Most terms used in this document are common nomenclature, or legal terms of art, but some words may have multiple interpretations. For that reason, a glossary of definitions for those words, as they are used in this text, appears in the Appendix.
Although experts must have specialized knowledge and experience in specific disciplines, they must explain these areas of expertise to many people less knowledgeable or experienced in these disciplines. Experts should be able to explain technical terms and complex processes clearly in plain, everyday language. Analytical reports, pretrial preparation with attorneys, testimony, trial exhibits and demonstrations should all be written in plain English and simple language. In addition, an expert's writing must be impartial — in fact, the expert should remain impartial in testing, report writing and testimony regardless of whether the expert works for one of the parties or the court.
This document also outlines the role of the forensic expert, from completing evidence analyses, to testifying in court in support of those analyses. Content is divided into modules designed to be read from start to finish for a broad overview, as individual chapters on specific aspects of analyses and testimony, or as a primer or refresher on a particular topic.
Additional Online Courses
- What Every First Responding Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence
- Collecting DNA Evidence at Property Crime Scenes
- DNA – A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook
- Crime Scene and DNA Basics
- Laboratory Safety Programs
- DNA Amplification
- Population Genetics and Statistics
- Non-STR DNA Markers: SNPs, Y-STRs, LCN and mtDNA
- Firearms Examiner Training
- Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers
- What Every Investigator and Evidence Technician Should Know About DNA Evidence
- Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court
- Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert
- Laboratory Orientation and Testing of Body Fluids and Tissues
- DNA Extraction and Quantitation
- STR Data Analysis and Interpretation
- Communication Skills, Report Writing, and Courtroom Testimony
- Español for Law Enforcement
- Amplified DNA Product Separation for Forensic Analysts