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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 182541 Find in a Library
Title: Traces of Guilt: Forensic Science and the Fight Against Crime
Author(s): Hugh Miller
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 192
Sponsoring Agency: BBC Books
LONDON, W12 0TT, England
Publication Number: ISBN 0-563-36964-7
Sale Source: BBC Books
Woodlands, 80 Wood Lane
United Kingdom
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Although demonstrating how forensic science has helped to solve a variety of crime types worldwide, this book also identifies some of the flaws in the operation of forensic science.
Abstract: The author first addresses the difficulties of solving serial murders committed by strangers to the victims, since any physical evidence cannot be matched to any known person who might have a motive to kill the victim. He documents the forensic-science advances in this area due to the use of computer databases of fingerprints and crime characteristics, as well as the development of DNA databases. A chapter examines a significant problem that plagues the relationship between science and the law, i.e., disagreement among experts regarding the mental state of an offender at the time of the crime. A case study demonstrates the difficulties faced by judges and juries who must assess the validity of conflicting scientific evidence presented in court. Another chapter delves into the area of human rights abuses. This consists of a case study of the use of forensic anthropology to collect evidence of a massacre in a Guatemalan village in 1982. Another case study enters the world of document examiners and typewriting experts who must consider "paper trails" of evidence involved in white-collar crimes. The role of the forensic scientist in drug offenses is also considered, followed by a case study that shows the devastating consequences of presenting unreliable purportedly scientific evidence in court. A subject index
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Case studies; Document analysis; Evidence collection; Forensic sciences; Serial murders; Suspect identification; Victim identification; White collar crime
Note: Accompanies the major television series
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