Forensic science has undergone dramatic progress in recent years, including in the areas of DNA collection and analysis and the reconstruction of crime scenes. However, too few professionals are equipped with the knowledge necessary to fully apply the potential of science in civil, criminal, and family legal matters.
Featuring contributions from renowned experts in the forensic, scientific, and legal professions, Forensic Science and Law: Investigative Applications in Criminal, Civil, and Family Justice communicates the wide range of methods and approaches used for achieving justice in these circumstances.
A solid grounding in the underlying principles of our legal system provides a context for understanding how these methods are applied. The book brings together the words and thoughts of diverse professionals whose common goal is to uncover the truth.
About the editors…
Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D., is actively involved as a medical-legal and forensic science consultant, author, and lecturer. Currently coroner of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, he is certified by the American Board of Pathology in anatomic, clinical, and forensic pathology and is a Fellow of the College of American Pathologists and the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. Dr. Wecht is a Clinical Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, and Graduate School of Public Health, an Adjunct Professor at Duquesne University Schools of Law, Pharmacy and Health Services, and a Distinguished Professor at Carlow University. He is a past president of both the American College of Legal Medicine and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Dr. Wecht is the author of more than 500 professional publications and has appeared as a guest on numerous national television and radio talk shows.
John T. Rago, J.D., is Assistant Professor of Law at Duquesne University School of Law and the Director of both The Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law and the Law School’s Post-conviction DNA Project. He teaches criminal law and procedure to law students and graduate courses on wrongful convictions, foundations in American law and constitutional criminal procedure to students in the university’s Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. Professor Rago also serves as an appointed member to the Innocence Project’s Policy Group of the Cardozo School of Law in New York. He is admitted to practice before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Table of Contents
PART I: OVERVIEW. Ancient Tradition — The Relationship of Science and Law. Logic in Forensic Science. Forensic Science and Law — Revealing Truth and Freedom in a Single Light.
PART II: FOUNDATIONS OF LAW. Criminal Law and Procedure. Forensic Science and the Family. The Civil Justice System. Discovery in Civil Cases. Contract Law — Forensic Agreements. Fundamental Principles of Tort Law. Product Liability. Forensic Medicine and Medical Negligence —Initial Case Investigation Applications. Construction Law. PART III: BRIDGING THE FOUNDATIONS. Experts and the Admissibility of Evidence Concerning Scientific, Technical, and Other Specialized Areas of Knowledge. PART IV: FOUNDATIONS OF FORENSIC SCIENCE. Section A: Evidence and the Physical Sciences. A Critical Analysis of Selected Features of Fingerprinting. Trace Evidence Examination. Firearm and Toolmark Identification. The Investigation of Fire and Explosions.
Questioned Document Examination. Section B: Evidence and the Biological Sciences. Forensic Pathology. Forensic Toxicology. Serology. DNA Analysis. The Science of Forensic Entomology. Forensic Odontology. Forensic Anthropology.
Section C: Evidence and the Social and Applied Sciences An Overview. Behavioral Science and the Law. Digital Forensics. Forensic Linguistics, Authorship Attribution, and Admissibility. Forensic Accounting. Forensic Economics in Instances of Wrongful Death and Injury. Forensic Engineering and Science. PART V: TOPICS IN THE PRACTICE OF FORENSIC SCIENCE. Crime Scene Management. The Roles of Public Attorneys in the Practice of Forensic Science. Forensic and Legal Nursing. Forensic Science and Public Health — The Role of Enabling Statutes, Reporting Obligations, and Privacy Laws. Forensic Science and Public Health — The Role of Forensic Epidemiology. Lawyers, Ethics, and the Forensic Professional.