Examine the Role of Science, Admissibility and Reliability of Forensic Science in the Courtroom
Week 4 – Discussion
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Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to your classmates. Your grade will reflect both the quality of your initial post and the depth of your responses. Refer to the Discussion Forum Grading Rubric under the Settings icon above for guidance on how your discussion will be evaluated.
How the Evidence Changed Everything Role-Play [WLOs: 1, 2, 3, 4] [CLOs: 2, 3, 4, 5]
Forensic scientists perform the technical work of analyzing and interpreting the different types of evidence from a crime scene using scientific equipment in a laboratory to guide the investigation, allow detectives to effectively narrow their work, and ultimately hold offenders accountable.
Prior to beginning work on this discussion presentation, please review the following:
From the text:
Chapter 5: Forensic Toxicology
Chapter10: Blood and Other Biological Fluids
Chapter 11: DNA Analysis
Surrogate Testimony After Williams: A New Answer to the Question of Who May Testify Regarding the Contents of a Laboratory Report
What Happens If Autopsy Reports Are Found Testimonial?: The Next Steps to Ensure the Admissibility of These Critical Documents in Criminal Trials
To Analyse a Trace or Not? Evaluating the Decision-Making Process in the Criminal Investigation
Examining the Role of Science in the Courtroom: Admissibility and Reliability of Forensic Science in the Courtroom
Testing the Testimonial Doctrine: The impact of Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts on State-level Criminal Prosecutions an Procedure
The e-book Forensic Science Evidence: Can the Law Keep up with Science?
From the video Forensic Science in Action: From Crime Scene to Courtroom: Segment 6. Forensics: Examination of the Victim 03:25
You are also strongly encouraged to review the recommended sources, which may further support this discussion forum.
As an intern at a Forensic Crime Scene Response Unit (CSRU) and as part of your duties, the unit manager occasionally asks you to develop presentations. This week the local chapter of the American Bar Association has requested a presentation for their quarterly professional development luncheon. You will develop a short presentation about the evolution of and impact the scientific analysis of evidence has had on both criminal investigations and at trials. You must address admissibility issues resulting from case law such as:
Frye v. United States (1923)
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (1993)
Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts (2009)
Crawford v. Washington (2004)
PowerPoint or any other presentation software may be used, especially in creating a visual presentation of your research design, but you must narrate your presentation and thus record it. You are not required to appear on camera but may choose to do so if you please. Write speaker’s notes as a script at the bottom of each slide to enable smooth narration. Narration is required. To include narration, you will need to record your presentation using Screencast-O-MaticPreview the document or similar software and share a link with others. You will need either a laptop’s built-in microphone or an external microphone headset to record your voice.
The following presentation resources are available in the Ashford Writing Center for you to use:
How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Presentation Tips (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
The file for the presentation should be attached or embedded in your post for your peers to review, and be sure to link your screencast recording. The class has been separated into five topics. You will be assigned a topic by your last name to complete this presentation.
The breakdown is as follows if your last name begins with the corresponding letter:
A through C: Fingerprints
D through G: DNA
H through L: Nonbiological trace evidence
M through R: Digital evidence
S through Z: Drugs
Your presentation must address the following elements:
Describe the history of the scientific processes used for your category of evidence.
Describe how the science in your area has evolved.
Explain the current standard for analysis included in this category.
Identify any shifts in how the evidence or science is perceived.
Explain how the results might be used in a criminal investigation.
Explain how the results might be used at trial.
Identify any challenges to having the evidence admitted at trial, specifically focusing on case law that has established standards for scientific analysis and admitting the evidence at trial.
Your presentation should have a minimum of five content slides (excluding cover and reference slides) and be at least three minutes long. Support your presentation with examples from this week’s required material(s) and/or other scholarly resources and properly cite any references either in the text, on bullet points, or in the notes section. You must use at least one scholarly or credible, professional resource to support your presentation. The presentation must include a cover slide, and a references slide for sources cited in the body of the presentation.
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