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Journal Article


Wilson TW. Leg. Med. 1990; ePub(ePub): 87-103.


(Copyright © 1990, Butterworth Legal Publishers)






The image processing by computer analysis has established a data base for applications in the industrial world. Testing has proved that the same system can provide documentation and evidence in all facets of modern day life. The medicolegal aspects in civil and criminal litigation are no exception. The primary function of the image processing system is to derive all of the information available from the image being processed. The process will extract this information in an unbiased manner, based solely on the physics of reflected light energy. The computer will analyze this information and present it in pictorial form, with mathematical data to support the form presented. This information can be presented in the courtroom with full credibility as an unbiased, reliable witness. New scientific techniques shown in the courtroom are subject to their validity being proven. Past imaging techniques shown in the courtroom have made the conventional rules of evidence more difficult because of the different informational content and format required for presentation of these data. I believe the manner in which the evidence can now be presented in pictorial form will simplify the acceptance. Everyone, including the layman, the judge, and the jury, will be able to identify and understand the implications of the before and after changes to the image being presented. In this article, I have mentioned just some of the ways in which image processing by computer analysis can be useful in civil and criminal litigation areas: existing photographic evidence; forensic reconstruction; correlation of effect evidence with cause of evidence; medical records as legal protection; providing evidence of circumstance of death; child abuse, with tracking over time to prevent death; investigation of operating room associated deaths; detection of blood at the scene of the crime and on suspected objects; use of scales at the scene of the crime; providing medicolegal evidence beyond today's technology; and a new theory and technique on using polygraph information in litigation. I am sure that the professionals in the forensic field will be able to think of many more applications where the image processing by computer analysis tool will be able to provide solutions to complex problems. The next time you say to yourself, "I wish they would have preserved this," or, "It's too bad they didn't do an autopsy," think of this new tool that is available to help you get the documentation and answers that will stand up to the scrutiny of the civil and criminal litigation system.

Language: en


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