Essay 2

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Forensic science plays a vital role in the criminal justice system by aiding an investigator’s case with scientific information based on the analysis of the evidence. Each crime scene is unique in its own way and using the evidence collected, forensic experts try to piece it together. An expert is someone who has had enough education, training, and experience to testify to the matter at hand (Harmon 2010). Unlike other witnesses in a case who testify based on first hand knowledge, the expert witness is not required to have firsthand knowledge of a particular case, and in fact, often does not. Rather, the expert witness testifies to the meaning of the facts (Whitcomb et al. 2005). Each forensic expert typically has a background in another scientific discipline, such as biology, physics, chemistry, etc. An expert with a biology background may work with DNA; chemistry may work in toxicology; and physics in blood spatter trajectories. Working separately on their own respected evidence, an investigator is able to collect all their data and set up a case (National Institute of Justice 2013). Usually, these experts will be hired by either the prosecution or defense in a criminal trial, or by a plaintiff or defendant in a civil litigation. The role of the expert witness exists in variants: between criminal and civil courts as well as the prosecution and defense. The overall goal of a forensic scientist is to determine the facts using all the available resources they were given. They give their expert opinion to the attorneys, judge, and jury, and depending on how well prepared they are, can sway the jury to either a guilty or innocent verdict (Thinkquest 2014). In general, a forensic expert must keep impeccable records of all that has b... ... middle of paper ... ...e and opposing sides. There can also be multiple experts hired by either side, some of whom won’t have to write a report or testify, but can be brought in for consultation purposes. Experts hired for criminal law purposes must follow the policies set by the courts and law. If hired by the prosecution, the expert must disclose all notes taken on the case, lab reports, results, and chain of custody documentation to the defense. The expert hired by the defense isn’t required to disclose any information about the case and it is up to the defense if they want to allow the prosecution any information. The expert there is to give testimony in order to, basically, sway the jury one way or another. Though there may be differences among the various sides an expert can be hired as, the goal in the end is same: for the facts to be accurate and presented in a professional manner.

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