the course of carrying out their respective mandates.

Reference

  • Bitzer, S., Albertini, N., Lock, E., Ribaux, O., & Delémont, O. (2015). Utility of the clue—From assessing the investigative contribution of forensic science to supporting the decision to use traces. Science & Justice, 55(6), 509-513.
  • Bitzer, S., Heudt, L., Barret, A., George, L., Van Dijk, K., Gason, F., & Renard, B. (2018). The introduction of forensic advisors in Belgium and their role in the criminal justice system. Science & Justice, 58(3), 177-184.
  • Bitzer, S., Margot, P., & Delémont, O. (2017). Is forensic science worth it?. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 13(1), 12-20.
  • Dror, I. E. (2015). Cognitive neuroscience in forensic science: understanding and utilizing the human element. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1674), 20140255.
  • Gudjonsson, G. H., & Haward, L. R. (2016). Forensic psychology: A guide to practice. Routledge.
  • Kloosterman, A., Mapes, A., Geradts, Z., Van Eijk, E., Koper, C., Van den Berg, J., Van Asten, A. (2015). The interface between forensic science and technology: How technology could cause a paradigm shift in the role of forensic institutes in the criminal justice system. Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, 370(1674) 1-10.
  • McEwen, T. (2010). The Role and Impact of Forensic Evidence in the Criminal Justice System Retrieved [online] from
  • National Institute of Justice (2019). Forensic Pathology and Development office of Justice Program. Retrieved [online] from
  • Resnikoff, T., Ribaux, O., Baylon, A., Jendly, M., & Rossy, Q. (2015). The polymorphism of crime scene investigation: An exploratory analysis of the influence of crime and forensic intelligence on decisions made by crime scene examiners. Forensic science international, 257, 425-434.
  • Ribaux, O., & Caneppele, S. (2017). Forensic intelligence. In The Routledge International Handbook of Forensic Intelligence and Criminology (pp. 136-148). Routledge.
  • Ribaux, O., Crispino, F., Delemont, O., & Roux, C. (2016). The progressive opening of forensic science toward criminological concerns. Security Journal, 29(4), 543-560.
  • Ribaux, O., Roux, C., & Crispino, F. (2017). Expressing the value of forensic science in policing. Australian journal of forensic sciences, 49(5), 489-501.
  • Uzabakiriho, A. (2015). The role of Forensic science in Criminal investigation in Rwanda. Research, Journal of Forensic Sciences Vol. 3(5), 1-4,

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