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Ethical Issues in Forensic Science: A Mock Trial Debate (A Three Hour Lecture Presentation) Dr. John Wang of Forensic Science Dept. of Criminal Justice California State University-Long Beach May, 2009
1. Logical Matrix for Forensic Ethics Ethical Standard in Forensic Science Ethical Standard in Criminal Justice Ethical Standard in Business Ethical Standard in Science
2. Violation Spectrum Ethical Violations Personal/Professional Ethical Standard Misconduct/ Misbehavior Criminal Violation
3. Three Basic Definitions 1) Definition of Ethics • The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class, group, culture or human action etc. : medical ethics, Christian ethics 2) Definition of Forensic Sciences The application scientific principles and practices of to the adversarial process where guilt or innocence is determined in court. 3) Components of Ethics • a. Provide written rules of professional conduct; • b. Specify an ethical violation; • c. Decide consequences of that violation.
4. Comparison of Legal, Ethical, & Moral Standards Legal Standard Laws and regulations a social member must abide by. Legal Requirement Ethical Standard Moral Standard high standard of honesty & Generally accepted customs honorable conduct with of conduct in a given society methods of reinforcement Personal Choice Professional Requirement
5. Ethical Standard in C. J. Community, Professional Organizations, & Agencies Ethical Standards in Criminal Justice Community Working definition of ethical standards by professional organizations by agencies
6. Common Ethical Issues 1) Misrepresenting qualifications or credentials 2) Pressured testimony (adrenaline factor) 3) Omitting unfavorable information 4) Lying about the knowledge of the evidence planted 5) Falsifying the data or notes 6) Biased examination
7. Ethical Issues at Agency Level 7) Discrepancies in ethical guidelines 8) Determination of ethical violations 9) Lack of specific training on unethical situations 10) Need for a disciplinary Forensic Ethics
8. Highlights of Ethical Standards 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) Accurate representation of qualifications Maintain the integrity of the evidence True and accurate representation of data Clear and complete documentation Impartiality of the examination Impartiality of testimony Confidentiality and disclosure Reporting of colleagues who violate the profession’s ethical code.
9. Three Simulated Situations 1) You arrive at a crime scene and find out it is the house of your wife’s ex-husband you have a long history of conflict in the past five years. Is it ethical for you to continue on the case? “No, I would excuse myself from the case mainly to avoid appearance of impropriety. ” “Yes, so long as I can explain my conflict of interest to my supervisor, and let him decide. ” “Yes, so long as I can separate the personal issue and not let it effect my judgment. ” * Class vote and explain why
2) The defense attorney made a mistake in defending the case on a DNA data and would lose the case for sure. Do you have an obligation to correct him? “No, each side will use findings in the manner in which they see fit. I can't change that, such is the nature of the beast. ” “Yes, if the statement is misleading or in error, as a scientist I must try to rectify the situation because a scientist can't knowingly let misleading or erroneous testimony stand. ” “Yes, I will inform my supervisor of it and let him decide. ” * Class vote and explain why
3) If you know your partner has falsified some data on a test you did together, would you report it to your supervisor? “Yes, otherwise I could be part of it. ” “No, I am not the supervisor. ” “Depend on the nature of the consequences and/or misconduct” * Class vote and explain why
10. Student Group Discussion 1) Write down the ethical issues you have observed from various cases; 2) Based on whose ethical standard, you decide if it is an unethical practice; 3) Any gray areas where it is difficult to decide.
11. A Special Issue: The Adrenaline Factor 1) Definition: The emotion caused by the heat of a cross-examination and the testimony to defend what is beyond one’s ability and capacity. 2) Explain some causal factors for this phenomenon. 3) What are your suggestion to prevent or reduce the phenomenon.
12. Cases in Point Three Selected Landmark Cases 1) O. J. Simpson Case 2) Phi Spector Case 3) J. F. K Case
13. The Mock Trial Debate on O. J. Simpson Case (30 Minutes) 1) Watch a DVD on the O. J. Simpson case; 2) Ask the students to choose one of the groups. The Jury Group The Prosecutor Group The Attorney Group
14. Ethical Issues Identified in the Case 1) Mishandling of the crime scene processing; 2) Blood evidence left in a hot van for over three hours; 3) Blood missing from the evidence chain of custody; 4) Two key forensic workers were found lying in court about their mishandling the crime scene.
15. The Mock Trial Debate 1) The Prosecutor group introduce its argument; 2) The Defense group introduce its counterargument; 3) The Jury group state its opinion. The professor summarizes the ethical violations in the case.
16. Case Example: A Real Case (15 Minutes) 1) Lead Analysis of Bullets (DVD case) Expert on lead analysis of bullets became upset at being frequently challenged in court by a former colleague.
17. Solutions 1) Understand the discrepancies among Forensic Community, Discipline/Field, and Agencies 2) Provide Proactive Training Classes for New Hires and In-Service Personnel 3) Discuss Real Cases and Simulated Situations through “”what-ifs” or real case studies
18. The Policy Recommendations Ask the class to suggest three policy recommendations 1) 2) 3)
19. Main Bibliographies Inman, K. & N. Rudin (2000). Principles and practice of criminalistics. New York, NY: CRP Press. James, S. , & Nordby, J. (Eds. ) (2002). Forensic science. New York, NY: CRC Press. Wecht, C. Eds. ) (2006). Forensic science and law. New York, NY: CRC Press.
20. Related Bibliographies Ashbaugh, D. (1999). Quantitative-qualitative friction ridge analysis. New York, NY: CRC Press. Butler, J. (2005). Forensic DNA typing. (2 nd), San Diego: Elsevier Academic Press. Butler, J. , & Becker, C. (2001). Improved analysis of DNA short tandem repeats with time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Justice. Clark, F. , Diliberto, K. , & Vernon, J. (Eds. ) (1996). Investigating computer. crime New York, NY: CRC Press. Collins, C. (2001). Fingerprint science. Incline Village, NV: Copperhouse Publishing Company. Coppock, C. (2001). Contrast: An investigator’s basic reference guide to • ingerprint identification concepts. Springfield, Ill: Charles C. Thomas Publisher. Cowger, J. (1993). Friction ridge skin: Comparison and identification of • fingerprints. New York, NY: CRC Press. Federal Bureau of Investigation (1990). The science of fingerprints. Washington, D. C. : U. S. Government Printing Office. Fisher, B. (2004). Crime scene investigation York, NY: CRC Press. . New
Fletcher, P. (1998). Basic concepts of criminal. Oxford: Oxford University. law Press. Hall, E. (1996). Criminal law and procedure. Belmont, CA: Delmar Publishing. Gaensslen, R. , Harris, H. , & Lee, H. (2007). Introduction to forensic science and criminalistics. Boston: Mc. Graw Hill. Isenberg, A. (1999). Mitochondrial DNA analysis at the FBI laboratory. Forensic Science Communications, 1, 1 -10. Iseberg, A. (2002). Forensic mitochondrial DNA analysis: A different crime-solving tool. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin , 71. Rudin, N. , & Inman, K. (2002). An introduction to forensic DNA analysis. (2 nd), New York, NY: CRC Press. Saferstein, R. (2007). Criminalistics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Sigel, L. (2007). Forensic science York, NY: Taylor & Francis. . New TWGMFFI Members. (2005). Mass fatality incidents: A guide for human forens identification. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Justice.