What is Forensic Science?
The word forensic comes from the Latin word forensis: public; to the forum or public discussion; argumentative, rhetorical, belonging to debate or discussion. From there it is a small step to the modern definition of forensic as belonging to, used in or suitable to courts of judicature, or to public discussion or debate. Forensic science is science used in public, in a court, or in the justice system. Any science used for the purposes of the law is a forensic science. What Do Forensic Scientists Do?
The forensic sciences form a vital part of the entire justice and regulatory system. Some of the different divisions, or disciplines, of forensic science have become identified primarily with law enforcement — an image enhanced by television and movies. This is misleading because forensic scientists are involved in all aspects of criminal cases, and the results of their work may serve either the defense or the prosecution. The forensic scientist's goal is the evenhanded use of all available information to determine the facts and, subsequently, the truth. The forensic scientist's role in the civil justice arena is expanding. Issues range from questions of the validity of a signature on a will, to a claim of product liability, to questions of whether a corporation is complying with environmental laws, and the protection of constitutionally guaranteed individual rights. Forensic science is a rewarding career where the love of science can be applied to the good of society, public health, and public safety. Work
The work of the forensic scientist may reduce the number of cases entering the overloaded court system by assisting the decision-makers before a case reaches the court. The facts developed by forensic scientists, based on scientific investigation, not circumstantial evidence or the sometimes unreliable testimony of witnesses, may convince prosecuting or defense attorneys, a grand jury, or a judge that an issue does not merit a...
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