When Was Forensics First Used in Court

In 1880, Dr. Henry Faulds, a Scottish surgeon in a Tokyo hospital, published his first paper on the subject in the scientific journal Nature, in which he discussed the usefulness of fingerprints for identification and proposed a method for recording them with printing ink. He established their first classification and was also the first to identify fingerprints on a vial. [39] On his return to Britain in 1886, he proposed the concept of the Metropolitan Police in London, but it was rejected at the time. [40] In the mid-12th century, the ancient Chinese were credited with being the first to attempt to define the difference between natural death and criminal intent. In a book by Sung Tz`u entitled The Washing Away of Wrong, the author observed that water accumulates in the lungs of drowned people and that strangulation can be assumed by damaged cartilage in the neck. As he wisely said so many hundreds of years ago, “The difference of one hair is the difference of a thousand li.” (A li is the word that means the distance of one mile in the Chinese language.) The book became an official text for coroners. Forensic science is used by various other organizations to clarify the fate and whereabouts of missing persons. This is the case, for example, of the Argentine forensic anthropology team, which is working to clarify the fate of persons who disappeared during the period of the 1976-1983 military dictatorship. The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) uses forensic science to locate missing persons,[99] for example after conflicts in the Balkans.

[100] DNA databases were created as a result of this case. There are national databases (FBI) and international as well as European countries (ENFSI: European Network of Forensic Science Institutes). These searchable databases are used to match crime scene DNA profiles with those already in a database. [47] 1910: Thomas Jennings becomes the first U.S. citizen to be convicted of a crime committed by fingerprinting. In 1986, Jeffreys` method was first used in a criminal case when local police investigated the rape and murder of two women: one in 1983 and the other in 1986. Blood and saliva samples were taken from more than 4,000 men in the area, but the method identified only one match for the two crime scenes: Colin Pitchfork`s DNA. Without the DNA match, Pitchfork would never have been arrested. But just as importantly, he exonerated Richard Buckland, a man who had been the prime suspect until then (after making a false confession) and who, according to authorities, would have served life in prison had it not been for Jeffreys` contributions to the case. In 1911, the Illinois State Attorney`s Office obtained a murder conviction against Thomas Jennings.

They did so by convincing a jury that Jennings` fingerprint matched the one left on a freshly painted windowsill in the house where the victim was killed. At that time, fingerprint matching had been common in Europe for several decades. It had been presented to American law enforcement by Scotland Yard officials at the 1904 World`s Fair in St. Louis. The Illinois Supreme Court later upheld Jennings` conviction, ruling that “the [finger-pinch] evidence in question is not part of the shared experience of all men with a general education in ordinary areas of life.” Therefore, the judges concluded that “the court and jury were adequately assisted by witnesses with special and specialized experience in this field.” Sir Edward Henry, the Commissioner of London`s Metropolitan Police, used the direction, flow, pattern and other characteristics of fingerprints to develop his own fingerprint analysis system. The book explains how to distinguish an accidental death from a murder by examining the weapon used to cause death. He highlighted important topics such as: The case of double murderer Dr. Buck Ruxton led to new forensic techniques developed by the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Top right: Police search for evidence in Moffat, Scotland, 1935 (ref. GUA FM/2A/25/109). Below: Details of Ruxton`s fingerprint form. Ruxton`s fingerprints were taken from Liverpool prison. Photos courtesy of the University of Glasgow Archives. 1813: Mathieu Joseph Bonaventure Orfila (1787-1853) publishes the Traité des poisons, the first textbook on toxicology. Xi Yuan Lu is the first written testimony of the use of medicine and entomology to solve crimes. This book is one of the first publications available to determine the cause of death.

Frances Glessner Lee, known as “the mother of forensic science,”[62] was instrumental in the development of forensic science in the United States. She campaigned for forensic pathologists to be replaced by medical professionals, founded Harvard Associates in Police Science, and conducted numerous seminars to train murder investigators. She also created the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, complex crime scene dioramas for investigator training that are still used today. The suspicion of motive and the word of others against a potential murderer took precedence over all other facts, and when all else failed, torture was readily available to extract confessions. c. 1591: Zacharias Janssen (ca. 1580-ca.