Uniting forensics, law, and social science in meaningful and relevant ways, Forensic Science and the Administration of Justice is structured around current research on how forensic evidence is being used and how it is impacting the justice system. This unique book—written by nationally known scholars in the field—includes five sections that explore the demand for forensic services, the quality of forensic services, the utility of forensic services, post-conviction forensic issues, and the future role of forensic science in the administration of justice. The authors offer policy-relevant directions for both the criminal justice and forensic fields and demonstrate how the role of the crime laboratory in the American justice system is evolving in concert with technological advances as well as changing demands and competing pressures for laboratory resources.

Rethinking the Role of the Crime Laboratory in Criminal Justice Decision Making

Rethinking the role of the crime laboratory in criminal justice decision making
Kevin J.Strom and Matthew J.Hickman

Introduction

The criminal justice system has been described as a series of organized parts that represent decision stages, with key stakeholders exercising discretion at each stage. Police officer's decisions to arrest, prosecutor's decisions to charge, and judge's sentencing decisions are common examples. The classic “flowchart” of criminal justice, which was first presented in the 1967 report from the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, illustrates the key decision points along the justice process and delineates the police, the courts, and corrections as major stages (see Figure 13.1). The president's task force also called for the increased ...

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