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Forensic Science in Court Challenges in the Twenty First Century by Donald Shelton

Forensic Science in Court Challenges in the Twenty First Century

Part of the Issues in Crime and Justice Series


Forensic Science in Court Challenges in the Twenty First Century by Donald Shelton

Forensic Science in Court explores the legal implications of forensic science-an increasingly important and complex part of the legal system. Judge Donald Shelton provides an accessible overview of the legal issues, then examines the strengths and limitations of various kinds of forensic science, including DNA, fingerprints, handwriting, hair, bite marks, tool marks, firearms and bullets, fire and arson investigation, and bloodstain evidence. Case studies illustrate the issues and their application in depth.


You couldn't find a better source for grasping the issues confronting the field of forensic science today than Forensic Science in Court. As a trial judge, Donald Shelton has observed the legal process from its most critical perspective, so who better than a 'gatekeeper
to guide us

? Judge Shelton provides a detailed framework for best practices in all areas of forensic science, for today and in the future. Everyone with a hand in the justice system, from judges to attorneys to expert witnesses, should read this book. -- Katherine Ramsland, DeSales University, author of Beating the Devil's Game: A History of Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation Judge Shelton's book hits the right balance: it clearly communicates the basic procedures used in each technique but does not dwell too much in any one area. For a very difficult subject matter, it is fairly easy to read, and the case studies really make the issues come alive. Judge Shelton is not afraid to point out the weaknesses both legally and scientifically of some of the procedures. -- Ron Bretz, Thomas M. Cooley Law School The book offers a searching examination of some of the most sacred of the sacred cows in the scientific evidence field, including: fingerprints, firearms comparisons, psychiatric evaluation, and so on. Former trial lawyer and current judge Donald Shelton has successfully put together an overview of the scientific issues that demand attention in light of modern legal principles. Forensic Science in Court will be a uniquely useful working tool for judges, lawyers, investigators and anyone who aspires to join those professions. It is thoroughly researched, thoughtfully presented and completely readable. -- Nick Rine, University of Michigan Law School This important book stands at the intersection of law, science, and technology, and it is essential reading for lawyers, judges, jurors, investigators, policy-makers, and citizens who care about their court system. In this highly readable book, Judge Shelton vividly illustrates that all too often forensic evidence does not meet the test of scientific validity. -- Nancy S. Marder, Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law Judge Shelton's book is a very readable, entertaining, concise, and enlightening account of the history of the use of forensic science evidence in criminal trials. This book is a valuable resource for lawyers, judges, and students. I highly recommend it. -- Thomas K. Clancy, Director, National Center for Justice and the Rule of Law; University of Mississippi School of Law

About the Author

Donald Shelton is Chief Judge of the Michigan 22nd Judicial Circuit and an adjunct professor in the criminal justice and political science departments at Eastern Michigan University. He also serves as a supervising judge for the Washtenaw Juvenile Court. He has previously worked as an attorney and taught at Washtenaw Community College and the University of Maryland.

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Book Info

Publication date

16th October 2010


Donald Shelton

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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield


196 pages


Civil procedure, litigation & dispute resolution



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