Author(s)

Publication Year

Publisher

Lawyer’s Guide to the Forensic Sciences

The clash of the scientific and legal cultures in the courtroom, though theoretically directed at finding the truth, is marked by tension. Forensic science — science applied to the legal context — advances rapidly and has undergone dramatic changes in recent years. In contrast, the law embraces finality in administering justice and struggles to change with evolving scientific knowledge. Improving the scientific literacy of the legal community, however, may help to mitigate this tension.

To that end, this guide provides criminal lawyers, defence and Crown alike, with a macroscopic view of multiple forensic science disciplines, specific to the Canadian legal system and written by Canadian experts. Facilitating further case-specific research, this guide seeks to reinvigorate dialogue and improve collaboration between the forensic and legal communities in Canada, and contribute to the effective functioning of a fair and reasonable criminal justice system.

Caitlin Pakosh

Caitlin M. Pakosh, HBSc, JD, has been working as case management counsel of Innocence Canada (formerly known as AIDWYC) since 2012 and is responsible for managing the Association’s cases across Canada. She obtained her honours bachelor of science degree, specializing in forensic anthropology and earning a minor in biology, from the University of Toronto Mississauga in 2008. Her undergraduate thesis, which examined the decomposition of dismembered pig limbs enclosed in plastic bags and submerged in Lake Ontario, was conducted during her internship with the Toronto Police Service Marine Unit and published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences in 2009. Ms. Pakosh obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Calgary in 2011. She has appeared in the Court of Appeal for Ontario and has worked on intervener and appellate cases that have appeared at a variety of levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as ministerial review applications. Since 2013, Ms. Pakosh has cross-examined forensic science students in annual mock trials at the University of Toronto Mississauga, where students practise being expert witnesses. She is a member of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She is also an associate member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the Canadian Society of Forensic Science.

Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price

Preview

Introduces the book by discussing the need for scientific literacy in the legal community, and the important role that science can play in the courtroom. 9 $0.90

Preview

Discusses the role of forensic experts in the criminal justice system, focusing on issues including identifying and retaining a "good" expert, the importance of ensuring effective … 13 $1.30

Preview

Explores expert evidence, and specifically the judge’s role as the "gatekeeper" who will decide what opinion evidence will be permitted and what will not. The chapter explains how … 14 $1.40

Preview

Discusses the role of scientific evidence in the courtroom, focusing on how the evidence is presented and the rules stated in Browne v Dunn. 7 $0.70

Preview

Considers the importance of critically examining the forensic sciences, focusing on the Ratushny Self Defence Review, the Morin Inquiry, the Inquiry regarding Thomas Sophonow, the Manitoba … 69 $6.90

Preview

Discusses bloodstain pattern analysis, providing a thorough overview of the science of bloodstain pattern analysis, as well as its role in criminal cases. The chapter also provides a case study … ; 36 $3.60

Preview

Discusses the role of digital evidence, considering the science of digital evidence and the role of the digital evidence expert in criminal cases. A case study and legal context are also provided. ; 38 $3.80

Preview

Explores fingerprint analysis, focusing primarily on the science of fingerprint analysis, such as fingerprint examination and digit determination. The role of the fingerprint examiner in criminal … 47 $4.70

Preview

Discusses firearms and ballistic identification, beginning with an overview of the science behind this identification process, which includes basic principles of different types of guns and … ; 35 $3.50

Preview

Discusses fire investigation, beginning with an overview of the science of fire investigation, which is used to determine fire cause and other details. Common misconceptions of arson … ; 55 $5.50

Preview

Discusses forensic anthropology, beginning with an overview of the science of forensic anthropology, which is used to identify the biological profile and provide trauma analysis. The role of the … ; 57 $5.70

Preview

Discusses forensic biology and DNA, providing an overview of the science of forensic biology and DNA. The role of the forensic biologist in criminal cases is also explained, and legal context is given. ; ; 55 $5.50

Preview

Explores forensic botany, which refers to the scientific use of plants and plant parts in legal cases. The science of forensic botany is discussed, and the role of the forensic botanist in … ; 21 $2.10

Preview

Discusses forensic document examination, explaining the science of forensic document examination and its usefulness with handwriting comparisons. The chapter also describes the role of the … ; 42 $4.20

Preview

Discusses forensic entomology, which is the study of the carrion insects associated with a dead body. The chapter begins with an overview of the science of forensic entomology and what it can … ; ; 28 $2.80

Preview

Discusses forensic nursing, focusing on the science of forensic nursing, as well as the methods used in forensic nursing. Key concepts addressed by forensic nurse examiners are also described, … ; 49 $4.90

Preview

Discusses forensic odontology, focusing on its use in criminal cases. Its use for person identification is highlighted, as is the importance of bitemark evidence. Legal context is also given. ; 50 $5.00

Preview

Discusses forensic pathology, beginning with an overview of the science of forensic pathology, touching on areas of forensic pathology relevant to criminal cases including post-mortem findings in … ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; 43 $4.30

Preview

Discusses forensic psychiatry, explaining the science of forensic psychiatry by describing evidence-based forensic psychiatry and making the distinction between therapeutic and forensic … 50 $5.00

Preview

Discusses forensic alcohol and drug toxicology, focusing on the science of forensic alcohol and drug toxicology and specifically considering breath and blood alcohol testing and forensic … ; ; 54 $5.40

Preview

Discusses memory in the criminal courts, focusing on eyewitness testimony, child witnesses, remembering conversations and memory distrust. ; ; ; 20 $2.00

Preview

Discusses probability, looking at different methods of probability, as well as updating probabilities using Bayem’s Theorem. The use of Bayem’s Theorem in the courtroom is also explained. 21 $2.10

Preview

Discusses statistics, focusing on data, statistical inference and practical versus statistical significance. Certain significant cases, such as McCleskey v Kemp and State v Soto are touched upon. 23 $2.30

Preview

Provides a glossary of terms relevant to this book. 50 $5.00