If a person was found guilty of a crime, the person was to be tortured until God gave the person the strength to resist the pain. If they were innocent the person would be able to resist the pain yet if they were guilty they would endure the pain until their death. Unlike today, people were guilty until proven innocent. Due to this think, the majority if not all of people died. This was the common practice until the 17th century.
Earliest Record of Forensic Science Application
A collection of a manuscript in 3rd century China called Yi Yu Ji tells of the first application of forensics when a coroner performed an autopsy to determine the cause of death. A couple who had been known to fight had their house erupt in flames. It was said that the husband went back inside and then died there. Some thought that this was suspicious. Then, tests were performed on pigs of which some inhaled smoke before they died and some that died without inhaling smoke. The pigs that inhaled the smoke before death had black lungs and other respiratory organs. Pigs that died before didn't. An autospy was performed on the body and it reveled that the man was killed before the fire. The lady was found guilty and sentenced to a public hanging. This was the first recorded instance of using forensic science to solve a crime.
Swedish chemist, Carl W. Scheele developed a test for detecting arsenic in corpses. This was due to the fact that the parents of many rich children were coming up dead. Soon it was found out that the children were poisoning their parents to obtain their inheritance thus the name inheritance powder was coined.
Precise Method for Arsenic Detection
German scientist Valentin Ross came up with a more precise method for detecting smaller traces of arsenic in the human body. Was an improvement from Carl W. Scheele's method.
Article on Detection of Poison and its Effects
Spanish scientist Mathieu Orilla also deemed the Father of Forensic Toxicology published an article on the detection of poisons and their effects. He also worked hard to make chemical analysis a routine part of forensic medicine, and made studies of asphyxiation, and the decomposition of bodies.
Polarizing Microscope Invented
William Nicol a mineralogist invented the calcite prism and it was used in the polarizing microscope based on the nicol prism.
First Microscopic Detection of Sperm
H. Bayard published the first procedures for the microscopic detection of sperm. He also could detect different characteristics of fabrics.
Use of Toxicological Evidence in Criminal Trial
Post-mortum evidence was submitted and then used in court. The evidence was found after dead, hence the name, and it was based of the 3rd century case along with Carl W. Scheele's arsenic detection methods.
Early Use of Photographs
1850 - 1860
Nicephore Niepce succeeded in making the first photo in the mid-1820s. A few years later, it was found helpful to take photos of crime scenes instead of having to write it all down. It took a few years so that the exposure was accurate enough to record. It improved the quality of forensic science by not having to manually record everything instead by taking a photograph it was more accurate.
Presumptive Test for Blood
The test relies on the use of chemicals that change color in the presence of blood. it is called Phenolphthalein and false positives are possible. That is why it is only a presumptive test. Further tests are required to come to a conclusion.
Bertillion's System is a system that measures all parts of a person's body to ensure that they are different people. This was the first system used to categorize and separate people. During the last few years of using this system, a case of almost identical measurements were found. The system was replaced by using fingerprints.
1887 - 1893
Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Aurthor Conan Doyle was a mystery serious that followed Holmes on adventures to solve crimes around London. The effect of this serious had the same effect of the present day tv show CSI. It increased public interest and difficulty for the people during the investigation.
Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper was a famous serial killer in England that mostly targeted poor females especially those that were sex workers. He was never caught in the end and let to an increased interest in forensics in murder cases.
Invented by Karl Landsteiner developed blood typing by discovering when different people's blood was mixed together clotting occurred. He separated blood into 3 different types A, B, and C. This was later changed into types A, B, AB, and O.
Will West Case
A famous case that ended the Bertillion's system. Two men with nearly identical measurements and names were filled in the system. It was said that no two people could have the same measurements. This was a problem because if these two could have nearly identical measurements then so could others. The cases provided a bigger push for fingerprinting to become the normal standard.
Written by Albert Osborn it provides a system in forensic science that examines a document to verify the authenticity of the document so that it can be used as evidence in court or aid in an investigation.
Locard's Exchange Principle
Said that a criminal will bring something to the crime scene as well as take something with them. Both ideas can be used as evidence in forensic science.
Los Angeles PD Crime Lab
This was the first crime lab in the nation. For its first few years it was cutting-edge but years later after the OJ Simpson trial many doubted its credibility.
University of California at Berkeley Criminalistic Department
FBI National Laboratory
Before the opening of the laboratory, all cases were assigned to the International Association of Chiefs of Police in areas such as fingerprint comparison, handwriting comparison, and ballistics. The new location was opened in Quantico, Virginia.
FBI Forensic Science Research & Training Center
The FSRTC opened and housed a number of other programs such as the Laboratory and other useful FBI divisions.