(Received 23 February 1973; accepted 31 October 1973)
Published Online: July
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Elementary and very crude “scientific” techniques have been utilized for centuries in judging cause of death, determining the truthfulness of an individual's statements, and assaying the purity of valuable materials. It was not until the nineteenth century, however, that the scientific disciplines of chemistry, toxicology, and medicine were sufficiently advanced for them to be utilized meaningfully in resolving legal issues. The legal and scientific professions both attained higher levels of theoretical and practical development at this time, and became more receptive to rational modes of proof and evidence to replace those based primarily upon magicoreligious or political foundations . The recognition and admission of scientific procedures by the criminal courts proceeded at a slow pace, though, due largely to the presence of pseudo and biased experts who delivered unreliable findings .
Professor of criminalistics, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, N.Y.
Criminalistics researcher, National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, LEAA, Washington, D.C.
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