Forensics Unit 1 Review

What factors affect how we observe something?

Emotional states, whether you are alone or with a group of people, the number of people and/or animals in the area, the type of activity that is going on around you, how much activity is occurring around you.

What are the first tasks of a forensic scientist at a crime scene?

Analyze and interpret blood spatter patterns, make observations of crimes based on autopsies, and take photographs and videos of victims and crime scenes. (Find, examine, and evaluate evidence from a crime scene. Apply scientific knowledge to analyze the crime scene)

Explain the difference between criminology and criminalistics. Which one would also be a definition for forensic science?

Criminalistics- The scientific examination of physical evidence for legal purposes. Criminology- Another term for forensic science: Includes psychology, studying the crime scene for motive, traits and behavior that will help interpret the evidence.

Where do forensic scientists work?

(forensic labs) crime labs, police departments, medical labs, independent agencies, and hospitals.

What are limits of perception?

Selective information take-in, unconsciously apply filters, conscious effort, not always accurate, not always reflective of reality, level of interest, stress, concentration, distractions, personal beliefs, motives

Whose observations are important in a criminal investigation?

Forensic scientist, police officers, photographers, eyewitnesses

What was the purpose of the innocence project?

works to free the innocent, prevent wrongful convictions, and create fair, compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone. (prevent injustices)

Why do eyewitness accounts vary from person to person? What sorts of things can influence a witness's observation?

memory accuracy, stress factors, violence/disturbance, biases, errors, false information, distraction, interest

Define Forensic Science

Application of science to criminal and civil laws that are enforced by the criminal justice system.Includes areas of biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and more.Present results in court to a judge/juryResults not necessarily reviewed or they are reviewed by the "other side"If results are incorrect, innocent person can be wrongly convicted - prison or death possible


A public official whom may or may not be trained in medical sciences in charge of signing off on death certificate.

Medical examiner

A medical doctor in which performs autopsies and evaluates investigative information.

Forensic Scientist

Provides impartial scientific evidence for use in courts of law and links evidence to crimes and suspects by identifying and comparing relevant material.

Crime Scene Investigator

Involves in complex crime scene investigation packaging evidence to a a lab and preparing detailed reports.

What is the difference between the scientific method used in forensic science compared to other scientific fields?

Basic science publishes results in scientific journals for others to review, whereas forensic science presents results in court to a judge/jury.

What are the important tools/skills of the crime scene investigator?

Responsible for complex crime scene investigationsDevelop, secure, and package physical evidence for scientific researchPrepare detailed reports on observations and activities at a scene for the law enforcement agency responsible for the investigation of the crimeTestify in court regarding findings and processing methods used at the scene.


supports law enforcement by analyzing evidence.


analyzes illicit drugs.


regulate alcohol, tobacco, and firearms.

Secret Service

protection of people and investigative counterfeit money and credit cards.



What do you need to do to be a good observer?

observe systematically, turn off filters, avoid jumping to conclusions, compensate for faulty memories, etc.

What is the goal of the defense attorney? The prosecution?

Defense: Does NOT have to prove innocence.Prosecution: must provide guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Summarize the 16 statements from the national Code for Professional Responsibility for Forensic Science and Forensic Medicine Service Providers.

1. Accurately represent experience and expertise2. Pursue professional competency3. Commit and benefit from continuous learning and training.4. Promote valid methods5. Use materials appropriately6. Avoid participation in conflicts of interest.7. Conduct full, fair, and unbiased examinations.8. Make and retain full, clear, and accurate detailed records.9. Base conclusions on sufficiency not outside influence.10. Do not render conclusions outside one's expertise.11. Prepare reports in unambiguous terms disclosing all limitations.12. Do not alter records or withhold information from reports.13. present accurate and complete data in reports.14. Communicate honestly and fully once a report is issued unless prohibited by law.15. Document and notify management or quality assurance personnel of adverse events.16. Ensure reporting through proper management channels.