Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Christopher R. Bommarito
The scientific examination of physical evidence involves the application of the natural sciences to matters of law and includes a variety of disciplines. Evidence examinations in the forensic science laboratory employ the principles and methods of all the traditional sciences, including physics, chemistry, and biology. A forensic scientist's work is governed by Locard's principle, which states that “every contact leaves a trace.” This trace—a fiber or a hair, for instance—can be scientifically analyzed and compared to something found at a crime scene and may link a suspect to a crime. The duties of a forensic scientist include the laboratory examination of items recovered from a crime scene as well as examination of the scene of a crime. The scientist's conclusions are often presented as a report or statement that is subsequently given as evidence in court. As a result, appearing in court in order to present evidence and be subjected ...