A Review of Forensic Analysis in Criminal Cases
AbstractThe historical development, contributions and limitations of the two traditional approaches to trace evidence analysis are reviewed. Methodology: The ﬁrst approach was as generalist practitioner, looking broadly at an assemblage of many different particle types. The second was that of specialist practitioner, with attention focused on one speciﬁc particle type. Four factors have signiﬁcantly impacted the effectiveness of these approaches: (1) increasing technological capabilities, (2) increasing complexity in the character of manufactured materials, (3) changes in forensic laboratory management, and (4) changing scientiﬁc and legal expectations. More recently, new technologies have been applied to some trace evidence problems, intended to address one or more limitations. Results: This has led to a third approach founded on discrete, highly technical methods addressing speciﬁc analytical problems. Clearly new technologies have the potential to revolutionize forensic trace evidence, but just as clearly some of the traditional capabilities have been rendered ineffective, or lost entirely, by the way we have come to approach the problem. Conclusion: Having critically deﬁned the current limitations of and the desired outcomes, the next focus should be consideration of alternative approaches that might achieve such a result.
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