Criminal Justice


Read the following passages:

Read from the text: Gardner, Ross M. Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation, Third Edition, CRC Press, VitalBook file, p. xv.

An interesting sidelight of this jack of all trades issue was the publication in 2009 of the National Academy of Sciences [NAS] report Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward. I was asked by the NAS to preview the draft and offer comments. Be aware, this document is not a scientific report. Over half its authors were lawyers. At the very least, 70% of the citations offered in the report are legal opinions, but it is represented as science in every court. One might not agree with how they achieved the conclusions, but they certainly offered some valid criticisms. The recommendations offered by the NAS were commonsense and well-established thoughts in the minds of most forensic science practitioners. We should all agree with their desire to see forensic science become more critical of itself, more professional, and more standardized. What the NAS failed to recognize was that the weakest link in the chain of criminal justice is the crime scene investigator. If evidence is not collected and collected properly, it serves no function in defining the truth. Yet, they offered no directed recommendations on how to resolve the training and development of crime scene investigators. This is the problem for forensic science in the United States. Even if the NAS fails to understand that, we as police professionals must recognize and act on it. There is no more excuse for failing to properly process a scene of crimenone at all. Programs abound to teach basic skills. Professional associations such as the International Association of Identification have crime scene certification programs. If you wish to be competent, then you have the means at your disposal to be competent. We all have a responsibility and are all part of the resolution of this problem. This book is my personal effort at a resolution; I hope it serves your needs.

Read from (see file- National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward (2009) below (Crime Scene Investigation and Certification sections):


Evidence recovery and interpretation at the crime scene is the essential first step in forensic investigations. Several organizational approaches to crime scene investigation and subsequent forensic laboratory activity exist, sometimes involving a large number of personnel with varied educational backgrounds. Conversely, in some jurisdictions, a single forensic examiner might also be the same investigator who goes to the crime scene, collects evidence, processes the evidence, conducts the analyses, interprets the evidence, and testifies in court. In other jurisdictions, the investigators submit the evidence to a laboratory where scientists conduct the analyses and prepare the reports. Crime scene evidence collectors can include uniformed officers, detectives, crime scene investigators, criminalists, forensic scientists, coroners, medical examiners, hospital personnel, photographers, and arson investigators. Thus, the nature and process of crime scene investigation varies dramatically across jurisdictions, with the potential for inconsistent policies and procedures and bias. Some analysts say that the lack of standards and oversight can result in deliberate deception of suspects, witnesses, and the courts; fraud; and honest mistakes made because of haste, inexperience, or lack of a scientific background. In 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court held for the first time in Monell v. Department of Social Services of the City of New York that a municipality can be held directly liable for violating a persons constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. section 1983. Partly in response to this liability, most large cities and metropolitan areas created their own professionally trained crime scene units. However, in smaller suburban and rural communities, evidence from a crime scene may be collected and preserved by a patrol officer or investigator. Even in large metropolitan areas, most crime scene investigation units are composed of sworn officers. Recognizing that some agencies did not have the resources to adequately train all personnel in crime scene processing, in 2000 the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and its Technical Working Group on Crime Scene Investigation (TWGCSI) developed Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for Law Enforcement, which stated that successful implementation of this guide can be realized only if staff possess basic (and in some cases advanced) training in the fundamentals of investigating a crime scene. However, there remains great variability in crime scene investigation practices, along with persistent concerns that the lack of standards and proper training at the crime scene can contribute to the difficulties of drawing accurate conclusions once evidence is subjected to forensic laboratory methods [Italic added].

B. Fisher, Director, Scientific Services Bureau, Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department. Presentation to the committee. April 24, 2007.

See J.I. Thornton. 2006. Crime reconstructionethos and ethics. In: W.J. Chisum and B.E.

Turvey (eds.). Crime Reconstruction. Boston: Elsevier Science, pp. 37-50.

436 U.S. 658 (1978).

Available at, p. 2.


The certification of individuals complements the accreditation of laboratories for a total quality assurance program. In other realms of science and technology, professionals, including nurses, physicians, professional engineers, and some laboratorians, typically must be certified before they can practice.34 The same should be true for forensic scientists who practice and testify. Although the accreditation process primarily addresses the management system, technical methods, and quality of the work of a laboratory (which includes the education and training of staff), certification is a process specifically designed to ensure the competency of the individual examiner. The American Bar Association has recommended that certification standards be required of examiners, including demanding written examinations, proficiency testing, continuing education, recertification procedures, an ethical code, and effective disciplinary procedures.35 In addition to improving quality, certification programs can enhance the credibility of certificate holders. An excellent description of the certification process is contained in the following excerpt from the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) Web site: In general, certification boards consist of respected professionals in a particular area of professional practice who develop standards for education, training, and experience that are required before one can become certified in a particular professional discipline. Successful completion of a written and/or practical examination is also usually required. In essence, certification usually means that a particular individual has completed a defined course of education, training, and experience, and has passed an examination prepared by peers which demonstrates that the individual has obtained at least the minimum level of competence required to practice the specific discipline. A number of Certification Boards exist for people in various scientific disciplines. . . .36 The professional forensic science community supports the concept of certification. ASCLD recommends that laboratory managers support peer certification programs that promote professionalism and provide objective standards. In 2002, the Technical Working Group on Forensic Science Education recommended certification of an individuals competency by an independent peer-based organization, if available, from a certifying body with appropriate credentials. In addition, IAI supports certification of forensic science practitioners.37  Some organizations, such as the American Board of Criminalists (ABC), offer examiner certification programs, but some certification organizations appear to lack stringent requirements.38 In response, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences has formed a Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board to accredit certifying organizations. Organizations are invited to participate if they meet established requirements, such as periodic recertification, a sufficient knowledge base for certification, a process for providing credentials, and a code of ethics.39  Currently accredited boards include:

American Board of Criminalistics

American Board of Forensic Document Examiners

American Board of Forensic Toxicology

American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators

Board of Forensic Document Examiners

International Institute of Forensic Engineering Sciences

IAI also has established certification programs in:

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Crime Scene Investigation


Forensic Art

Forensic Photography/Imaging

Latent Print

Tenprint Fingerprint 40

Other certification programs exist for (but are not limited to) the following forensic science disciplines

Document Examination (The American Board of Forensic Document Examiners [ABFDE])

Drug Analysis, Fire Debris Analysis, Molecular Biology, Trace Analysis, and General Criminalistics (ABC)

Firearms and ToolMark Identification (Association of Firearm and ToolMark Examiners [AFTE])

Forensic Odontology (The American Board of Forensic Odontology [ABFO])

Forensic Pathology (The American Board of Pathology [ABP])

Toxicology (American Board or Forensic Toxicology [ABFT])

Each of these certification entities has:

specific educational, training, and experience requirements,
a series of competency testsboth written and practical,
participation in proficiency testing,
continuing education and/or
active participation by means of publication, presentation, and membership in professional organizations.
33 J.L. Peterson and M. J. Hickman. 2005. Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories, 2002. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Available at

34 T. Ortelli. 2008. Characteristics of candidates who have taken the Certified Nurse Educator: CNE examination: A two-year review. Nursing Education Perspectives 29(2):120;

P. Nowak. 2008. Get IT-certified: Having employees with the right certifications can help dealers and integrators qualify for business and gain access to IT networks. Network Technology 38(3):123;

S. Space. 2007. Investigator certification. Issues in Clinical Trials Management 8(2):73.

35 American Bar Association, op. cit., p. 7.

36 See

37 K.F. Martin, President, IAI. Presentation to the committee. September 19, 2007.

38 See M. Hansen. 2000. Expertise to go. ABA J. 86:44-45; E. MacDonald. 1999. The Making of an Expert Witness: Its in the Credentials. Wall Street Journal. February 8, p. B1.

39 See FABS Standards for Accrediting Forensic Specialty Certification Boards at www.


Read and Review the following certification programs:

Indiana Law Enforcement Academy CSI Certification

International Association for Identification CSI and Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Certification


You are the Captain of the Sheriffs Department Forensic Science Laboratory that provides professional forensic analysis of physical evidence on a 24-hour, seven-day a week basis. To assist in making this possible, the laboratory operates a mobile crime laboratory that will respond to any crime scene.  The crime scene investigators collect, preserve and tag evidence, document the scene with photographs, video tape, crime scene sketching, and analyze evidence.

In addition to processing the scene of the crime, crime scene investigators also provide assistance in crime scene shooting reconstruction and blood spatter interpretation. The Sheriff’s Laboratory provides crime scene processing to any requesting agency in the county.

You want all of your trained crime scene staff to be certified. Write a 600-word essay on CSI certification and competency and its ethical implications. Consider the following:

From the Crime Scene Investigation section above, it states, there remains great variability in crime scene investigation practices, along with persistent concerns that the lack of standards and proper training at the crime scene can contribute to the difficulties of drawing accurate conclusions once evidence is subjected to forensic laboratory methods.  Does this present an ethical issue?
Is there a lack of standards for crime scene investigations?  Is this a problem?
What are the elements of a certification program?
What are the elements of a bloodstain pattern training program?
What about the cost and time of such a certification process?
Is it worth the cost?  Should states or the Federal government mandate certification?
Should it require an associate, baccalaureate, or no degree?
Should it require training programs?  How long?  How often?
Annual proficiency tests?
Moot court training?
Your essay should follow the APA format of Title page, Abstract page, Content page(s), and Reference page. Include at least two relevant scholarly references for your reference section. Include in your conclusion 10 bullet points on training, policy and protocol recommendations based on the readings and websites above, crime scene processing principles, and why and how certification is consistent with justice and a Christian worldview.

at the end include 400 words about why you think your reflections and recommendations are justified based on the readings and textbook.

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