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Forensic Science

A common definition of Forensic Science is “the science of law.” In other words, it is a type of science used to help settle legal arguments, especially when it comes to crimes requiring scientific testimony; i.e. homicides, robberies, sexual assault, etc. Attorneys, both the prosecution and defense, have their own set of policies to follow, as do forensic scientists. Forensic scientists, however, must work with the attorney they were hired by and follow not only the lab’s policies, but abide by the attorney’s as well. The variations in these policies can cause friction between the prosecution and defense, particularly when it comes to testing of evidence; specifically, if one side consumes that evidence before the other has a chance to examine it.
The American Bar Association has composed a list of standards to be followed varying from the collection of evidence all the way to destruction of evidence. According to these standards, a laboratory testing DNA evidence should be accredited every two years, be active in forensic science, and follow appropriate protocols (ABA, 2007). Standard 3.4 deals with consumptive testing. Obviously part of the DNA evidence tested should be preserved for further testing, but in some cases, that isn’t always possible. In this case, the American Bar Association requests that the laboratory not perform a test that could consume all evidence without permission from the prosecution (or defense, depending which side the lab was hired by); but before giving approval, the prosecution should provide the defendant a chance to object or move for a court order and vice versa (ABA, 2007). Some prosecutors, however, feel the only reason to alert the defense of possible consumption of evidence is out of common ...

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