MAY 05, 2021 9:00 AM PDT

Keynote Presentation: Forensic Evidence; From Scene to Lab to Court

C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
  • Henry C. Lee, PhD

    Chia Professor, University of New Haven Chief Emeritus (ret.), Connecticut State Police Director, Research & Training Center


The success in the solving cases is based upon a system that emphasizes teamwork, from scene; recognition, collection, preservation, to laboratory; examination, identification , individualization, and to court;  testifying, interpretation, and reconstruction of the forensic evidence. If potential physical evidence is not recognized, collected, or properly preserved, the value of the physical evidence will forever lost.  Numerous day-to-day and high-profile cases have demonstrated the harsh reality that, despite the availability of current analytical technologies, specialized equipment, and sophisticated forensic testing. However, forensic scientists do not usually decide the extent of forensic evidence analyzed or its use in a civil or criminal case. Ultimately, it is the police officers, detectives, crime scene technicians that usually complete the crime scene search and begin the forensic investigation stages of an investigation. After the investigation is completed and during the pretrial or initial litigation stages, the prosecution and defense counsels determine which physical evidence will be utilized.  forensic scientist must be prepared not only to present evidence to the court, but also to explain how the evidence was tested, what techniques were used, the error rates and standards of operation, and anything else the judge might need to know. As always, ethics and truthfulness are of utmost importance when testifying under oath in a court of law. Forensic scientists must present all the facts to the court in an objective and fair manner. During the trial or adjudication stages, the judge determines the admissibility of the forensic evidence. There is no guarantee that any of these parties who are part of the evidentiary process will sufficiently understand the potential of forensic evidence.  It is also a rare, but possible, reality that some of these individuals possess questionable integrity or character. It is also possible that the direct or crossing examination of Forensic witness are unfair and unreasonable types personal attacks. Therefore, training, education and standardization of forensic investigation are all critical for the improvement of forensic services in judicial system. As a greater number of police, forensic scientists, attorneys, Judges and general public  acquire correct information about the value and limitation in forensic science and new technologies, the quality of examination of forensic evidence should continue to improve. The result would be to make forensic science even more valuable and to maintain the high quality of justice that this society deserves. 

Learning Objectives:

1. Knowledge of history, development, and the status of forensic evidence

2. Understand the Scientific Issues, Expert Issues, Discovery issues and the Admissibility Issues of forensic evidence

3. Learn the Legal Standards, role of evidence, Frye vs Dauber and Federal Rule702

4. Learn the scientific theory, technique falsifiable, refutable, by using empirical testing methods

5. Learn the common tactics used by lawyers to attack scientific expert and the serving skill in court

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