New Developments in Forensic Science
Through the use of computers and other technology, advances in forensic science are increasing the capability of law enforcement agencies to provide important physical evidence within court trials and hearings. With this technology, forensic scientists are relentlessly developing new methods, equipment, tools and techniques to detect evidence that links criminals to crimes, as well as help to exonerate suspects accused of crimes that were not committed. This increase in the ability to detect evidence previously passed over by human investigators is opening up new doors in how evidence is collected and handled, and will inevitably change the way in which courts determine the value of materials processed from crime scenes. From detecting fingerprints on clothing to new autopsy procedures, forensic science is finding new ways to discover evidence otherwise undetectable by standard investigative methods.
In one of the most high-profile murder cases today, the evidence that potentially links Casey Anthony to the death of her daughter, Caylee, rests exclusively on the contents of Anthony’s car trunk. This evidence, including an odor and a potential “post mortem banded” hair are what prosecutors consider the connection between the suspect and victim. The technologies involved in determining the cause of the odor, a smell related to decomposing matter, and the attributes of the hair, “banded” in the same manner as hair from a corpse, are breakthroughs in forensic science.
Forensic scientists have also made strides in how fingerprints can be used as evidence, including the ability to detect and recover fingerprints from fabric and clothing, a process that has been. In addition, fingerprints are also being used to detect the presence of condom lubricant, which can be used to link accused rapists to rape victims.
The information and evidence gathered from an autopsy can be instrumental in determining the cause of death of an individual as well as any indications and evidence that can be used in a criminal or civil trial. The ability of forensic scientists to perform an autopsy without surgery is quickly becoming a reality as computers provide a means for examining organs and tissues through catheterization and imaging techniques.
Forensic science has the ability to fully use technology available as a means to provide evidence used in court trials and hearings. As technology continues to develop and more experts endorse the findings of these methods, the field of forensic science will continue to experience tremendous growth and the satisfaction of reducing the number of criminals on the street.