Author(s): Alison Adam
Series: Palgrave Histories Of Policing, Punishment And Justice
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2020
This book charts the historical development of ‘forensic objectivity’ through an analysis of the ways in which objective knowledge of crimes, crime scenes, crime materials and criminals is achieved. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, with authors drawn from law, history, sociology and science and technology studies, this work shows how forensic objectivity is constructed through detailed crime history case studies, mainly in relation to murder, set in Scotland, England, Germany, Sweden, USA and Ireland. Starting from the mid-nineteenth century and continuing to the present day, the book argues that a number of developments were crucial. These include: the beginning of crime photography, the use of diagrams and models specially constructed for the courtroom so jurors could be ‘virtual witnesses’, probabilistic models of certainty, the professionalization of medical and scientific expert witnesses and their networks, ways of measuring, recording and developing criminal records and the role of the media, particularly newspapers in reporting on crime, criminals and legal proceedings and their part in the shaping of public opinion on crime. This essential title demonstrates the ways in which forensic objectivity has become a central concept in relation to criminal justice over a period spanning 170 years.