Criminalistics and Forensic DNA
Full course description
Criminalistics deals with forensic evidence in criminal cases. The course is aimed at enabling students to recognise and formulate in a logically correct manner (Bayes theorem) forensic research opportunities and to create awareness of the need for judges, prosecutors, lawyers and attorneys to ask the right questions to forensic experts in court. In the course special emphasis will be on DNA, on general reasoning about evidence, and problems of bias and fallacies.
students should be able to:
- demonstrate a basic understanding of several areas of technical forensic research;
- formulate hypotheses and research questions in a logically correct manner (Bayes Theorem) for criminalistic investigations;
- recognise the correctness of research questions, bias risks, evaluation possibilities, explanations and assumptions;
- express the value of conclusions and the validity of theories based on research findings of forensic areas of expertise;
- recognise prosecutors and defence fallacies in interpreting forensic results;
- distinguish between the source level and activity level of forensic trace evidence;
- formulate the difference in evidential value of macro and micro traces;
- explain the essentials of forensic DNA research and evaluation of DNA fingerprint comparison;
- recognise the value of reference databases for comparison of research results;
- recognise the value of databases for judicial experts in various areas of law.
- Richard Saferstein, Criminalistics An Introduction to Forensic Science (Pearson, Global Edition) Edition 11 (2015). ISBN: 978-1-292-06202-
- selected texts in the reader of the course