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The field of forensic analysis of micro-evidence has evolved over the centuries in response to the changes in the levels of criminal sophistication around the world. The ability and intention of criminals to conceal crime has meant that forensic analysis adopt new approaches that would help them establish, with competent levels of certitude all the possible dimensions of crime. The task of recreating a crime is entirely dependent on the logical combination of the evidence obtained and linking them towards a simulated incidence, (Moriarty, 2005). This study explores the strengths and weaknesses in the available methods forensic analysis of micro-evidence in light of the transformations in the criminal landscape. The methodology adopted in this study is micro trace analysis as developed by Rumsfeld (2010). Expected findings are that the disharmonious relationships between theories of forensic analysis and technological developments in the same field have slowed down the efficiency in forensic analysis of micro-evidence.
Background of forensic science
Historical development of forensic science can be traced from the times of the Roman Empire up to the modern age. The early forms of forensic science basically involved two sides comprising of the aggrieved party and the accused before a council of elders. The matter at hand during this time would be solved by a comparative analysis of the strength of either side’s argument, (McCartney, 2006). In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Swedish and German chemists developed the inaugural scientific methodologies of establishing the evidence of poisoning in corpses,
Their attempt was the initial steps by which humanity sought to solve murders. Forensic developments from the eighteenth centuries upwards towards the twentieth century saw an increased dependency on the rules of logic and procedure in establishing the nature and dimension of criminal incidences, (Houck, & Siegel, 2010). In a broader perspective, all the historical factors developments in these early periods up to the first quarter of the twentieth century were classified under trace evidence methodologies, (Fisher, 2008). According to critics trace evidence is problematic in the sense that if fails to measure the merits of the associative link, (Stojkovic, Kalinich, & Klofas, 2007).
The conclusions of trace evidence are largely regarded as speculative because they reflect an element of independence of the circumstances. The emergent of DNA tests marked a significant transformation in the field of forensic analysis with degrees of probability increasing to marked proportions, (Shelton, 2010). The emergent of DNA heralded increased exploration into the area of micro trace analysis of evidence. Cases could be determined on the strength of evidence derived from minute objects from the crime scene. This development was further aided by technological innovations in the chemistry of micro-evidence analysis. The modern system of forensic analysis of micro-evidence is anchored on the methodologies that evolved out of the integration of the legal procedures of evidence and the orderly collection of evidence from scenes of crime, (Siegel, 2010). The modern forensic scientists are exploring the different ways in which they might use the available micro-evidence to recreate a crime that has already taken place. This measure of success and efficiency relies strongly on art of instinct, the rules of logic, and the strength of evidence, (Rumsfield, 2010).
Analytical chemistry continues to influence the success of micro trace analysis due the fact that its methods have higher degrees of accuracy than other forms of forensic analysis. Methods such as chromatography and electrophoresis have been incorporated into the identification of micro-objects that are collected at scenes of crime, (Pierce & Zhao, 2011). Generally, these methods are resourceful in the separation and identification of matter with the objectives of establishing specific elements in the substances obtained that might provide crucial links in solving sophisticated criminal cases.
The increasing reliance on Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) has increased the element of certitude in the analysis of micro-evidence, (Pierce & Zhao, 2011). The need for forensic laboratories continues to increase in significance precisely because the international legal standards have raised the threshold of credibility in the areas of evidence. The use of precipitation, distillation and extraction has remained central in the analysis of micro-evidence precisely because scientific methodologies in forensic micro-analysis are comparatively more reliable than syllogistic methodologies, (Bertino & Bertino, 2008). Ultimately, the level of efficiency in forensic micro-analysis is heavily reliant on the field of analytical chemistry.
Objectives of the study
To establish the nature of challenges affecting the levels of efficiency in forensic analysis of micro-evidence
To determine the degree of disharmony between forensic legal structures and available technologies for forensic analysis of micro evidence in terms of methodological mismatch
To suggest possible structural and theoretical remedies that might impact positively on the development of forensic analysis of micro-evidence
Hypothesis of the study
There exist significant structural challenges that affect the levels of efficiency in forensic analysis of micro-evidence
There exists a significant factor of disharmony between forensic legal structures and technological developments in the field of forensic analysis of micro evidence