Legal admissibility of innovative techniques of scientific investigation : an honors thesis (HONRS 499)

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Greenawalt, Kristin A.
Meagher, Martin S.
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Thesis (B.?.)
Honors College
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The prosecution of criminal cases relies significantly on the proper investigation of offenses. Resources available to police investigators have traditionally and continually benefitted from advances in the scientific community. There is greater interest in techniques such as DNA fingerprinting, psychological profiling of victims and offenders, and the use of video and communications apparatus. While the techniques available to investigators expand rapidly, the courts prefer to take a cautious and conservative approach to the legal admissibility of innovative scientific procedures at trial. Until judges and prosecutors deem procedures as methodologically sound, such techniques cannot be admitted as evidence in a court of law.This project will survey judges and prosecutors in the state of Indiana to discern factors that influence the acceptance of novel techniques of scientific investigation. Judges and prosecutors will be randomly sampled based upon geographic representation and demographic composition of jurisdictions served. A survey instrument will be devised and will be self-administered with delivery and return accomplished via the mail. Results will be analyzed to determine influencing factors and ascertain if variations exist based upon geographic distribution and demographic characteristics of jurisdictions served by judges and prosecutors in the study sample.