>How Trustworthy Is Forensics Information From Fiction

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Thank you very much to Brooklyn White for writing this fascinating guest post for my blog!

They hold us captive not just by the stories they tell or the crimes they portray, but also by the characters who solve these crimes and the way in which they go about it. Forensics is a field that’s gaining in popularity by the day thanks to television programs like CSI, Bones, Criminal Minds and others. People know much more about fingerprint analysis, DNA testing, blood spatters and other methods of criminal investigation that were relatively unknown because they were conducted behind closed doors and away from the public eye. But how accurate and trustworthy is the information shown on TV?

Well, if you were to go by reputable sources, not really all that accurate. For one, television shows and books gloss over the finer details; and with any amount of time being compressed into a few pages or a few minutes of screen time, it’s easy to assume that crime-solving is a piece of cake that can be achieved within a matter of an hour or so. But the truth is that the solving of a crime takes much longer than is shown on screen or portrayed in a book – so the first misconception about forensics from fiction is that it allows crimes to be solved very quickly.

Also, the lead characters in books, movies and television series are always able to establish without a doubt that a particular person is the criminal – the evidence points squarely to them and no one else. In real life however, it’s not always a cut and dry decision. So the second misconception about forensics from fiction is that it always allows the criminal to be identified without a doubt.

Real life trials are not as interesting or speedy as those shown on TV or described in books, but not many juries are aware of this nugget of information. So when they sit in on trials, they are not satisfied with the nature of the evidence presented because it is far less interesting, intriguing and concrete like that shown on forensic crime shows on television or described in books. This compromises their ability to deliver the right verdict. The third misconception about forensics from fiction is that the explanations are not always as simple as portrayed.

And finally, we come to the most important misconception of all – forensic science is not always accurate as portrayed by fiction. It may be hard to believe, but DNA can be fabricated, and if criminals are capable of this, they can always find ways to sabotage other evidence as well. So even though a forensic investigation may point to a certain person as the criminal, there is always an element of doubt.

By-line:
This guest post is contributed by Brooklyn White, who writes on the topic of Forensic Science Technician Schools . She can be reached at brookwhite26-AT-Gmail.com.

Hvor pålidelige er retsmedicinske oplysninger i fiktion?
De fængsler os, ikke bare gennem de historier, de fortæller, eller de forbrydelser, de fremstiller, men også gennem de personer som løser forbrydelserne, og måden de gør det på. Retsmedicin er et felt som vinder frem dag for dag, takket være tv-programmer som CSI (Crime Scene Investigation), Bones, Criminal Minds med mere. Seerne ved meget mere om fingeraftryk, DNA-prøver, blodstænk og andre testmetoder, som tidligere var relativt ukendte, fordi de blev udført bag lukkede døre. Men hvor præcis og pålidelig er den viden, vi får via TV?

Tjah, ifølge pålidelige kilder er de ikke særlig præcise. Dels skøjter tv-programmer og bøger let hen over de finere detaljer, dels bliver længere tidsforløb presset sammen på få sider eller nogle få minutters skærmtid, så det er let at antage at en forbrydelse kan opklares på en times tid. Men sandheden er, at opklaringen varer meget længere, end det fremgår på skærmen eller af bogen. Så første misforståelse er, at ved hjælp af retsmedicin kan forbrydelserne opklares meget hurtigt.

Hovedpersonerne i bogen, filmen eller TV-serien er også meget hurtige til at afgøre, at en bestemt person er forbryderen – bevismaterialet peger entydigt mod denne person og ingen anden. I virkeligheden er det imidlertid ikke altid en fiks og færdig beslutning. Så den anden misforståelse om retsmedicin er, at forbryderen altid kan identificeres uden skygge af tvivl.

Virkelige retssager er ikke så interessante eller så hurtigt afgjorte som dem vi ser på TV eller i bøger, men det aner mange jury-medlemmer ikke. Så når de sidder med i retssalen, er de ikke tilfredse med det bevismateriale, de bliver præsenteret for, fordi det ikke er nær så spændende, fascinerende eller konkret, som det de ser i udsendelser om retsmedicin. Det påvirker deres evne til at nå frem til den rette kendelse. Den tredje misforståelse om retsmedicin er, at forklaringerne ikke altid er så enkle eller klare, som de bliver fremstillet.

Og til slut kommer vi til den største misforståelse af dem alle – retsmedicin er ikke altid så præcis, som den bliver fremstillet i fiktion. Det er måske svært at tro på, men DNA kan forfalskes, og hvis de kriminelle er i stand til det, kan de altid finde måder at sabotere andet bevismateriale på. Så selv om den retsmedicinske undersøgelse peger på en bestemt person, er der altid en rest af tvivl.

Dette gæsteindlæg er skrevet af Brooklyn White, som skriver om emnet retsmedicin på siden Forensic Science Technician Schools. Mail: brookwhite26 (at) Gmail.com

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in forensics, guest blogger. Bookmark the permalink.

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