Investigation, Evidence law

1. Discuss the underlying reasons for the rapid growth of crime laboratories in the United States since the late 1960s. The development of crime laboratories in the United states has been characterized by rapid growth accompanied by a lack of national and regional planning and coordination.

Four major reasons for increase of crime laboratories in the United States since the 1960s is (1) the fact that the requirement to advise criminal suspects of their constitutional rights and their rights of immediate access to counsel has all but eliminated confessions as routine investigative tool; (2) the staggering increase in crime rate in the United States; (3) the fact that all illicit-drug seizures must be sent a forensic laboratory for confirmatory chemical analysis before the case can be adjudicated in court; (4) the advent of DNA profiling.

2. Describe the criteria for admissibility of scientific evidence as laid out in Frye v. United States. The court ruled that in order to be admitted as evidence at trail, the questioned procedure technique, or principles must be “generally accepted” by a meaningful segment of relevant scientific community. This approach requires the proponent of scientific test to present to the court a collection of experts who can testify that the scientific issue before the court is generally accepted by the relevant members of scientific community.

3. What document offers an alternative to the Frye standard that some courts believe espouses a more flexible standard for admitting scientific evidence? Rule 702 of the Federal Rule of Evidence set a different standard. Under this standard, a witness “qualified as an expert testimony on a scientific or technical matter if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliable to the facts of the case.

4. In its decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., who did the U.S. Supreme Court charge with ensuring that an expert's testimony rests on a reliable foundation and is relevant to the case?

In the Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc, the judges assume the ultimate responsibility for acting as a “gatekeeper” in judging the admissibility and reliability of scientific evidence presented in their court. Yes, it is relevant to the case.

5. What is the main difference between the testimony given by an expert witness and that given by a lay witness?

An expert witness is the satisfaction of a trail judge that he or she possesses a particular skill or has knowledge in a trade or profession that will aid the court in determining the truth of the matter at issue. A lay witness must testify on events or observations that arise from personal knowledge.

6. Describe the advantages of incorporating an evidence collection unit into the organizational structure of the crime laboratory.

The unit dispatches specially trained personnel ( civilian and/or police) to the crime scene to collect and preserve physical evidence that will later be processed at the crime laboratory.