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Bloodstain pattern analysis is a discipline that serves a significant role in answering the question of “what” happened. Used properly, bloodstain pattern analysis helps establish specific events associated with violent crimes. In this capacity, bloodstain pattern analysis acts as a critical bridge between classical forensics and crime scene reconstruction.
Crime scene reconstruction (or crime scene analysis) provides proven methodologies that allow objective snapshots of the crime to be established, and in many instances, sequenced.
This information, although not defining an absolute truth, is always effective for helping the criminal justice system defineits concept of what that “truth” may be.
In the criminal justice system, it is not uncommon to encounter a lawyer who adamantly believes, no matter what the nature of the testimony, that the investigator established in his or her own mind the innocence or guilt of a subject before completing the crime scene evaluation.
It appears incomprehensible to counsel that the investigator can take the often subjective information reported and conduct an objective investigation. Such a reaction should not surprise us because the idea of objectivity is relatively foreign to trial law.
No matter what the underlying truth, lawyers (both the prosecution and defense) highlight the information that best serves their position, and attempt to diminish or ignore that which works against them. Law professors refer to science as a smorgasbord, where the lawyers can step up to the table and take from science what they want.
Anything that looks unappetizing is simply ignored. This is the actual mindset of those who claim criminal investigators are subjective!
The crime scene analyst, however, can ill afford to pursue his or her end with the same mindset. Choosing what evidence one will or will not consider in the analysis is heresy.
Unfortunately, that trap is far too easy to fall into.
Bloodstain pattern analysis and crime scene analysis are not for the casual investigator who intends only to graze the surface, find a quick answer, and move on. The bloodstain pattern analyst is truly one who reconstructs crime scenes. As such, he or she must understand all of the forensic disciplines.
The analyst must be able to objectively apply each category of evidence to the situation, inferring as little as possible, but recognizing the whole. In order to accomplish this task the bloodstain pattern analyst must also under stand and apply proven crime scene analysis methods.
In that fashion, the evidence establishes a knowledge base from which the analyst reaches the “truth.”
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