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Free «Physical Evidence» Essay Sample

O'Connor (2011) defines burglary as the act of breaking into the domains of other people for the sole purpose of committing a crime. This entry is often unconstitutional. Burglary is associated not only with theft but also sexual harassment and assault, whether or not the acts are committed. In this case, a suspect apprehended after a burglary is found with glass particles on his clothes and shoes. How can this evidence be processed?

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Smith (2012) says that first of all small fragments of glass removed from the suspect should be put in a paper packet. On the other hand, all outer clothing should be submitted to the Trace Evidence Unit in accordance with the outlines and procedures governing Clothing and Fabrics. Forensic scientists are advised to maintain minimal handling and wrap and label the clothes. Nonetheless, bloodstained or wet clothes must be dried before wrapping in a paper. All the large pieces of glass should be collected to allow reconstruction if the experts require to establish the breaking force. While carrying out this function, it is advisable that experts must never use glass containers, but keep these fragments in a pill-box with a tight lid (O'Connor, 2011). After collection, forensic experts must compare the pieces of glass; hence, they must always ensure that samples of broken glass accompany the evidence taken from the scene. It is necessary to keep the samples for comparisons with glass pieces under consideration.

Forensic science is the use of scientific knowledge to look into the underlying interests in criminality. A forensic scientist tries to understand and apply the principles of science to analyze evidence obtained from specific criminal investigations. Forensic scientists have three main roles. First of all, they analyze the physical evidence. The scientists help evaluate the physical evidence that is obtained from the scene of the crime and in most cases, they strive to minimize error and biases. They use scientific knowhow to try and understand the crime scene and come up with valid conclusion. Secondly, forensic scientists give professional opinions about crime. Forensic Scientists provide relevant scientific evidence for the crime and also give professional court testimonials.

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Finally, forensic scientists help in training (law enforcement workforce), in detection, gathering, protecting and maintenance of physical evidence. These scientists often employ two methods when analyzing physical evidence including. The first method is identification. This is determining the physical and chemical identification of an object. Results obtained are stored to help prove identity of suspected item and provide sufficient grounds to rule out other substances. The other method is comparison analysis. This means putting the suspect and standard sample under same tests, and examinations to determine whether or not they have a similar origin.

According to Saferstein (2011), individual characteristic simply means that a substance, an item or evidence has a high likelihood of being loosely linked with a universal foundation. Nevertheless, it is not possible to provide exact mathematical calculation to establish the exact percentage of the likelihood that evidence is linked to a common origin. Examples of such evidences are bringing edges of broken debris together in a jigsaw manner, comparing random markings on tool marks or bullets, and matching characteristics of two fingerprints. Other examples include comparing of handwriting mannerisms, matching random or asymmetrical print patterns in footwear or tire tracks and comparing of DNA.

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Class characteristic refers to evidence that is only associated or linked with a group. This means that it was not possible to link the physical evidence with a high percentage to a source. This evidence is never associated with a single origin, but instead it is linked with a group (Saferstein, 2011). The degree of certainty is determining factor to the group that the evidence would belong. Nonetheless, the diverse nature of this characteristic evidence makes comparison quite significant in a criminal investigation (O'Connor, 2011). For example, linking a fiber to a particular sweater and associating paint chip with a specific car.  On the other hand, blood can only be identified to limited groups, but not specific individual or animal which makes the process breathtaking.  O'Connor (2011) adds that determining the origin of a piece of glass is hard while drugs are normally grouped into a specific group names, and lastly hair and soil cannot be tied to a single source or point of origin.

Smith (2012) claims that, the evidence remains in a controlled environment from the crime scene to ensure it is not contaminated. Upon arrival at the crime lab, the authority signs for the evidence and later, dusted and fumed for finger prints. Biological evidence is tested for a DNA match. Weapons are examined for unique identifiers run through the system. The victim is also examined for evidence that is later returned to the crime lab for analysis.  Evidence from the lab and the crime scene is then compared and conclusions drawn. This analysis, in turn, would help law enforcement agencies to deal with crime.

Glass fragments are unique and can be categorized differently including those caused by heat, impact, and high-velocity projectiles (Smith, 2012). Glass may have fingerprints and should be handled with care and preserving the edges is crucial. Before collection, pieces of glass that are hanging should be marked and handed in for reconstruction. This may help in matching them to the broken object and later in establishing their point of origin. Large pieces of glass should be collected using tweezers. To protect them against breakage, it is essential to wrap the glass in a soft material; however, suspicious glass is packaged separately. The experts then should seal and appropriately label the container before obtaining samples for comparison. For small or tiny glass particles, it is necessary to comb the suspect’s hair to retrieve all glasses, check for fragments in the wounds, and collect all clothing and package separately in clean paper. It is beneficial to use a pill box to store the tiny fragments.


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