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Utilizing Of Forensic Analysis In The United States Justice System

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Over the past decades, forensic science has evolved and has been used by most states as a vital need in modern legal practice. It is widely used in courts as a major source for the outcome of a verdict. Forensic science has attained a merit of its own although it is relatively new in the crime world. As technology and science have evolved with time, more and new practices in law have been established. In the United States specifically, the utilizing of forensic analysis has become a routine.

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The rate at which forensic evidence is used in criminal courts depends on the type of offence. For example, for murder cases forensic science evidence is presented almost always. In criminal cases, a prosecution team commissions most of the forensic assignments. On the other hand, the legal team of the defendant can commission forensic assignments to challenge or check the prosecution’s forensic evidence or to determine the innocence of the defendant. Forensic evidence has enabled to link offenders to their victims and crime scenes using physical evidence and also in identifying individuals without testimonies. With perspiration, a fleck of blood, saliva on a cups rim, or a piece of hair has been successfully used to link a suspect to a crime. Innocent and wrongly accused individuals have been exonerated using such evidence. Persons who have been jailed for years have later been exonerated after dna analysis has been carried out to prove their innocence.

For positive results, crime laboratories have enforced professionalism, adopted reliable procedures and coordinated with both the legal and scientific communities. For a scientific system to be accepted before a court, the evidence derived from it does not have to go through a prescribed test. For future admissibility of scientific evidence in court to be shaped, development of more newer and advanced forensic tools and techniques is being formed as technology and time progresses, and courts are increasingly relying more on scientific evidence to deliver a judgment.

Evidence of forensic science should always be neutral. Scientists should not have any stake in the case outcome, though this is not always the case. Numerous deficiencies have limited forensic services to the society and have therefore weakened its scientific foundation. Here are some of the major problems in forensic science and dna testing, astounding frequency of cross contamination and sample mix ups. A surprisingly high rate of errors in the laboratory is one of the emerging problems which involves cross contamination and mix up of dna samples. Such errors appear to be persistent and appear even in the accredited dna labs. The forensic scientists though have managed to reduce such instances and the rate of dna testing errors have been claimed to be low but growing evidence suggests otherwise.

Test results are at times falsified by deceitful dna analysts. This emerging problem has led to the analysts faking test outcome to cover up errors that come up from sample mix ups and cross contamination of dna samples. Inadequate legal counsel is another major problem dna testing will not solve. In some instances, defense counsel never consult scientific experts. Insufficient funds are evident in certain jurisdictions and they cannot send evidence items to private labs or establish own labs. Though valuable forensic DNA evidence can be found in decades old samples, the DNA left in scenes of crime can be affected by factors like sunlight, bacteria, moisture and heat among others. As a result, such dna may not be used to give evidence and just like fingerprints, analysts will not use dna testing to give the time period when a suspect was at the scene of crime or at what time the suspect was there.

Cases that would have been impossible to prosecute before the arrival of dna typing are now prosecuted. A number of states created dna databases on offenders that are known when they compare against unsettled crimes. Matches are provided from their databases which assist to successfully prosecute a handful of them. Persons wrongly convicted are exonerated by use of dna which is termed as a legislative reform movement. Convictions can be successfully challenged using dna analysis on existing evidence. To ensure that testimony and results can withstand rigorous examination and that they are of high standards and are maintained for the collection and preservation of evidence. Dna methodology of testing must also meet precise scientific criteria for accuracy and reliability. It is clear that the United States justice system depends on the use of natural science based forensic evidence, and admissibility is simply one of the steps evidence must satisfy to be utilized in the justice system. Forensic analysis, controversial in many aspects, is a primary source of information for when determining a verdict for a case and natural science based forensic evidence should be carefully studied and examined thoroughly in order for justice to be properly achieved.

31 October 2020

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