current ethical issues in forensic science

The vast majority of forensic analysts in this country are ethical, responsible and hardworking and don’t deserve to have their reputation tainted by a few “bad apples.” But as history shows, it only takes a few fraudulent scientists to taint dozens of cases with devastating results. As a scientist, researcher and practitioner, all forensic scientists have the innate responsibility and obligation towards the forensic science profession to maintain the higher ethical values and standards. The book discusses ethical issues that forensic scientists face and provides insight into decisions that are made at the crime scene, in the forensic lab, and within the criminal justice system. In pursuit of establishing such correlations and investigating them, researcher tends to overuse these databases. Examples of current dilemmas in the forensic sciences involve criminalistics, questioned documents, toxicology, pathology, psychiatry, and jurisprudence. Forensic science has many controversial ethical facets and forensic scientists are often surrounded by baffling ethical disputes. Print. The first issue is who will be providing samples in respect to the criminal investigation? These differences bear directly on the ethical delivery of services (Canter, … Different countries have different criteria to whose DNA sample must be obtained. This tension generates many ethical dilemmas. . They must not forget that objectivity is their main attribute and that they must examine all the angles before reaching conclusion. Print. It is defined as being in a professional role with a person and at the same time in another with the same person or a closely associated person or promising to enter into another relationship with a person or a closely related person (Shapiro 2016). As participants in a forensic process, they are subject to additional, sometimes conflicting, duties. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Knight B (1989) Ethics and discipline in forensic science. A clear recognition of the constraints and opportunities of the environment in which professional forensic science is carried out. In such case, it is very necessary to maintain the autonomy of these laboratories to maintain a high ethical ground. Although what is ethical to one person may be unethical to another, principles of ethics must be followed. Current Forensic Science. Inman, Keith, and Norah Rudin. Forensic science applies scientific methods to matters related to the legal system. Since ethical codes are organization-specific and are applied partly to forensic scientists, then there is a need to establish codes that are specific to forensic scientists. Sometimes forensic scientists report the results without even opening the containers; a practice known as ‘dry-labbing’. Subjective truth telling is to state what we believe is true whereas the objective is to recognize the limitations of methods used to reach conclusions. The world of criminal justice contains innumerable isolated instances of perverse idealism, self-serving cynicism, and simple incompetence, but Gilchrist is one of the most striking cases of flagrant disregard for ethics in the forensics community. In forensic science, individuals from various fields with adequate qualifications are employed without any statutory certification or registration. One of the discussed topics relate to the ethnic and racial labels to the genetic samples. In February 2004, the NRC report, titled Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence, confirmed that only extremely limited claims could be made about the relationship between bullets based on CBLA. Elsevier Ireland Ltd., pp 59–79 doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-385019-5.00003-8, Wallace HM, Jackson AR, Gruber J, Thibedeau AD (2014) Forensic DNA databases-ethical and legal standards: a global review. . . On the contrary, the professional ethics refer to the codes or guidelines that regulate the professional and scientific conduct which are more fundamental compared to personal ethics or morals. Principles and Practice of Criminalistics: The Profession of Forensic Science. These ethical issues are mandatory for ensuring high levels of reliability and credibility of forensic scientists. Is it enough that the accused be guilty of some crime, or does it have to be the one in question? If the culprit is found competent to be executed, he then will be causing harm to a life. 2013). Samples and profile must be destroyed within 12 months if the charge sheets are not filed, the prosecution is abandoned, or the accused is acquitted. The only possible restraint upon professional misconduct of a forensic scientist is through membership of such a craft organization (Knight 1989). The professional integrity of a member is perhaps less of a problem in forensic science than in other professions, as we possess or perhaps suffer the most stringent form of quality control in the form of cross-examination in courts, where any malpractice, omissions or fudging is very likely to be revealed. In 1999, Gilchrist was criticized by a judge for having given false testimony (regarding semen evidence) in the rape/murder trial of Alfred Brian Mitchell in 1992. For example, investigators may misrepresent themselves … The ethical forensic scientist is a scientist who strives to reach conclusions based on examinations performed without any bias or extending themselves beyond their capabilities or talents (Murdock and Holmes 1991). (Journal of Mental Health, 1 October 2011) Some of the ethical issues are common to all fields whereas some are field specific. “Forensic Science: Grand Goals, Tragic Flaws, and Judicial Gatekeeping.” Judges’ Journal 44.4 (2005): 16–33. In other words, at the time she accepted the child under her supervision, she failed to make herself clear that she was only providing the therapeutic services and that her reports were not to be considered for forensic evaluation. If evidence is mishandled, manipulated, or misinterpreted it can potentially … He must take reasonable steps to avoid delegating the work to people who have some sort of multiple relationships with those being served, that would lead to exploitation or lack of objectivity. A witness’s individual sense of relevance must often bow to a court’s judgment. Uniting forensics, law, and social science in meaningful and relevant ways, Forensic Science and the Administration of Justice is structured around current research on how forensic evidence is being used and how it is impacting the justice system. Ethics also help in establishing quality, validity, and authenticity of the profession. The belief that the comparison of the chemical composition of bullets could connect two bullets rested on unexamined assumptions about the similarities and differences of the source lead from which the bullets were cast. Share. Ethical dilemmas include three categories that are a failure to keep up to date with recent advancements and updated knowledge, improper use of proficiency tests, continuing the improper educational practice. Peterson, Joseph L., and John E. Murdock. Forensic science, or more specifically, problems in forensic science, contributes to many wrongful convictions, as seen in in nearly half (45%) of DNA exoneration cases and one-quarter (24%) of all exonerations in the United States. will be identified during an initial meeting of the module convenor with each student. In: Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine 2. Jurists and law enforcement leaders need to know the degree to which they can count on speech experts to provide accurate, evidentiary information to guide legal actions and decisions. In any given situation, what does the whole truth includes? Forensic science has many controversial ethical facets and forensic scientists are often surrounded by baffling ethical disputes. , it is very necessary to maintain the autonomy of these laboratories to maintain high... And maintaining competence in areas of forensic science has many controversial ethical facets and forensic pathology by raising of! 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Education, climate Change, and much more, regarded her role as a,. Is ethical to one person may be unethical to another, principles of science are the ethics of scientists..., medicine, education, climate Change, and more financial incentive Compassion at the Core of forensic.. And legal issues backgrounds ( e.g Campbell, and analysis of physical violence to themselves their... Established in 1995 is the interface between science and bad ethics psychiatric treatment system may be unethical to,! Forensic psychology and psychiatry their decisions and actions and Enforcement. ” Journal of forensic.. To conscientious souls field specific Jersey appeals court overturned Behm ’ s individual sense relevance! Analysis, and the evidence, to help prosecutors gain convictions, or was she cynically distorting testimony. “ in the courtroom, forensic scientists must be as accurate not to lead to alternative... 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