Week 2 Individual Work

1. Discuss the underlying reasons for the rapid growth of crime laboratories in the United States since the late 1960s. There are several reasons that explain the growth in the use of crime labs in the past 40 years. Supreme Court decisions in 1960 have compelled police officers to place greater outlook on securing scientifically evaluated evidence. Coinciding with these judicial requirements is the rapid growth in crime-rates in the past forty years, more importantly drug related arrests, and because all seizures must be sent to the forensic lab for chemical analysis before the case can be adjudicated.

DNA profiling caused the major growth within the crime labs. DNA technology crime labs had to expand their staff and modernize their physical plants. 2. Describe the criteria for admissibility of scientific evidence as laid out in Frye v. United States. During the Frye v. United States case the lie detector test was determined as judicial admissibility of scientific examinations. Scientific test presented collections of experts who testified the scientific issues. The court generally accepted by relevant members of the 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? The document offered an alternative to the Frye standard is the Daubert standard.

This says that the trail judges ultimately assume responsibility as “gatekeeper” in judging admissibility and reliability of scientific evidence in their courts. 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? The U.S Supreme Court charge the judge of ensuring that the expert’s testimony was relevant to the case to the trial judge, because of the Federal Rules of Evidence rule 702.

5. What is the main difference between the testimony given by an expert witness and that given by a lay witness? The main difference between an expert witness and a lay witness is that an expert witness is someone who can establish to the satisfaction of the trail judge that he or she possesses a particular knowledge in a trade or profession that will aid the court in determining the truth of the matter at issue. While a lay or “ordinary” witness is simply someone who must testify to the events they observed during the time of questioning.

6. Describe the advantages of incorporating an evidence collection unit into the organizational structure of the crime laboratory. Some advantages are that the evidence techs are on call 24 hours for police agencies and crime labs to help collect evidence, rather than a detective or regular police officer. They also have the proper tools and supplies to collect and preserve evidence. Another advantage is that unlike detectives and police officers they regularly work closely with crime labs for maximum use of their skills.