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.

Forensic Science: The Prosecutor's Role

Forensic science: The prosecutor's role
Nina W.Chernoff

Introduction

In August of 2013, police officers pulled over a car in Washington, DC.1 There were four people in the car, including a 20-year-old college student named Daniel Green. A lawful police search revealed a gun in the car. A police lab fingerprint examiner then compared a latent print recovered from the gun to the prints of all four people in the car and determined that it “matched” Daniel's print. A prosecutor named Paula Smith now has the discretion to decide whether this is sufficient evidence to charge Daniel with possessing the gun—conduct that carries up to a five-year sentence.2 If Paula does decide to charge Daniel, she must also decide whether and what kind of ...

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