Essay on the Evolution and Application of Forensic Science
Number of words: 740
The position of forensic science in solving crimes has never been in doubt. However, with the surge in crimes that are well-thought-out and executed in modern times, it is now an indispensable tool in investigations. The use of forensic science was first recorded in China around 700AD, and without question, the field has come a long way. The Chinese used the science to authenticate clay sculptures and for document identification. Legal system disciplinary associations run in tandem with forensic science. Thus, forensic science can be defined as the use of scientific principles to interrogate the law. Forensic science is a field of study used by a forensic investigator to lay bare the facts of a crime.
Still, in its formative years in the criminal justice system, the importance of forensic science can be traced back to the earliest civilizations. Ancient Roman and Greek societies were the most initial users of forensic science. Notable discoveries in medicine were made by these civilizations, particularly in pharmacology. They researched how toxins are produced, used, and their symptoms. Subsequently, past murders were investigated based on the findings of this study. In 3000 BC, the Egyptians performed what could have been described as an autopsy. After death, they removed the human body’s internal organs for examination in a religious function, making it the first instance of an autopsy in history. Quintilian, a jurist, and a Roman orator, acquitted a person determined to be innocent by forensic science in the 1st century AD. The present legal and court system is based on the model set by the Romans.
Lie detector test was applied in ancient civilizations through the examination of tongue, mouth, and saliva of a suspect to infer guilt or innocence. For instance, ancient Indians filled the mouth of the suspect with dry rice and then asked him/her to spit it out. In principle, less saliva would be produced by a guilt-ridden individual. The suspect would manifest guilt if rice got lodged in their mouths. In 1880, forensic science started to take shape in the world with William James Herschel and Henry Faulds pioneering fingerprint analysis. Their theory was based on fingerprint uniqueness. Presently, reviews of criminal fingerprint procedures are based on the Henry system of classification. In the 20th century, a revolutionary concept was introduced by Edmond Locard, which suggested that traces are left by everything that comes into contact with a crime scene. Additionally, he concluded that bits of a crime scene is taken away by an individual when he/she leaves. To date, forensic science made significant developments. From cyber forensics to the profiling of DNA and high-end devices, investigations have been eased than ever before (Tewari and Ravikumar, 2000).
Forensic science experts perform distinct roles in the investigation process of a crime. Some of these roles are visiting crime scenes to gather and transport collected evidence to the laboratory. The investigators of a crime scene do this. Additionally, examiners of latent print specialize in footprints, palm prints, and fingerprints. Examiners of firearms assess shell casings, gun residue, and bullets to deduce the kind of firearm that was used in a crime. Other experts in forensic science are the examiners of tool marks. These experts search for distinguishing markings left by the perpetrator’s tools. Furthermore, there are specialists called document examiners that decipher the originality and source of a document left in the scene of a crime (Robertson et al., 2016).
Forensic science capabilities offer modern crime investigations the tools to know patterns of blood splatter, ascertain the identity of a mysterious felon and to determine the origin of illegal drugs. Profiling of DNA has enabled investigators to rule in or out a suspect’s involvement in a crime. Court cases in the criminal justice system have been made easier by forensic science devices that play a pivotal role. Without science, there is no telling how many wrongful convictions would exist to this date, and how many criminals would walk away scot-free (Yang et al., 2014).
Robertson, B., Vignaux, G. A., and Berger, C. E. (2016). Interpreting evidence: evaluating forensic science in the courtroom. John Wiley and Sons.
Tewari, R. K., and Ravikumar, K. V. (2000). History and development of forensic science in India. Journal of postgraduate medicine, 46, 303.
Yang, Y., Xie, B., and Yan, J. (2014). Application of next-generation sequencing technology in forensic science. Genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics, 12, 190-197.