With so many crime dramas on the airwaves these days, many people are under the mistaken assumption that catching criminals is a simple, though high tech, process. Simply comb a carpet for hair fibers or check the mud for shoe tread and you're golden! It isn't always this simple, though, and a $14 million addition to the University of New Haven seeks to show the public just how complex forensic sciences are.
According to CT Now, the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science was developed, in part, to educate society about forensic sciences and to dispel common misconceptions that many people have about the use of such sciences in real police work. But, the Institute also serves to educate students, majoring in forensic sciences, and training police, lawyers, and investigators into the latest developments in the forensics world.
So, what it forensics and how does it apply to a criminal case? Forensic science is the collection and study of evidence at a crime scene or other investigation. Everything from fingerprints to blood stains, and beer cans can be considered forensic evidence.
While blood evidence and DNA are what we commonly see on television, forensics can be far less exciting though similarly crucial in a criminal case.
For instance, if you are charged with possession of marijuana, the marijuana would be obvious evidence as would any paraphernalia. But just as important as the evidence itself is the collection of the evidence.
Certain procedural laws are put in place to dictate exactly how evidence is collected and handled throughout the case. These laws and rules are in place to ensure your rights, as the defendant, are protected at every stage of the game. If those procedures are violated in any way, there's a good chance that evidence won't be admissible in court.
Let's say the police officer in the case searches you but doesn't have any legal justification for the search. Because he violated your protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures” as dictated by the Constitution, the evidence he seized wouldn't be admissible. And depending on the facts of the case, the state might have to drop all charges against you.
The evidence is what determines the strength of a prosecutor's case against you. If you are facing charges and curious about how the evidence in your case will affect your outcome, contact me for a consultation.