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Title: The social life of forensic evidence and the epistemic sub-cultures in an inquisitorial justice system: Analysis of Saltão case
Authors: Costa, Susana 
Santos, Filipe 
Issue Date: Sep-2019
Publisher: Elsevier
Project: UID/SOC/50012/2013 
Serial title, monograph or event: Science & Justice
Volume: 59
Issue: 5
Abstract: Public discussions about forensic evidence and the criminal justice system have been largely centred on what Murphy called the “second generation of forensic science”. The distinction is made in reference to the differences in certainty and reliability between traditional (first generation) forensic disciplines like ballistics, handwriting analysis, bite and tool marks, and even fingerprints, and the more recent (or second generation) forensic methods epitomised by DNA technologies [1]. In spite of the rapid development and improvement of DNA technologies for forensic identification and the paradigmatic changes it has brought about [2], traditional forensic science disciplines still represent important sources of information for criminal investigation. As argued by Morgan [3,4], forensic evidence engages different forms of knowledge and institutional approaches, demanding a holistic or global understanding of the whole process, from crime scene to court. This paper contributes to this discussion by developing a sociological approach to the construction of forensic evidence in the context of an inquisitorial criminal justice system. This paper focuses on the case of the murder of an older woman, Laura, who was found dead in her home, in Coimbra, a city in the centre of Portugal. The investigation was quick in identifying a suspect. Ana Saltão, the only named suspect, was married to a grandson of the victim, both of them police inspectors at the Judiciary Police (PJ).1 She was detained one week after the crime and charged with Laura's murder.
ISSN: 1355-0306
DOI: 10.1016/j.scijus.2019.06.003
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CES - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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