Crime Scenes And Forensics

Oddly, forensic science was essentially nonexistent until the mid-1940s, and we owe much of its development to a woman who inherited great wealth. At the time, policing was a man’s world; women were “too emotional” to be involved in such things. Fanny Lee turned all of that upside down.

Having developed a keen interest in murder cases due to a friend of her brother’s, a skilled Boston medical examiner, she also possessed a great eye for detail.

“Investigators used to do dumb things,” says Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman for the Maryland medical examiner’s office. “They would walk through blood, move bodies, and put their fingers through bullet holes in clothing.”

She endowed a chair of legal medicine at Harvard, and a legal medicine library to go with it. As well, she created models of crime scenes, meticulous in detail and still used to this day. Largely due to her work, forensic science is actually science today, with actual procedures. Among forensics personnel, the “evidence eradication team” refers to the fire department. And here follow some other ways to totally screw up a crime scene:

1.)    You put your foot next to the suspects foot print to see what size it is
2.)    You post a crime scene photo on social media, soon discovering that you suddenly have a lot more time for social media
3.)    You enlarge the vomit stain on the rug with your own contribution
4.)    You collect a dozen samples for DNA testing, all while wearing the same gloves
5.)    You wait ten weeks for a fingerprint or DNA check only to find out that the print belongs to you 
6.)    You bag up green leafy vegetation — and other moist, organic evidence — in a plastic sandwich bag and then leave it in there, unopened, until the case goes to trial
7.)    You let the chief into the crime scene 
8.)    You fail to let the chief into the crime scene 
9.)    You use (and then flush) the toilet at the crime scene
10.)   You allow the fire department (a.k.a. “the evidence eradication team”) in first
11.)   You let everyone present at the scene approach it from a different route, path, or door
12.)   You tell the rookie that the only way to test the time of death of a bloated body is to poke it and see if the skin bounces back (and then actually let him do it)
13.)   You start comingling your actual crime scene training with an episode of CSI you saw a few years ago
14.)   You hear your captain tell you not to put his name on the list of people who entered the crime scene (and you actually leave him off the list)
15.)   You totally blow off procedure because “It started out as a petty call” — until you found the body
16.)   You pick up and examine an object, then put it back like you think you found it, and then decide to photograph it
17.)   You pick up evidence firearms by sticking a pen or pencil into the barrel
18.)   You unload all firearms found at the crime scene before placing them into evidence
19.)   You dump all the ammunition from these firearms into the same box or bag
20.)   You smell the container, which ultimately ends up with the coroner bagging two bodies rather than one


About maxredlines

experience: biology, zoology, psychology. authored/co-authored papers appearing in peer-reviewed scientific journals, as well as numerous professional proceedings. authored articles appearing in computer-oriented publications. featured in publications ranging from books to New Yorker magazine to television.
This entry was posted in Law and Order, Science and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Crime Scenes And Forensics

  1. lectorconstans says:

    “Hey That’s MY pistol pen! Get your own pistol pen!”
    —– Inspector Clouseau

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