The use of forensic science Research Essay

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Recently, there has been discussion about the application of forensic science to crime case investigations. Others believe that the evidence is the most precise means of coming to the correct conclusion regarding a case, while some believe it to be flawed and not scientific. The effective use of forensic analysis offers an option to the conventional approach to case presentation in court. Legal action should be done against those who violate the standard guidelines to make the legal system more trustworthy.

The forensic sciences are evaluated and analyzed in this essay, along with their advantages over the conventional way of case presentation and the juries' acceptance of them.


Forensic science is the use of scientific laboratory techniques in examining and interpreting physical evidence collected in crime scenes. Prosecutors use it in cases where witnesses to a crime are not available, or need further information concerning the crime committed. It has recently gained popularity in presenting evidence in court. Stains, fingerprints, hair, fibers, and body fluids are used in laboratories to examine anything that brings evidence about a certain case. It is useful in revealing useful information including the person who may have committed the crime, the age, race, and relationship with the victim (Cassey, 2011).

First, forensic scientists collect evidence from the crime scene, conduct laboratory testing, interview witnesses (if they are available), write reports about the case, and then present the evidence at a court trial. Using the laboratory tests, forensic science technicians use the written reports as testimonies to present their findings in the court. On the other hand, the forensic psychologists help the legal professionals in evaluating the mental psychology of those involved in a crime. Through this, they are able to come up with concrete conclusions concerning the case. The written reports are used by opposing attorneys in the discovery process which involves the provision of information as prove in the case by following legal terms and procedural rules.

The forensic experts must be knowledgeable when it comes to federal rules, in the subject matter, state laws, and know how to use them in demonstrating evidence. In addition, they must be alert to answer questions intelligently and promptly. They must be organized in presentation of their reports and evidence to provide updated information; and portray ethical standards as well (Saferstein, 2015).

For instance, forensic science has been used in determining the perpetrator in the murder of Marianne Vaatstra who was murdered in 1999. In 2012, a DNA test among male citizens living around the victim’s neighborhood was carried out. Jasper S. DNA matched the DNA traces found in the Marianne’s body and was arrested. This case is one among many cases that have determined through the use of forensic science in the recent years (Kassin, Dror, & Kukucka, 2013).

Comparison between forensic science and the traditional methods

While forensic science involves laboratory tests and use of technical tools to provide evidence of a certain case, the traditional methods involve confessions from third parties, physical torture like depriving people from food, water, and sleep, use of the Reid technique where rapport is built and body language is observed, threatening the suspect, and interviewing.

To start with, a traditional method such as interviewing a witness or a suspect could be unreliable, since people tend to lie while giving information. This happens with the aim of protecting the perpetrator, or, when the interviewer is involved in the crime and does not want to reveal the truth about the case. It hence becomes hard to discover the truth, and may end up punishing an innocent person.

In addition, it is easy for a judge to reach to the right decision with involvement of forensic science. Attorneys argue under proven facts that cannot be changed. However, in the traditional methods, the attorney who has the most convincing language in line with the law wins the case. There are hence high possibilities that an innocent person is punished due to wrong judgment (Kassin, Dror, & Kukucka, 2013).

Forensic science does not solely rely on peoples’ opinions and witnesses; it combines them with scientific evidence. Although sometimes technical tools can fail, they usually give reliable results that cannot be twisted. Interrogative questions involved in the traditional method can twist the mind of an individual. An individual may be forced to agree or disagree on statements without clear understanding of the question. On the other hand, forensic science involves experts who have a clear understanding of the results from the evidence.

Do courts and juries place more emphasis on forensic science?

Juries and courts now believe in forensic science evidence during trials. They actually put more emphasis on the use of forensic science evidence as compared to the traditional way of using witnesses and relying on attorneys’ arguments. The acceptance of this scientific technique by the juries has brought about an effect called the CSI effect. It involves the fact that juries demand for scientific testimony and unquestioningly accept the most articulate scientific expert.

Recent arguments by the National Academy of Sciences states that the over reliance on forensic science by courts and juries has resulted to the punishment of innocent people. This comes as a result of lack of scientific knowledge by juries. They believe in scientific arguments presented by experts more than the traditional convincing method. For instance, Earl Washington was imprisoned for 17 years due to a forensic analysis of semen that convinced the jury that Washington had raped and murdered a young woman in 1982. His lawyers later presented evidence that the analysis was faulty. From this case, it is clear that juries rely more on scientific evidence to make their final decisions in court, something which has brought about controversial arguments (Koehler, Scweitzer, Saks, & McQuiston, 2016).

Should Juries place more emphasis on scientific evidence?

Depending on the case presented, juries should place the necessary emphasis for evidence. Some cases require more scientific evidence to settle for a decision, while others do not necessarily require any forensic science. Cases that deal with dead bodies, either decayed or abandoned, require DNA testing and testing of other samples such as fingerprints to determine the perpetrator. In such a case, demand for scientific analysis is needed.

Cases that can be decided through psychological investigation do not require scientific evidence. Prosecutors need to apply the traditional method of interrogation, use of witnesses, and interviewing to come up with a concrete conclusion. This will limit the misuse of forensic science to present court arguments.

The National Academy of Sciences condemned the use of hair and fingerprint analysis in 2009, questioning its accuracy and validity. To them, forensic science is based on a weak foundation, since many scientists take the advantage of lack of scientific knowledge by the juries to present false arguments. However, the juries have continued to believe in forensic evidence. It is through standard guidelines that the use of faulty arguments in court will be limited (National Research Council 2009).


Forensic science involves important techniques that are required in making final decisions in court. Through a proper guideline and good presentation that brings a clear understanding to the juries, it is a perfect alternative to the other traditional methods of analyzing a criminal action. Juries need to place necessary emphasis on cases that require scientific evidence, and work with traditional methods on cases that do not need the application of science.


Cassey, E. (2011). Digital evidence and computer crime: Forensic sciences, computers, and the internet. Academic press.

Kassin, S M., Dror, I. E., & Kukucka, J. (2013). “The forensic confirmation bias: Problems, perspectives, and proposed solutions.” Journal of Applies Research in Memory and Cognition, 2(1), 42-52.

Koehler, J. J., Scweitzer, N. J., Saks, M. J., & McQuiston, D. E. (2016). Science, technology, or the expert witness: What influence jurors’ judgements about forensic science testimony?. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 22(4), 401.

National Research Council. (2009). Strengthening forensic science in the United States: a path forward. National Academies Press.

Saferstein, R. (2015). Forensic science: from the crime scene to the crime lab. Pearson.

Wells, G. L., Wilford, M. M., Smalarz, L.,Wells, G., & Wilford M. (2013). Forensic science testing: The forensic filler-control method for controlling contextual bias, estimating error rates, and calibrating analysts’ reports.” Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 2(1), 53-55.

July 15, 2023

Crime Law Science

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