Forensic Science in Court explores the legal implications of forensic science-an increasingly important and complex part of the legal system. Judge Donald Shelton provides an accessible overview of the legal issues, then examines the strengths and limitations of various kinds of forensic science, including DNA, fingerprints, handwriting, hair, bite marks, tool marks, firearms and bullets, fire and arson investigation, and bloodstain evidence. Case studies illustrate the issues and their application in depth.
Donald Shelton is Chief Judge of the Michigan 22nd Judicial Circuit and an adjunct professor in the criminal justice and political science departments at Eastern Michigan University. He also serves as a supervising judge for the Washtenaw Juvenile Court. He has previously worked as an attorney and taught at Washtenaw Community College and the University of Maryland.
List of Figures Introduction Chapter 1: The History and Development of Forensic Scientific Evidence Chapter 2: The Problem of Junk Science Chapter 3: DNA-the New Gold Standard Admissibility of DNA at Trial Postconviction DNA Testing Chapter 4: The "Who" Question Fingerprint Evidence Handwriting Comparison Chapter 5: More "Who" Questions Hair Analysis Bite Mark Analysis Chapter 6: The "How" Question Toolmarks and Firearms Bullet Lead Comparison Fire, Explosion and Arson Evidence Bloodstain Pattern Evidence Chapter 7: The "Whether" Question: Social Science Evidence in Criminal Cases Eyewitness Identification Experts Forensic Abuse Syndromes Conclusions about Social Science Evidence Chapter 8: Jurors and Forensic Science Evidence The "CSI" Myth The "Tech" Effect "Negative" Evidence Voir Dire, Argument and Jury Instructions Chapter 9: Conclusions: Where Do We Go From Here? The Last Twenty Years-An Era of Doubt Daubert's Change in the Legal Standard for Admissibility The Emergence of DNA as a New Model for Forensic Scientific Evidence The Impact of DNA Exonerations The Impact of the National Academy of Sciences Report The Impact of New Technology Awareness by Jurors The Current State of Forensic Science Evidence in Criminal Cases Thoughts about the Future of Criminal Forensic Science Appendix: Recommendations of the National Research Council Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward Notes Index About the Authors