Do Inmates Need Educational Protocols?

ISO 13485
ISO 13485 Medical devices — Quality management systems — Requirements for regulatory purposes is an International Organization for Standardization standard published for the first time in 1996; it represents the requirements for a comprehensive quality management system for the design and manufacture of medical devices.

This standard supersedes earlier documents such as EN 46001 and EN 46002, the previously published ISO 13485, and ISO 13488.

The essentials of validation planning, protocol writing, and change management will be explained.

via ESSENTIALS OF VALIDATION – Do You Really Need It? — Compliance4all

Forensic Science and its branches – AL MICRO LAW

Forensic Science is a branch of science that is a combination of scientific investigations and law. It is formed from two Latin words- “forensis” and “science” which help in solving a crime scene and analyzing the evidence. This is a core branch of science involving a lot of precision of science and law. Using scientific methods in solving cases has been practiced since ancient times the trial was held publicly as it used to carry a strong judicial connotation. The advancement of science and technology has led the forensic field to foster. 

The things forensic science experts perform are the examination of the body also known as an autopsy, document identification, evidence examination, a search of the crime scene, collecting fingerprints, and analyzing a small sample of blood, saliva, or any other fluids for determination and identification processes. In jurisprudence, forensics involves the application of knowledge and technology from several scientific fields. Biology, pharmacy, chemistry, medicine, and so on are the examples as each of them applies in today’s more complex legal proceedings in which experts from these fields are hard to prove offenses. Forensic science is the application of medical and paramedical expertise to assist the administration of justice in solving legal matters or in the court of law. The forensic findings can be used in a court of law as a piece of evidence and thus can be useful in solving a legal matter or dispute.

Forensic Science has various branches like Forensic biology, forensic physics, computational forensic, digital forensics, forensic accounting, forensic anthropology, forensic archaeology, forensic astronomy, forensic ballistic, forensic botany, forensic chemistry, forensic dactyloscopy, forensic document examination, forensic DNA analysis, forensic entomology, forensic geology, forensic linguistics, forensic meteorology, forensic odontology, forensic pathology, forensic podiatry, forensic toxicology, forensic psychology, forensic economics, criminology and wildlife forensics. 

  • Forensic biology – Forensic Biology is the use of biological scientific principles and processes, generally in a legal setting. Forensic biologists examine plants cellular and tissue samples, as well as physiological fluids, in the course of a legal inquiry.
  • Forensic physics – Forensic physics is the use of physics for civil or criminal law objectives. Forensic physics has typically entailed the determination of density (soil and glass investigation), the refractive index of materials, and birefringence for fibre analysis. Ballistics is a sub-discipline of forensic physics.
  • Computational forensic – Computational science is being used to investigate and solve problems in several sectors of forensic research.
  • Digital forensics – It specialises in retrieving data from electronic and digital media.
  • Forensic accounting – Accounting for forensic purposes investigates and evaluates facts pertaining to accounting.
  • Forensic anthropology – Forensic anthropology is the use of anthropology and osteology to establish information about a human body in an advanced stage of decomposition.
  • Forensic archaeology – Archaeology for forensic purposes is the branch in which archaeological approaches are used
  • Forensic astronomy – Astronomy for forensic purposes is the use of celestial constellations to address legal concerns is quite uncommon. It is most commonly utilised to solve historical issues.
  • Forensic ballistic – Forensic Ballistics is the examination of any evidence pertaining to weapons (bullets, bullet marks, shell casings, gunpowder residue etc.)
  • Forensic botany – Plant leaves, seeds, pollen, and other plant life found on the crime scene, victim, or accused can give solid proof of the accused’s presence.
  • Forensic chemistry – Forensic chemistry focuses on the investigation of illegal narcotics, gunshot residue, and other chemical compounds.
  • Forensic dactyloscopy – Dactyloscopy for forensic purposes relates to the collection, preservation, and analysis of fingerprint evidence.
  • Forensic document examination – Examining forensic documents investigates, researches, and determines the facts of documents under dispute in court.
  • Forensic DNA analysis – This branch of forensic science focuses on the collecting and analysis of DNA evidence for use in court.
  • Forensic entomology – It investigates insects discovered at the scene of a crime or on the body of a victim, and it is especially useful in pinpointing the time and place of the victim’s death.
  • Forensic geology – Geology for forensic purposes entails the use of geological variables such as soil and minerals to obtain evidence for a crime.
  • Forensic linguistics – It is the study of the language used in judicial procedures. Emergency calls, voice identification, ransom demands, suicide notes, and so on are all examples.
  • Forensic meteorology –  It includes using meteorological variables to ascertain details about a crime. It is most frequently applied in instances involving insurance companies and homicides.
  • Forensic odontology –  It refers to the investigation of dental evidence.
  • Forensic pathology – This branch of forensic science is concerned with the examination of a body and identifying factors such as the cause of death.
  • Forensic podiatry – Forensic podiatry refers to the investigation of footprint evidence.
  • Forensic toxicology – A forensic toxicologist investigates toxic compounds found on or in a body, such as narcotics, e-liquid, and poisons.
  • Forensic Psychology – Forensic Psychology and Forensic Psychiatry are two branches of forensic medicine. These are concerned with the legal implications of human activity.
  • Forensic economics – This is the investigation and analysis of economic damage evidence, which includes present-day estimations of lost earnings and benefits, the lost value of a firm, lost business profits, lost value of home services, replacement labour expenses, and future medical care expenditures. 
  • Criminology – In criminal investigations, this involves the use of several disciplines to answer issues about the study and comparison of biological evidence, trace evidence, impression evidence (such as fingerprints, shoeprints, and tyre tracks), restricted drugs, and guns.
  • Wildlife forensics – This involves the investigation of crime situations involving animals, such as endangered species or animals that have been unlawfully killed or poached.

When it comes to life and death situations, objective proof is critical. In the past, significant evidence in criminal prosecutions might have come from witnesses or other subjective sources, but forensic science now provides objective evidence. That is, forensic evidence, which is based on the scientific approach, is considered more dependable than even eyewitness testimony. In a legal system that holds that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, forensic scientists’ evidence is now routinely used by both the defence and the prosecution in many court cases. While Forensic Toxicologists, for example, may work most closely with law enforcement or the courts after a crime has been committed, Forensic Psychologists (also known as Profilers) might step in even before a suspect has been identified to assist prevent future crimes.

Forensic Science is an emerging branch of science that is a combination of scientific investigations and law. It is formed from two Latin words- “forensis” and “science” which help in solving a crime scene and analyzing the evidence. This is a core branch of science involving a lot of precision of science and law. Using […]

A brief about Forensic Science and its branches — AL MICRO LAW

Some of Your Brain’s Secrets are stored in your Subconscious and Pre-Conscious via Lions Talk Science

By Victoria Vernail

In 1986, geneticist Alec Jeffreys was the first to use DNA profiling techniques in a murder investigation. The use of DNA resulted in the release of an innocent suspect and eventual identification of the culprit.1 In the coming decades, DNA would become the backbone of forensic science, serving as evidence in over half a million criminal cases. Other classical ways science has influenced the criminal justice system are through the study of ballistics, hair and fiber analysis, and toxicology (Figure 1). Forensic science has been used for thousands of years, dating back to ancient China where inked fingerprints served as a means of identification. Recently, the introduction of new scientific methods in the courtroom has involved neuroscientific analysis of brain scans or brain waves. The development of new forensic methods presents the challenge of technique validation for use by a judge and jury.

Figure 1: The breadth of forensic science. Created in BioRender.com. Adapted from National Institutes of Standards and Technology
 

A heavily debated use of forensic information is the polygraph test. The traditional polygraph identifies a lie by measuring physiological changes such as heart rate, blood pressure, pupillary activity, sweat, or saliva. Polygraph validity has been disputed from the private to Federal levels, with no consensus. Therefore, polygraph data is currently inadmissible in court. Variability among individuals makes it difficult to detect a clear lie response, so results are subjective and hard to decipher. Individual variability is also seen with neuroscientific tools appearing in courtrooms. Recently, several neuroscientific technologies including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and computed tomography (CT) scans have been used in criminal cases. Defense attorneys have submitted brain scans showing damaged regions of the brain to corroborate a ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ defense.2 The jury is left to decide how much weight such expert scientific testimony may hold- whether this brain scan evidence is enough to prove causation. Is it also possible to use neuroscience to distinguish truth from a lie? The answer to that question may be stored in our own memories.

A technology used recently in the courtroom is the Memory and Encoding Related Multifaceted Electroencephalographic Response (MERMER). This “brain fingerprinting” technique was highlighted in the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer, where creator Dr. Lawrence Farwell claims that measuring brainwaves can uncover memories of a crime. Brain activity is recorded as waves with an electroencephalogram (EEG), which are noninvasive and used clinically to diagnose brain disorders such as epilepsy or stroke (Figure 2). Brain cells have electrical properties that fire synchronously, and these brain signals are detected during EEG by metal electrodes placed on the scalp. An EEG can record from areas of the brain important for memory retrieval, such as the parietal cortex.3 Event-related brain potentials are then generated by averaging the waveform responses picked up by the electrodes to a given stimulus. A positive spike in electrical activity recorded from electrodes in the parietal cortex illustrates brain cells actively retrieving a stored memory.4 Other areas of the brain involved in information processing include the cingulate and prefrontal cortex.5 To account for the widespread activation during information processing, a multifaceted electroencephalographic response (MER) can be recorded and analyzed. The brain response specific to memory and encoding of a stimulus is therefore denoted as a MERMER.

Figure 2: Electroencephalograms (EEGs) allow for noninvasive recording of brain waves by adhering electrodes to the scalp. Created in BioRender.com.

Dr. Farwell reports that his MERMER technique can accurately compare multifaceted event-related brain potentials, such as facts about a crime, to unrelated stimuli.6 Analysis of a potential suspect’s EEG waveforms compares target information (known facts about the crime), probing information (the murder weapon), and irrelevant information. Farwell suggests that there are similar patterns between irrelevant and probing waveforms that would point towards innocence. Guilt could be depicted by a higher similarity between target and probe waves (Figure 3).7 Therefore, brain fingerprinting may provide an alternative to traditional polygraph technology if the EEG shows recognition of crime details only the perpetrator could know. It is important to note that like the polygraph test, the interpretation of these brain waves is subject to human error, which could potentially influence its use in court. Research supporting the true validity of MERMER technology is lacking.

Figure 3: Comparing EEG waveforms between individuals. Guilty persons have more similarities between target and probe waves compared to the innocent, who share similarities between probe and irrelevant waves. From Farwell and Donchin 1991.4

In 1993, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. set the precedent for using scientific evidence in a trial.8 This case concluded that judges are ultimately responsible for determining what evidence can be admitted, but frequently the experts are the only ones who truly understand the data. Therefore, there is a danger of manipulation of forensic evidence by both sides of the court to reach a favorable outcome – whether that be conviction or acquittal.

Although forms of forensic science have been used for centuries, it is important that the introduction of new technologies be scrutinized so that juries are not unduly swayed. Additionally, such advanced scientific analysis is not always readily accessible. For example, brain scans and the experts required for their interpretation can be expensive and therefore not widely used for many cases, especially involving indigent defendants. It is possible that advances in neuroscience and neurotechnology could prove useful in the criminal justice system; however, further work must be done to prove the reliability of new scientific technologies. In addition, widespread public education and law enforcement training should be implemented to minimize subjectivity in using scientific evidence.

TL:DR

  • Forensic science has been evolving since antiquity
  • Brain imaging and information can be admitted as evidence in the courtroom 
  • New forensic technologies must be validated

References

  1. Zagorski, N. Profile of Alex J. Jeffreys. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2006;103 (24) 8918-8920; doi: 10.1073/pnas.0603953103
  2. Aono, D., Yaffe, G., Kober H. Neuroscientific evidence in the courtroom: a review. Cogn Res Princ Implic. 2019; 4(1):40. doi.10.1186/s41235-019-0179-y
  3. Cabeza, R., Ciaramelli, E., Olson, I.R., Moscovitch, M. The parietal cortex and episodic memory: an attentional account. Nat Rev Neurosci 2008. 9, 613-625 https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn2459
  4. Farwell, L.A. Brain fingerprinting: A comprehensive tutorial review of detection of concealed information with event-related brain potentials. Cogn Neurodyn. 2012;6(2):115-154. doi:10.1007/s11571-012-9192-2
  5. Anderson, M.C., Bunce, J.G., Barbas, H. Prefrontal-hippocampal pathways underlying inhibitory control over memory. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2016 134:145-161. Doi:10.1016/j.nlm.2016.11.008
  6. Farwell, L.A. and Smith, S.S. Using brain MERMER testing to detect knowledge despite efforts to conceal. J Forensic Sci. 2001:46(1):135-145. PMID: 11210899
  7. Farwell, LA and Donchin, E. The truth will out: Interrogative polygraphs (“lie detection”) with event-related brain potentials. Psychophysiol. 1991;28(4):531-547. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8986.1991.tb01990.x
  8. O’Brien, E, Daeid, N.N., Black, S., 2015. Science in the court: pitfalls, challenges, and solutions. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B3702015006220150062. doi.10.1098/rstb.2015.0062

MORE IN LIONS TALK SCIENCE

Forensic Ballistics – Case Study via Forensic’s blog

Case 1 (Russ Columbo Killed) The case related to Fatal injuries & Ricocheting: A notable example of the power of a ricochet was given by the fatal accident which occurred in the fall of 1933 when an actor Russ Columbo was accidentally killed by the explosion of the charge in an old muzzle-loading pistol which […]

Forensic Ballistics – Case Study — Forensic’s blog

What is Forensic Psychiatry?

Forensic psychiatry is a subspecialty of psychiatry, in which scientific and clinical expertise is applied to legal issues in legal contexts embracing civil, criminal, correctional, or legislative matters. Forensic science has gained incredible attention through popular crime investigation shows. People love to watch as the clues, and tell-tale signs of guilt unfold, playing along by making their guesses about what the evidence means. One of the most interesting of the forensic sciences is forensic psychiatry.

Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists were developed by Division 41 of the American Psychological Association, but are not an “official statement” of this organization. The guidelines offer a model of practices to which psychological experts should aspire, and are intended to amplify standards expressed in the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists. The Specialty Guidelines define as forensic psychologists those licenced psychologists who regularly function as experts in legal proceedings, who work in correctional and/or forensic mental health facilities, or who serve in agencies that adjudicate judicial or legal matters.

Common procedures/interventions

Court work

Forensic psychiatrists regularly provide expert witness evidence to courts at all levels. Psychiatrists in other specialties may also have sufficient training to do this, but, more commonly forensic psychiatrists are called to the higher courts – including crown courts or the Court of Appeal in more serious criminal cases such as homicide, other serious violence and sex offending. They may also be asked for expertise in the family court or on other civil matters, such as compensation after major trauma or disaster. Areas of expertise required include:

  • defendant’s fitness to plead and fitness to stand trial
  • capacity to form intent
  • advice to the courts on the available psychiatric defences
  • appropriateness and circumstances required for an individual’s admission to hospital for assessment
  • appropriateness of a mental health disposal at the time of sentencing
  • nature of a particular mental disorder and link to future risks
  • prognosis and availability of “appropriate treatment”
  • level of security required to treat a patient and manage risk

Consultation work

When advising colleagues in the care of patients deemed to be a risk to others, forensic psychiatrists will need to be competent to provide a detailed assessment including advice on:

  • risk of harm to others, including use of structured risk assessment/professional judgement tools
  • risk management
  • expertise on pharmacological and psychological treatment approaches to violent behaviours associated with mental disorders
  • psychodynamic formulation of the case, including psychotherapeutic strategy
  • therapeutic use of security

Community forensic work provides opportunities to assess and to work with mentally disordered offenders in facilities run by HM Prison and Probation Service and/or third sector organisations. In addition, although all psychiatrists should have a basic understanding of the system of Multi-Agency Protection Panels, in practice forensic psychiatrists must be very experienced in such work. Ethical issues, such as information sharing, differ under such working arrangements from usual clinical practice. Skills needed include knowledge of when and what otherwise confidential information must be shared with others in these circumstances, clarity of understanding of role in the arrangements and appropriate confidence in requiring information from other agencies when necessary for good and safe care. 

Forensic psychiatrists must participate in regular audit within and outside the specialty, thus helping to improve the quality of the service offered to patients.

They must understand clinical governance procedures, attend meetings and investigate complaints and serious incidents alongside colleagues in the multi-disciplinary team. 

Teaching and training is also an important part of the work. This includes weekly supervision of specialist higher trainees in forensic psychiatry, but also more junior trainees in any specialty. With recruitment and retention in mind, it is important to engage with undergraduate medical trainees too. Given the multi-professional nature of the work, a contribution to the teaching and training of people from other relevant disciplines is also expected. 

Super-specialties

People with needs relevant to the whole psychiatric spectrum may offend or become dangerous to others. In some areas this is so common that joint training has been set up to allow those who complete the training to be able to claim expertise in both (or more) areas. There is a growing need for old-age forensic psychiatry, and most offender patients have problems with substance misuse, but the three recognised combinations to date are:

  • adolescent forensic psychiatry
  • forensic learning disability psychiatry 
  • forensic psychotherapy

Visit- https://psychiatriccongress.europeannualconferences.com/

Register here- https://psychiatriccongress.europeannualconferences.com/registration.php

Forensic psychiatry is a subspecialty of psychiatry, in which scientific and clinical expertise is applied to legal issues in legal contexts embracing civil, criminal, correctional, or legislative matters. Forensic science has gained incredible attention through popular crime investigation shows. People love to watch as the clues, and tell-tale signs of guilt unfold, playing along by making […]

Forensic Psychiatry — European Conferences

From Princeton University (US) School of Engineering and Applied Science : “Researchers shrink camera to the size of a salt grain” — sciencesprings

School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University (US) November 29, 2021 Molly Sharlach Researchers at Princeton University and the University of Washington have developed an ultracompact camera the size of a coarse grain of salt. The system relies on a technology called a metasurface which is studded with 1.6 million cylindrical posts and […]

From Princeton University (US) School of Engineering and Applied Science : “Researchers shrink camera to the size of a salt grain” — sciencesprings

Decomposition via Forensic’s blog

After Rigor Mortis, Livor Mortis, and Algor Mortis, decomposition is the fourth sign of death. The length of time it takes for a substance to decompose varies greatly depending on the climate. In comparison to a northern climate, where the same amount of decomposition could take a week or longer, hot, subtropical areas can produce […]

Decomposition — Forensic’s blog

Book Review ~ Bodies of Evidence via BookZone

Bodies of Evidence: How Forensic Science Solves Crime

by Brian Innes & Lucy Doncaster


Synopsis: Bodies of Evidence is packed with intriguing case histories involving an astonishing variety of forensic evidence.

Criminal investigators have learned how to interpret vital testimony that is written in the language of fingerprints and flakes of skin, gradients of teeth and bone, splashes of blood, flecks of paint, traces of chemicals, a splinter of glass, or a uniquely striated bullet. Bodies of Evidence includes various cases from around the world, including O.J. Simpson, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, “The Mad Bomber”George Metesky, Tommie Lee Andrews, “The Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez, Jack Unterweger, Lee Harvey Oswald, “The Boston Strangler” Albert DeSalvo, Jeffrey MacDonald, the Lockerbie bombing, “The Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski, and many more. The book also chronicles and evaluates the role of those who have made the most significant contributions in the varied fields of toxicology, serology, fingerprinting, facial reconstruction, forensic ballistics, psychological profiling, and DNA fingerprinting. The text is illustrated throughout with 200 photographs, some of which have rarely been seen before.


My thoughts: I liked the different people this book talked about that I hadn’t read about before. Much of the forensics history and information I was fairly familiar with. The rest of it was interesting and informative. The stories about the killers were good, including the better known ones. Lots of phots included in this book, some a bit graphic. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.



Publisher: Amber Books – 256 pages

Publication Date: Nov 16th, 2021

My rating: 4/5 STARS


About the author: Brian Innes trained as a scientist and worked as a biochemical researcher before turning to writing. He published a large number of articles and books on forensic science. He died in 2014.

Lucy Doncaster is the editor and author of numerous history and popular science books, with topics ranging from the greatest mysteries of the unexplained, Churchill’s army, and the history of the world to DNA, big data, and deep space.


Bodies of Evidence: How Forensic Science Solves Crime by Brian Innes & Lucy Doncaster Synopsis: Bodies of Evidence is packed with intriguing case histories involving an astonishing variety of forensic evidence. Criminal investigators have learned how to interpret vital testimony that is written in the language of fingerprints and flakes of skin, gradients of teeth and […]

Book Review ~ Bodies of Evidence — BookZone

FORENSICS IN THE COURTROOM via Manisha Nandan

IT IS A MISTAKE TO THEORIZE BEFORE YOU HAVE ALL EVIDENCE. IT BIASES THE JUDGMENT – Sherlock Holmes

FORENSICS IN THE COURTROOM — Manisha Nandan

[ CRIME NEVER DIES – PART 3 ]

UDGMENT – Sherlock Holmes

See the source image

When someone is charged with a crime, the prosecution and defence typically call in witnesses to testify about the guilt or innocence of the person who has been accused. One of the most important players in all this testimony often isn’t a person at all: it’s the forensic evidence.

And these evidences are obtained by scientific methods such as ballistics, blood test, and DNA test and further used in court proceeding . Forensic evidence often helps to establish the guilt or innocence of possible suspects.

So its Analysis is very important as they are used in the investigation and prosecution of civil as well as criminal matters. Moreover Forensic evidence can be used to link crimes that are thought to be related to one another. For example, DNA evidence can link one offender to several different crimes or crime scenes and this linking of crimes helps the police authorities to narrow the range of possible suspects and to establish patterns of for crimes to identify and prosecute suspect.

CASES REQUIRING FORENSIC EVIDENCE
Forensic evidence is useful in helping solve the most violent and brutal of cases, as well as completely nonviolent cases related to crimes such as fraud and hacking.

If a decomposing body is found in the woods somewhere, forensic scientists can use DNA, dental records, and other evidence to identify the person, determine the cause of death, and sometimes determine if the body contains material from another person who may have been present at the time of death.

Investigators often look for forensic evidence in cases where sexual assault is suspected. In some cases, DNA evidence can prove or disprove allegations of rape or child molestation.

Forensics are also useful in drug cases. Scientists can test unidentified substances that were found on an individual to confirm whether or not they are cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or other controlled substances. Investigators use forensic toxicology to determine whether a driver was impaired at the time they were involved in an accident.

The field of forensics isn’t only limited to evidence obtained from people’s bodies. Ballistics (otherwise known as weapons testing) can tell investigators a lot about cases where gunfire was involved. Did a bullet come from a particular gun? Where was the shooter standing? How many shots did they fire? Ballistics can help answer all of these questions. Another area of forensic evidence lies within the circuits of our phones and computers. Those who commit cyber crimes leave behind traces of their activities in databases and documents scattered throughout the digital world. Forensic computer specialists know how to sort through the information to discover the truth.

However ,The question of admissibility of evidence is whether the evidence is relevant to a fact in issue in the case. Admissibility is always decided by the judge and all relevant evidence is potentially admissible, subject to common law and statutory rules on exclusion. Relevant evidence is evidence of facts in issue and evidence of sufficient relevance to prove or disprove a fact in issue.

As per Section 45 of Indian evidence Act 1872- When the Court has to form and opinion upon a point of foreign law or of science or art, or as to identity of handwriting or finger impressions, the opinions upon that point of persons specially skilled in such foreign law, science or art, or in questions as to identity of handwriting or finger impressions are relevant facts. Such persons are called experts. Further as per Section 46 of Indian evidence Act 1872- it is stated that facts, not otherwise relevant, are relevant if they support or are inconsistent with the opinions of experts, when such opinions are relevant. Though there is no specific DNA legislation enacted in India, Sec.53 and Sec. 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 provides for DNA tests impliedly and they are extensively used in determining complex criminal problems.

Sec. 53 deals with examination of the accused by medical practitioner at the request of police officer if there are reasonable grounds to believe that an examination of his person will afford evidence as to the commission of the offence. Sec. 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 further provides for the examination of the arrested person by the registered medical practitioner at the request of the arrested person.

The law commission of India in its 37th report stated that to facilitate effective investigation, provision has been made authorizing an examination of arrested person by a medical practitioner, if from the nature of the alleged offence or the circumstances under which it is alleged to have been committed, there are reasonable grounds for believing that an examination of the person will afford evidence. Sec. 27(1) of Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 says when a investigating officer request the court of CJM or the court of CMM in writing for obtaining sample of hand writing, finger prints, foot prints, photographs, blood, saliva, semen, hair, voice of any accused person, reasonable suspect to be involved in the commission of an offence under this act. It shall be lawful for the court of CJM or the court of CMM to direct that such samples shall be given by the accused person to the police officer either through a medical practitioner or otherwise as the case may be.

Section 65(B) of Indian Evidence Act says that electronic records needs to be certified by a person occupying a responsible official position for being admissible as evidence in any court proceedings.
So as the capabilities of forensic science have expanded and evolved over the years, facing a number of significant challenges.

Then also a main weakness is in its susceptibility to cognitive bias. Today, despite remaining a powerful element within the justice system, and playing a key role in establishing and reconstructing events, forensic science much like any scientific domain, faces weaknesses and limitations.

These issues can arise throughout an investigation; from when the forensic evidence is first collected at the scene of the crime, until the evidence is presented at court.

So there is utmost need of forensic science because of reasons like –
The need for the application of science in criminal investigation has arisen from the following factors:
1. Social Changes:
The society is undergoing drastic social changes at a very rapid pace. India has changed from a colonial subject race to a democratic republic. Sizeable industrial complex has sprung up. The transport facilities have been revolutionized. There is a growing shift from a rural society to an urban one. These changes have made the old techniques of criminal investigation obsolete. In the British days the police was so much feared that once it had laid its hands upon an individual, he would ‘confess’ to any crime, he may not have even known. The fear is vanishing now. The use of ‘third degree’ techniques used in those days does not find favour with the new generation of police officers and judges.

2. Hiding facilities:
The quick means of transport and high density of population in cities have facilitated the commission of crimes. The criminal can hide himself in a corner of a city or move away to thousands of miles in a few hours. He, thus often escapes apprehension and prosecution.

3. Technical knowledge:
The technical knowledge of an average man has increased tremendously in recent years. The crime techniques are getting refined. The investigating officer, therefore, needs modern methods to combat the modern criminal.

4. Wide field: The field of activities of the criminal is widening at a terrific rate. Formely, the criminals were usually local, now we find that national or international criminal is a common phenomenon. Smuggling,drug trafficking ,financial frauds and forgeries offer fertile and ever expanding fields.

5. Better Evidence: The physical evidence evaluated by an expert is objective. If a fingerprint is found at the scene of crime, it can belong to only one person. If this person happens to be be the suspect, he must account for its presence at the scene. Likewise, if a bullet is recovered from a dead body, it can be attributed to only one firearm. If this firearm happens to be that of the accused , he must account account for its involvement in the crime. Such evidence is always verifiable.

In reality, those rare few cases with good forensic evidence are the ones that make it to court.—Pat Brown

@MANISHANANDAN

[ CRIME NEVER DIES – PART 3 ] IT IS A CAPITAL MISTAKE TO THEORIZE BEFORE YOU HAVE ALL EVIDENCE. IT BIASES THE JUDGMENT – Sherlock Holmes When someone is charged with a crime, the prosecution and defence typically call in witnesses to testify about the guilt or innocence of the person who has been […]

FORENSICS IN THE COURTROOM — Manisha Nandan

The Risks of Cutting Corners in Forensics via Jonathan Desverney @ USA News

The Risks of Doing Forensics on the Cheap - featured image

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With the demise of the internationally renowned public sector UK Forensic Science Service in 2012 came the promulgation and growth of a new competitive marketplace.

Private sector companies working in a hastily drawn up framework for forensic science provision were invited into rounds of competitive tendering that were driven by the police service.

These were based on the notion that the Forensic Science Service had been inefficient, delivering forensic science analysis in an expensive and untimely manner.

However, high-quality forensic science provision was always costly and the British police service wanted to operate in a new culture of cost reduction and value for money. They wanted full control of their spending and that is understandable.

But with the rise of competitive tendering the provision of forensic science was commoditized. Specific work and tests in each forensic discipline were itemized and bid for by the companies.

The police forces guaranteed specific volumes of testing to the companies in order to get the best prices and the police began to dictate to the companies what tests they required against the ‘pricelist’ when potential forensic evidence had been collected from crime scenes.

The police service also determined to undertake certain basic scientific tasks themselves. By bringing these in house they could further save money and reduce the burden on their budgets.

This new and cheaper approach has been in place for nine years and has been subjected to comment by critics and supporters alike. In 2018 one major player in the new UK forensic market, Key Forensic Services Ltd, collapsed. They had won a significant share of the available forensic science work, but couldn’t sustain the service.

Many working in forensic science warned that the quality of expert analysis and interpretation would be lost as scientists would no longer be able to refer their findings to colleagues across overlapping disciplines in order to provide a holistic approach to obtaining the best evidence from the forensic samples presented.

This would inevitably lead to the loss of the opportunities for contextualization of the evidential findings for use in the justice process.

In addition the fragmentation of the industry has seen many expert scientists set up their own niche services and struggle to get regular work. Some left the industry altogether.

There has never been a properly constituted academic analysis of what these changes have meant to UK forensic science provision and what the impact has been.

Until now.

In a comprehensive and thorough six-year research programme, Dr Karen Richmond from the University of Copenhagen undertook a long and objective period of fieldwork and analysis.

Interviews were conducted not only with forensic scientists, but also with allied institutional agents including senior professional members of the judiciary of England and Wales, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, the Office of the Forensic Science Regulator, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Royal Society, the UK Accreditation Service, the Metropolitan Police Service, and the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

Her findings are both startling and important. They point to a thoroughly dysfunctional marketplace that has failed to harmonize the array of tests and reports in a way that should have led to the configuration of a homogenous service from each provider to all police forces.

Instead, the exact opposite has occurred, with very different requirements being demanded of providers by each separate police force so that scientists are “reinventing the wheel” for each customer.

Furthermore the scientific strategy for the analysis and reporting of forensic samples is set by the police with little or no scientific training. They will perhaps have undertaken Crime Scene Investigation training, but that doesn’t allow for the best objective understanding of what might work or not work in each case.

This can result in loss of opportunities as the scientists are often not able to question the police requirements and cannot make their own investigative assessments of what the best science is to be applied.

There has been a market push and perhaps an over reliance on DNA testing as the “go to” science, to the detriment of other scientific processes such as the searching for, collection of,  and analysis of fibers.

Indeed there are a host of critical findings that reflect negatively on the way the market has developed. Dr Richmond says in her report:

The data demonstrates not only how government agencies failed to adapt to the introduction of competitive tendering, but also how the market which developed in their wake began to influence, distort and reconfigure the very processes of forensic strategy-setting and analysis.

She goes on to say:

The results offer a compelling insight into the ways in which these agents have adapted to changing relations, shifting priorities, and the imposition of market logics within a sector unaccustomed to the obtrusions of economic efficiency and external regulation.

After nine years there are continuing tensions and frustrations. They are keenly felt by scientists and the companies providing forensic science services. These should not now be set aside as just another academic study.

Dr Richmond’s work has shown that in hindsight the implementation of the decision to restructure forensic science provision to the UK criminal justice system was flawed.

It perhaps should have never left the public sector in the first place, where in a government agency cost considerations would have remained secondary to the need to provide comprehensive criminal justice outcomes.

The US Perspective

In a recent column for The Crime Report “ Why We Need a Federal Forensic Science Agency,” I argued that forensic science provision in the U.S. cannot continue to support unvalidated and often junk science in its courts to the detriment of a fair and just criminal justice system. This remains the case.

However the UK seems to have also got things wrong. Not in the quality of work that is done by the forensic providers, as this is regulated and accredited to international standards;  but in the way that the science has been dumbed down by the police.

The emphasis on treating science as a sequence of commoditized testing processes has led to the inability of scientists to properly engage their expertise in support of criminal justice in the way they did when forensic science was delivered as a public sector service.

If the U.S. is eventually to embrace a nationally mandated federal forensic science system in the future,  then there are clear lessons to be learned from Dr Richmond’s research.

The application of forensic science to the justice process should be led by independent experts, working in a quality controlled environment, to provide the best evidence for the courts. A system that allows the police to control the work of scientists, without having recourse to the expert opinion of those scientists before the work is carried out, should not be the way to go.Gareth Bryon

Gareth Bryon

Indeed the UK police approach to seeking quick results cheaply from forensic science may one day mean that the best opportunities to secure a conviction in a high-profile case may go out of the window, because other potential evidence is overlooked or not considered based on cost.

This couldn’t happen in the U.S., could it?

Gareth Bryon is a former Detective Chief Superintendent who worked as a senior officer in the South Wales Police and the British Transport Police, where he led major crime investigation and forensic science services for over 30 years.

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