Anthology of Forensic Evidence

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Tori Kelly
03 Nov 2010
College Writing I
Mr. Denver Long


How many people does it take to solve a murder? Investigating crime scene evidence is one of the most intricate disciplines in criminal justice, requiring a team of several forensic specialists. This field has become so scientific, with advances in technology, that the viable information it provides is more readily accepted as incriminating in court. For this reason, attention to detail, accuracy and strict compliance to procedures are crucial during every phase of handling evidence. Many different experts are needed to piece together an abundance of evidence, process results in the crime lab, examine the victim, create a criminal profile, and interrogate suspects in order to solve a murder case and bring the killer to justice. The Crime The first stage in a murder investigation begins with the crime itself. The perpetrator(s) will transfer trace elements to and from the area they come in contact with, leaving a trail of evidence behind them. These can include shoe, hand, and fingerprints; hair; saliva; blood; broken glass; weapons; bullet casings; DNA and a victim. (Fletcher, 2006, p. 10) All these elements make up the crime scene. The sooner it is discovered, and the police are called, the better. Some biological evidence (blood, semen, saliva, etc.) deteriorates due to time, weather conditions, and animal intrusion. Time is of the essence. The longer the crime scene goes uninvestigated, the less evidence there will be in order to find the killer. The Scene Generally, the police are the first and most important responders to an emergency call, along with ambulance and fire personnel if necessary. Careful observation and swift action is at their discretion. Once at the scene, if there are any victims, emergency personnel must provide life-saving procedures if they are alive. Although the victim’s life is a priority, it must also be kept in mind that once the evidence is damaged, it is gone forever (Fletcher, 2006, p. 13). During this initial investigation, the least amount of disturbance to the evidence is critical, and it is the responsibility of the officer(s) to protect it. If any evidence is contaminated or destroyed by these personnel it must be carefully documented, to avoid inaccurate results in the crime lab. The more evidence that can be collected, the more solid the case is to result in a killer’s conviction. The Team Once the police call for assistance, the next phase begins. A team of lab technicians and investigators are put together, based on the information surrounding the crime (Fletcher, 2006, pp. 8-10). There might be a photographer, fingerprint expert, automobile track specialist, blood analyst, medical examiner, ballistic expert, and someone to document all the information (Bass, 2007, p. xiii). With this many people, it is critical that they employ effective teamwork and are very careful not to damage evidence (Fletcher, 2006, p. 13). With a cooperative effort these experts are able to work together to assist in proper justice being served. The Evidence The photographer takes pictures of the whole scene and puts numbered measurement markers on all the evidence to photograph before it is collected. These pictures provide a permanent record of the scene before anything was touched (Fletcher, 2006, pp. 22-23). They can also provide clues that were overlooked in the preliminary investigation. Finger prints, impressions such as tire tracks and shoe prints, are carefully and painstakingly gathered by prints specialists. Tire tracks can identify the type of vehicle that came to and left the scene. Shoe prints also indicate size and...
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