Forensic Science Under Siege

The Challenges of Forensic Laboratories and the Medico-Legal Investigation System


  • Kelly Pyrek, Phoenix, Arizona

Forensic science laboratories' reputations have increasingly come under fire. Incidents of tainted evidence, false reports, allegations of negligence, scientifically flawed testimony, or - worse yet - perjury in in-court testimony, have all served to cast a shadow over the forensic sciences. Instances of each are just a few of the quality-related charges made in the last few years. Forensic Science Under Siege is the first book to integrate and explain these problematic trends in forensic science. The issues are timely, and are approached from an investigatory, yet scholarly and research-driven, perspective. Leading experts are consulted and interviewed, including directors of highly visible forensic laboratories, as well as medical examiners and coroners who are commandeering the discussions related to these issues. Interviewees include Henry Lee, Richard Saferstein, Cyril Wecht, and many others.The ultimate consequences of all these pressures, as well as the future of forensic science, has yet to be determined. This book examines these challenges, while also exploring possible solutions (such as the formation of a forensic science consortium to address specific legislative issues). It is a must-read for all forensic scientists.
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PRIMARY MARKET: Forensic DNA/genetic specialists, law enforcement and criminal investigators, crime scene technicians, private forensic consultants, general forensic community (trace experts, fingerprint, ballistics, etc.), crime laboratory directors and technicians, medical examiners, coroners and forensic pathologists, forensic nurses, prosecutors, and law enforcement.SECONDARY MARKET:Forensic science and criminal justice 4- and 2-year college students, high school students, forensic nurses, prosecutors, defense attorneys, district attorneys, members of the criminal justice system, and interested laypersons.


Book information

  • Published: February 2007
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-370861-8

Table of Contents

Chapter 1Forensic Science: Celebrated and VilifiedChapter 2The Stakeholders in Forensic Science: Roles, Perspectives, and ExpectationsChapter 3An Introduction to the U.S. Forensic Laboratory SystemChapter 4The U.S. Forensic Laboratory System Under SiegeChapter 5The Reality of the U.S. Forensic Laboratory SystemChapter 6An Introduction to the U.S. Medico-Legal Death Investigation SystemChapter 7The U.S. Medico-legal Death Investigation System Under SiegeChapter 8The Real Story of the U.S. Medico-legal Death Investigation SystemChapter 9The Courts: Battlefield for the Truth and a Changing ParadigmChapter 10Not All Science is Created EqualChapter 11DNA: Convicting the Guilty, Exonerating the InnocentChapter 12The Evidence Trilogy and Forensic ScienceChapter 13The Stakeholders in Court: Judges, Juries, Experts, and AttorneysChapter 14 The Champions of Forensic Science: Advocacy and Funding EffortsChapter 15The Road to Redemption: An Agenda for ReformChapter 16New Initiatives and the Future of Forensic Science