Forensic Science is the application of science to law. Forensic science uses highly developed technologies to uncover scientific evidence in a variety of fields. Modern forensic science has a broad range of applications.
The medical examiner is the central figure in the forensic investigation of crimes involving a victim. It is the responsibility of the medical examiner to visit the crime scene, conduct an autopsy in cases of death, examine the medical evidence and laboratory reports, study the victim's medical history, and put all this information together in a report. The medical examiner may call upon forensic scientists who are specialists in these various fields for help in investigating a crime.
In cases involving gunshot wounds, the medical examiner looks for gunpowder residues on the clothing of the victim and around wounds. In the case of knife wounds, the medical examiner must distinguish between a cut and a stab wound. The examiner also looks for defense wounds, cuts caused when an intended victim grabs the knife of an assailant in self-protection.
Medical examiners are also called upon to investigate cases of asphyxiation—that is, death from lack of oxygen in the blood. Obstruction of the victim's air passage by an object in the throat or compression of the victim's chest by a person or an object can also result in asphyxiation. Finally, asphyxiation can be caused by the replacement of oxygen in the red blood cells by another gas, as in carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be the result of suicide, homicide, or accident.
In a death involving carbon monoxide poisoning, a closed garage door and no marks on the body are usually taken as an indication of suicide, whereas the presence of tools around the car and grease on the victim's hands points to accidental death. Forensic science uses sophisticated laboratory techniques to detect the presence of substances in the victim, in the suspected criminal, or at the crime scene. One is to measure the amount of alcohol exhaled in the breath of an individual, which reveals the concentration of alcohol in the person's blood. Recent advances in technology have produced alcohol breath-testing instruments so accurate that their results are evidential. Blood-alcohol level can also be determined by actual blood tests, usually through gas chromatography.
Forensic examination of substances found at a crime scene can often establish the presence of the suspect at the scene. One of the oldest techniques of forensic science is dusting the scene of a crime for fingerprints, impressions of the fingertips left on surfaces touched bare-handed.
In one method of obtaining a fingerprint, a technician spreads fine powder over a surface with a brush or magnetic wand. Computer technology now allows law-enforcement officers to record fingerprints digitally and to transmit and receive fingerprint information electronically for rapid identification.
Other evidence present at a crime scene may include blood, hair, skin, or semen. Recent developments in technology now allow scientists to examine the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), or genetic material, of these substances to establish whether they belong to the victim or to a suspected assailant. This process produces enough DNA to compare with a sample of DNA taken from a suspected criminal.
District attorneys routinely call upon medical examiners to give expert testimony in a trial, especially concerning the findings of an autopsy and the results of laboratory tests. With time, the need for a more scientific investigation of unnatural deaths became apparent, and coroners began calling on physicians for help. After the formation of the United States, elected officials appointed coroners. In 1877 Massachusetts adopted a statewide system requiring that an Office of the Medical Examiner, to be headed by a physician replace the coroner’s office. In 1915 New York City estshed a comprehensive program in which the medical examiner was specifically authorized to investigate all deaths resulting from criminal violence, accidents, or suicides, and those that occurred suddenly to people who appeared to be in good health. & #160; 160; 60; 0; Writeor paste your abstract here.