Forensic photography is quite different from professional photography. While clarity and quality are important to both, a forensic photographer is less interested in evoking an emotional reaction than a professional photographer. Where a professional photographer wishes to capture a moment, a forensic photographer uses a series of photographs to tell a story. Forensic photography is, if done correctly, unbiased. A forensic photographer’s objective is to put the viewer (or juror) at the alleged crime scene, so that he better grasps what did, or did not, happen.
Cambridge, MA Criminal Lawyer: Utilzing a Forensic Photographer
Experienced and thorough criminal defense lawyers retain a forensic photographer to photograph an alleged crime scene, even if the location has already been photographed by a detective or someone working on behalf of the District Attorney’s Office. A competent criminal defense lawyer is rarely satisfied with the quality and extent of the photographs taken by the police. After all, the police officer or detective is taking photographs to assist with the prosecution of the accused – whether or not he has been identified at the time that the photographs are taken.
Forensic photographers photograph more than alleged crime scenes. They may photograph injuries suffered by the accused to demonstrate that the accused and the alleged victim engaged in mutual combat or that the accused acted in self-defense. Where the alleged victim is claiming she injured her assailant (for example, by scratching his face or arms), a forensic photographer will photograph the hands, arms, etc., of the accused to prove he suffered no such injuries. Forensic photographers may also photograph, where relevant, the murder weapon, bloody clothing, damaged motor vehicles, footprints, etc. And, perhaps most importantly, they may photograph the view from the vantage point of a witness to demonstrate that a witness could not have seen what he claims to have seen.
A forensic photographer will, with a high quality camera, be able to take photographs at night in relatively unlit areas. These high-resolution cameras can usually accommodate multiple lenses with the ability to zoom in on a particular area or item. Often times, a forensic photographer must photograph very small, sometimes minute, pieces of evidence. To give these small pieces of evidence some scale, he will photograph a well recognized object, such as a ruler or a coin, next to it.
The quality of the photographs can prove critical to the defense, as investigators, other forensic experts, and the criminal defense lawyer will study the images and, perhaps, pick up on something no one noticed when surveying the crime scene. Forensic photographers are trained to avoid disturbing the crime scene and contaminating any evidence collected for further analysis.
For the criminal defense attorney intent on winning a trial, a forensic photographer may prove invaluable.
Contact a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime, contact Kevin J. Mahoney, a Cambridge Criminal Attorney.