skip navigation

Add your conference to our Justice Events calendar


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

  NCJ Number: NCJ 236475     Find in a Library
  Title: Role and Impact of Forensic Evidence in the Criminal Justice System, Executive Summary
  Document URL: PDF 
  Author(s): Tom McEwen
  Corporate Author: Institute for Law and Justice
United States of America
  Date Published: 11/2011
  Page Count: 12
  Annotation: This is the executive summary of the report on a study of the role and impact of forensic evidence in the criminal justice system conducted by the Institute for Law and Justice, Inc.
  Abstract: The study tracked cases and forensic evidence through local criminal justice processes (Denver, CO, and San Diego, CA) for homicides, sexual assaults, aggravated assaults robberies, and burglaries. Two smaller studies involved a survey of 75 police departments in order to obtain information on the organizational placement, staffing, and responsibilities of crime-scene units, as well as an analysis of an experiment in the Miami-Dade Police Department (FL) to determine whether clearance rates for non-suspect property crimes could be improved through faster processing of DNA evidence. One of the key findings from the processing of serious cases was that forensic evidence is collected in almost all homicides and the majority of sexual assaults, but the collection of such evidence declines significantly for aggravated assaults, robberies, and burglaries. Another key finding is that the majority of forensic analysis for closed cases occurred after arrest, which shows the importance of forensic analysis in supporting arrests and in preparing for prosecution. Study findings also show that the CODIS and AFIS databases continue to play important roles, especially in cases where investigators have exhausted all leads and no arrests have been made. Coordination between investigators and prosecutors is essential in the use of “hits” from these systems. The study found that most defendants charged with homicides and sexual assaults had forensic evidence involved in their cases, and the majority of these defendants received guilty dispositions. Guilty defendants in cases with probative evidence received longer sentences. The survey of police agencies showed no consistency on types of personnel, organizational placement, and number of personnel in crime-scene units.
  Main Term(s): Forensics/Forensic Sciences
  Index Term(s): Assault and battery ; Burglary ; Police effectiveness ; Robbery ; Sentencing/Sanctions ; Dispositions ; Prosecution ; Rape investigations ; Investigative techniques ; Homicide investigations ; NIJ final report ; Florida ; California ; Colorado
  Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
  Grant Number: 2006-DN-BX-0095
  Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
  Type: Report (Study/Research) ; Report (Summary)
  Country: United States of America
  Language: English
  Note: For the full report, see NCJ-236474
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.