A Few Things About Forensics

By Mason Ely - 2nd

Standard 4

"Differentiate the methods of medico-legal investigations of death."

Performing An Autopsy

An Autopsy is surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present.
1. Weigh and measure the body

2. Take pictures
3. Cut the person open and peel the skin back
4. Cut through the ribs
5. Remove the organs and examine them
6. Sew the body back up
7. Cut the scalp and peel the face back and remove the brain if needed

Post Mortem Interval (PMI)

  • PMI is the the period of time that has gone by after a person's death.
  • It is important in an autopsy to know this.
  • When the PMI is unknown there are ways to find out the approximate time of death
  • The most used method is the traditional decomposition stages, you can estimate the time of death by seeing hoe far along they are in decomposition.
  • There are also more advanced methods like DNA quantification or infared spectroscopy.

5 Manners of Death

The five manners of death are the five legal causes of death and pathologists and forensic scientists use these to explain the cause of death in a court of law.

  1. Natural
  2. Accident
  3. Homicide
  4. Suicide
  5. Undetermined


To commit a homicide is to deliberately and unlawfully kill another person. Which is murder. Main cause of homicide is by a gun.

Standard 7

"Compare the various types of evidence investigated using a microscope."

Microscopes Used in Forensics

Microscopes are used for all the obvious reasons of forensics which is mainly to locate evidence. They locate impressions on shell casings that could be evidence and to find any marking that could help point them in the right direction.

  • Stereoscope - most simple and standard microscope
  • Compound Microscope - better resolution and magnification
  • Polarizing Light Microscope - most useful to forensic scientist
  • Comparison Microscope - compare two samples
  • Electron Microscope - not very common

Morphology in Forensics

  • Morphology is the study of the form and structure of something.
  • Forensic Scientists can use morphology to reach conclusions of where something comes from.
  • An example would be how a forensic scientist can narrow down where a piece of hair originated from by using morphology and the hair's physical characteristics.

Botanical Controlled Substance

  • Controlled substances have bad effects on the body most the time
  • But some substances have botanical usage and can have positive effects that would possibly help cure or mitigate someone.


  • Impression evidence includes any markings made when one object contacts another, leaving behind some kind of print.
  • Evidence encountered includes footwear impressions, tyre marks, and markings created by tools and similar instruments.
  • Forensic Scientists use morphology to study a boot impression in soil to find evidence.

Technology Changed Forensics

  • There has been an ample amount of people who have convicted for something they didn't do
  • Technology advanced the most in the past 50 years and forensics has used the new technology to get physical evidence that can really be proven
  • Today technology is the reason for the amount of forensic science jobs available and has helped police make many more arrests of the right person.

Standard 9

"Explain how forensic science is used in the courtroom."

Forensic Scientist in a Case

1. A forensic scientist studies the evidence of the case and the attorney uses the forensic scientist in court to explain the evidence.
2. A forensic scientist studies the evidence and learned the how, the police officer arrests and investigates in the field, and the attorney is responsible for the legal side.
3. A forensic scientist may not always be able to draw conclusions, another expert witness says something else, or they are often under scrutiny from the opposing attorney.
4. The forensic scientist's role as an expert witness is tho show and explain certain evidence to a court of law.
5. The crime lab is important in an investigation to learn about the crime scene.
6. This tricks people into thinking that CSI forensics is real life forensics and people will think that everything can be explained.

Court Admissibility

  • Evidence that is admissible is evidence that is valid in the court
  • The Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE) were codified in 1975 with the intention of assisting and guiding parties and courts, in both civil and criminal matters, on the admission of evidence.
  • In civil matters, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) also addresses the manner in which something is admitted as evidence.

Civil Cases

  • In a civil case a forensic scientist treats the case just like he would treat a criminal case
  • They gather evidence, analyze, and make conclusions
  • The forensic scientists job is to find the facts whether a homicide or a civil matter

The CSI Effect

The CSI effect is the myth that everything has a conclusion and that anything can be solved fast in forensic science.

  • People have never been exposed to a real crime lab so the only idea most people get is from a TV show
  • CSI is the show called crime scene investigation and in the show the forensic scientist can find out anything with his magical computer and magical microscope which leads people to think that the job is just as easy as it looks on the show and that everything has an answer.