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Technology and wrongful conviction Paper

Words: 2189, Paragraphs: 19, Pages: 8

Paper type: Essay , Subject: Forensic Science

Technology as we know it is at a constant up rise. Whether we are up to date on all of the latest gadgets, they are all around us. Almost everything that we do now has some relevance to technology. Such as doing research. Before, research used to come mainly from books, but now, we have every piece of information at the tips of our fingers with all the new smartphones, computers, etc. We can find people online, roughly where they live, their job, etc. Some say that new technology is making life more dangerous because people’s life is now exposed all over the internet. Although that may be true to an extent, there are ways that people can maintain a more private life while still enjoying the internet and all the new technology today.

Technology is not all bad. As mentioned before, it is at a constant uprising. One major benefit that the latest gadgets have been beneficial in have been collecting evidence in a crime investigation. Forensic science has come such a long way since the start. Forensic science is collecting and examining evidence at a crime scene to try to pinpoint exactly what happened at the crime and try to find the person who committed that crime. Forensic science is an extremely tedious job simply because if the evidence is collected improperly, it will be dismissed and will not be used in the investigation and this could potentially mean the end of the case and not finding out who committed the crime. There is always more to learn in that field, and always new ways of collecting evidence. Throughout my research on how beneficial the evolution in

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technology has been in forensics, it has brought to light that it will be easier to collect, store, and examine evidence. In addition, the new advancements in technology will help deter the issue of wrongful conviction due to a lack of evidence. People have been wrongfully convicted simply because evidence was collected incorrectly, or there was not enough evidence to prove that they

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did not do it. Putting someone behind bars for a crime they did not commit will do more damage than good. It causes people to lose trust in the government because they are supposed to be putting the right people away. It will cause the person who was wrongfully convicted to live in prison for something they did not commit, potentially changing the way that they are as a person. And most importantly, it will result in the person who did commit the crime to remain free and ultimately raising the chance of them committing the crime again.

There are many ways that collecting evidence has been on up rise. Fingerprint identification, DNA analysis, Blood spatter analysis, and tire track identification have primarily the main pieces to look for when entering a crime scene. Fingerprint identification is often time’s the most difficult to detect and could easily be tampered. DNA analysis goes anywhere from a strand of hair, saliva, and even human skin. Blood spatter analysis typically shows where the victim was at the time of injury, and type of force that was used. Tire track evidence is usually over looked but is sometimes key to cracking a case.

Collecting evidence incorrectly can have a lot of negative outcomes. It can lead to wrongful convictions, or even a cold case. The issue with cold cases is that the person who committed the crime is still out on the loose, and could potentially cause harm to others. The longer a case goes without solving, the harder it is to find the criminal. A case could potentially become a cold case if there was not enough evidence to convict someone. It could also be

because evidence had to be thrown out do to improperly collecting it. New technology has been helping with collecting evidence correctly to try to deter cold cases and wrongful conviction. Although, new advances in DNA collecting has helped solve some cases and have even helped

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people who have been put in prison for wrongful conviction. Putting someone away for a crime that they did not commit can have serious mental and physical damage to an individual. It will ultimately make it more difficult for them to find a job when they leave prison. They could also not have as strong of a support group as they did before prison. It could also change they way that they think, potentially making them more dangerous because they had to learn to defend themselves while in prison.

When a call for a crime scene occurs, the first responding officer will go to the scene and make sure everyone is ok. Once they have checked around, the next step is to secure the crime scene to prevent it from being tampered with. Once the scene is secured, the only people who can enter are the experts in collecting the evidence. There will be a photographer who comes to the scene and takes very detailed pictures to try to depict the crime scene as much as possible for later in the case. They may also walk around and take voice recordings of what they see along with the pictures. Typically, what happens next is the experts show up and begin collecting evidence. The forensic scientist was interviewed, named Jennifer Dillon, stated that each crime scene pick up is different regarding how long it takes. On average, she stated that a typical crime scene takes roughly ten to twelve hours to fully collect. She had mentioned how tedious the process of collecting evidence is because you may be touching evidence in the crime scene without even realizing it. Jennifer Dillon had also mentioned that a very tough part about collecting evidence in the crime scene is to keep an open mind about what happened. People tend

to have a bias and jump to conclusions, and she said that this could potentially lead to someone being wrongfully convicted. Going into a crime scene with an open mind is more difficult that it looks. We had briefly discussed a case she worked with a suicide, and the officers wanted to rule

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it as a suicide, but she told them it is a homicide case until proven otherwise. It is not always considered to be such an issue that it is. It is not only the evidence that can put the wrong person away, but also the mindset of what happened at the scene of the crime. Every piece of evidence has a different way of being collected, come more difficult that others. Experts in that specific area can collect it. On average, a forensic expert needs on-site training for at least six months before being able collect and examine evidence on their own. Having said that, they will be responsible for properly collecting and storing evidence in a correct manor. They could also testify during the trial as an expert witness. Often times, their level of expertise is questioned when they are new to collecting evidence, but it does not make it any less credible.

DNA analysis has by far come the longest way in collecting of evidence. DNA improvements have helped the most with cold cases and wrongful convictions. Today, we have a more accurate way of processing DNA to get an accurate match. When DNA identification first started, it was mostly used to determine paternity tests, to see who the father of a child was. Now, the FBI uses a system called Combined DNA Index System, of CODIS. Typically. Convicted felons are required to give a sample of DNA when entering the system. This has helped drastically with cold cases because there could have been evidence obtained from a crime scene prior but had no lead of who committed the crime, but with this it could potentially link a previous crime with a current one. This can also help with proving that we were initially trying to

charge the wrong person for a crime they did not commit. Everyone has their individual DNA identification, but there is a catch. Identical twins have the same DNA, making it the only downside. DNA has a wide range of items. It entails blood, semen, hair, nails, skin that sheds

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onto clothes or underneath fingernails, etc. Officers and investigators typically try to find any object that could be used during the crime. Such as, finding a mask that was used, they can test it for DNA to see if there was any sweat, hair or saliva left behind. They look for cigarette butts, to try to match the end that was used to a potential suspect. Examining the scene to see if there is any condom used if the crime was a rape case. Semen can be traced back to the criminal. Also, checking the bed to see if there was any semen, sweat, hair, or blood that was left. Often times, a key item to check is underneath the victim’s fingernails to try to identify and skin that may have gotten under there if there was a physical altercation. When any piece of DNA is collected, it is placed in a paper bag, not plastic. Plastic bags retain moisture, and this could potentially ruin the DNA that was collected. Collecting DNA is endless in different ways to do it and is only getting better.

Fingerprint interpretation is the most accurate way of identifying an individual. Not one person has the same fingerprint makeup. The only downside with fingerprint identification is that not everyone has their fingerprints in the system. Collecting fingerprints at a crime scene is one of the more difficult items to look for. They do not appear very visible on every surface, or at all. But they can appear on most hard surfaces, even the human body. Collecting them without tampering or smudging takes extreme focus and patience. One of the easier ways to identify and collect fingerprints is when they are located on a soft surface. Such as paint or soap. This makes them three dimensional fingerprints and are more visible to the naked eye. Then there are patent

finger prints to look for. Those are typically transferred when the criminal touches blood, dirt, etc, and transfers it onto a surface giving a clear print. The most difficult to detect and collect are the latent prints. These are formed by your body’s natural oils. Often times, this type of

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fingerprint needs to be identified by different powders depending on the surface it is on, or lighting. Patent prints are collected in a basic way, through photographs. The camera quality needs to be on high resolution and get an extremely closeup shot of the fingerprint to be able to detect every loop, whorl, and arch. This is also typically measurement for reference or place an object near it to determine average size. Latent prints are the hardest to collect. They are usually collected by dusting a powder, such as magnetic powder, black granular, or aluminum over a surface and lightly brush over the surface to see if a fingerprint appears. Often times, the fingerprint gets contaminated this way because the print might have not been very distinct to begin with and putting a powder and brushing over it can destroy it completely. The best way to do this is to shine a light over surfaces to see if the print appears. More and more, investigators are beginning to realize that the powders are not always the most effective tools. They have begun using their laser and LED lights more. For identifying fingerprints on paper like items, they place a chemical developer over the paper until it absorbs, and the fingerprint will gradually appear when you shine an LED light over it. Once the fingerprints are collected, they are taken back to the lab for examination. They are typically done at the forensics unit and will sometimes be sent to other labs to get a confirmation on the original findings. Officers will then take fingerprints from suspects and victims to be able to compare and identify who they belong to. The prints are put into the system called Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System or IAFIS, to find a match between the fingerprints collected and the fingerprints on file. The only

downside of this is that not everyone has their fingerprints on file, as stated before. This could elongate the process of closing the case.

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Blood spatter is also a key identifying what exactly happened at a crime scene. The blood patterns at a crime scene often times is a good indicator on what weapon was used, and the force that was used during the incident. Blood spatter interpretation is typically crucial in a sense that it may match previous crime scenes in the way that it was. In other words, someone can leave markings or a signature way of committing the murder. Blood spatter identification has not evolved as much as the rest simply because this is mostly collected by measurements and photography. There are different ways of interpreting blood spatter and what weapon was used. Typically, different weapons form different patterns of blood and they can often times determine what weapon was used immediately

About the author

This sample is completed by Emma with Health Care as a major. She is a student at Emory University, Atlanta. All the content of this paper is her own research and point of view on Technology and wrongful conviction and can be used only as an alternative perspective.

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Technology and wrongful conviction. (2019, Nov 25). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/technology-and-wrongful-conviction-best-essay/

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