APPLYING ETHICS IN FORENSIC SCIENCE 13
ApplyingEthics in Forensic Science
ApplyingEthics in Forensic Science
ThisCanadian Code of ethics is projected as a monitor to the ethicalbehavior of distinct workers in the deparment of forensic science(Proulx& Layton, 2001). It is never to be interpreted that these valuesare unchallengeable laws or that they are comprehensive. Instead,they characterize overall ethics which each operative must endeavorto aquire. It is to be comprehended that all cases may differ, justas does the sustentative evidence which the forensic scientistscrutinizes, and no set of monitoring traditions or rules willaccurately fit each occasion. At the same time, the essentials setout in the Canadian Code are to be observed as representative, to asubstantial extent, the behavior requirements anticipated of membersof the legal profession
Thepossible letdown to meet or uphold some of these values willdefensibly cast uncertainty upon a person’s suitability for thiskind of work. Thoughtful or repeated infringements of these ethicsmay be considered as unreliable with connection to the Canadian legalsystem. Forensic Science is the professional career concerned withthe scientific investigation and inspection of physical evidence, itsanalysis, and its demonstration in court. It encompasses theapplication of philosophies, practices and approaches of the bodilysciences, and has as its principal objective a purpose of physicalevidences which may be substantial in legal circumstances. It is theobligation of any individual working in the profession of forensicscience to work with the interests of justice with the paramount oftheir aptitude at all times. In satisfying this obligation, they willutilize all of the methodical means at their knowledge to determineall of the substantial corporeal facts comparative with the problemsunder investigation. Having made realistic ascertainments, theforensic scientist must understand and assess the findings. In thisthey will be directed by knowledge and understanding which, togetherwith a serious contemplation of the investigative outcomes and thesubmission of comprehensive judgment, may allow them to reachopinions and conclusions relating to the issues under consideration.These conclusions of information and the deductions and sentimentsshould then be testified, with all the truthfulness and proficiencyof which the expert is proficient, to the endpoint that all may fullycomprehend and be able to give the conclusions in their rightrelationship to the problem under concern. In dispensing these roles,the forensic scientist will work in scope of practices and measureswhich are generally acknowledged within the profession to bedependable with a high degree of professional principles. Themotivations, methods, and engagements of the forensic scientist shallalways be above censure, in good taste and reliable throughappropriate moral conduct.
Ethicsrelating to the scientific methods of Forensic Science
Theforensic scientist has a truthfully scientific essence and should beinquisitive, broad-minded, reasonable and unprejudiced. The ethicalscientist should make satisfactory investigation of all materials,working with those tests essential to proof. They will not, simplyfor the sake of strengthening their deductions, apply unnecessary andredundant tests in an effort to give understandable greater weight tothe results. The modern scientific compliance is an open one,mismatched with secrecy of the method. Scientific evaluation will notbe carried out by “secret process”, nor will conclusions in casework be based upon such tests and experimentations as will not bediscovered to the occupation. A proper scientific method requires thereliability of validity of the materials analyzed. The ending willnot be drawn from resources which themselves appear atypical,undependable, or unreliable. A truly scientific techniques requirethat no largely condemned or unreliable procedure be utilized in theanalysis. The open-minded worker will keep up-to-date of newprogresses in scientific approaches and in all cases, assess themwith an open mind. This is not to say that they need not be criticalof unproven or untried methods, but they will identify superiormethods when they are introduced.
Ethicsrelating to views and conclusions in Forensic Science
Validconclusions call for the submission of proven methods. Where it ispractical doing that, the experienced forensic scientist will applysuch techniques throughout. This never demands the application of“standard test procedures”, but, where practical, use should bemade of those approaches recognized and established by this or otherqualified society. Assessments are designed to reveal accurate factsand all clarifications shall be dependable with that principle andwill not be deliberately distorted. Where suitable to the correctunderstanding of a test, investigational controls shall be made forconfirmation. Where achievable, the conclusions arrive at as a resultof analytical tests are appropriately long-established by re-testingor the submission of supplementary techniques. Where test concernsare questionable or unspecified, any conclusions given shall beentirely explained. The scientific mind is independent and refuses tobe persuaded by evidence or materials outside the exact materialsunder deliberation. It is impervious to the proposition, pressuresand coercions impulsive with the substantiation at hand, beingconcerned only with ascertaining facts. The forensic scientist willbe perceptive to differentiate the insinuation of an investigationresults as they may relate to the exploratory characteristics of acase. In this respect they will, however, conscientiously avoidbewildering scientific fact with analytical theory in theirunderstandings.
Scientificmethod stresses that the person be aware of their own boundaries andrefuses to encompass themselves past them. It is both appropriate anddesirable that the scientific employee to seek information in newfields they will not, however, be quick to apply such informationbefore they have had adequate preparation and experience. Where testresults are able of being interpreted to the benefit of either sideof a case, the criminological scientist will not choose thatunderstanding favoring the side by which they are working merely as ameans to justify their employment. It is both appropriate and wisethat the forensic researcher be aware of the diverse conceivableinsinuations of their thoughts and deductions and be equipped toweigh them, if requested to do so. In any such case, though, theywill evidently differentiate between that which may be considered asystematically established fact and that which is hypothetical.
EthicalAspects of Court Presentation:
Theprofessional witness is one who has considerably greater knowledge ofa given matter or knowledge than has the typical person. Aprofessional view is properly distinct as “the prescribed judgmentof a forensic expert.” A conventional viewpoint consists of one’sopinions or philosophies on matters, generally unsubstantiated bycomprehensive review of the substance under deliberation. Expertjudgment is also defined as the well-thought-out view of an expert,or a correct judgment. It is to be implicit that an “expertopinion” is an opinion derived only from a formal consideration ofa subject within the professional’s information and experience. Theethical expert does not take benefit of the privilege to expressideas by offering views on matters in their field of expertise whichthey have not given official contemplation. Irrespective of legalclassifications, the forensic scientist will comprehend that thereare degrees of inevitability signified under the single term of“professional opinion.” They will not take advantage of theoverall principle to assign superior significance to an understandingthan is defensible by the presented data.
Whereconditions indicate it to be proper, the professional will not pauseto show that while they have a view, resultant of study, and judgmentwithin their field, the opinion may lack the certainty of otherfeelings they might offer. By this or other means, they take care toconsent no false impressions in the minds of the jurors or the court.In all respects, the forensic scientist will circumvent the use ofterms and thoughts which will be dispensed greater encumbrance thanare due to them. Where a view necessitates stipulation orexplanation, it is not only appropriate but obligatory upon thewitness to offer such qualification. The expert witness should keepin mind that the lay juror is apt to assign greater or lessconnotation to ordinary words of a scientist than to the same wordswhen used by a lay witness. The forensic scientist, therefore, willavoid such terms as may be misinterpreted or misjudged.
Itis not the purpose of the forensic scientist’s attendance in courtto only that indication which supports the opinion of the side whichengages them. They have a moral responsibility to see to it that thecourt understands the evidence as it exists and to present it in anunbiased manner. The forensic scientist will not by implication,knowingly or intentionally, assist the contenders in a case throughsuch tactics as will implant false impression in the minds of thejury. The forensic scientist, testifying as an expert witness, willmake every effort to use comprehensible language in theirdescriptions that will enable the judges to get a correct and bindingidea of the testimony.
Theuse of unclear, misleading, circuitous or ambiguous language with aview of bewildering an issue in the concentrations of the court orjury is unethical. The forensic scientist will answer all questionsput to them in a clear, traditional presumptuous manner and refuse toextend themselves outside their field of capability. Where the expertmust organize photos or present oral “contextual information” tothe jury in respect to a specific type of analytic method, thisinformation shall be reliable and binding, characterizing the usualor standard basis for the method. The instructional material shall beof that level which will provide the judges with a proper basis forevaluating the ensuing evidence expositions, and not such as wouldprovide them with a lower average than the science stresses. Any andall comprehensive displays shall be made permitting acceptablepreparation, and shall not be deliberately distorted or distortedwith a view to misleading the court or jury. By way of transmittingevidence to the court, it is suitable that any of a diversity ofcommunicative materials and approaches be used by the professionalwitness.
Suchapproaches and resources shall not, however, be disproportionatelysensational.
Ethicsrelating to the general practice of
Wherethe forensic scientist participates in private service, it issuitable that they set a rational fee for their services. No servicesshould be dispensed on an alternative fee basis. It shall be observedas virtuous for one forensic scientist to re-examine evidenceresources formerly presented to or observed by another. Where adifference of opinion arises, however, as to the importance of theevidence or to test results, it is in the interest of the professionthat every effort be made by both analysts to resolve their conflictbefore the case goes to trial. Largely, the value of “attorney-client“association is deliberated to apply to the work of a physicalevidence consultant, except in a situation where an insufficiency ofjustice might occur. Justice must be the organizational code. Itshall be principled for one of this profession to serve an advocatein a recommended capability concerning the questioning of anotherexpert who may be giving testimony. This service must be performed ingood faith and not maliciously. Its purpose is to prevent ineffectualtestimony but not to frustrate justice.
Ethicalresponsibilities to the profession:
Inorder to advance the practice of forensic science, to encourage thepurposes for which the Canadian court system was formed, and toinspire harmonious relations among all forensic scientists, eachinspector has an obligation to behave according to certainprinciples. These principles are no less matters of ethics than thoseoutlined above. They differ primarily in being for the benefit of theprofession rather than specific obligations to society. They,therefore, concern individuals and departments in their relationshipwith one another, business policies and similar matters.
Itis the concern of the profession that evidence about any newfindings, growths or methods applicable to the field of forensicscience be made available to forensic scientists generally(Heitman,Anestidou , Olsen, & Bulger, 2005). A reasonable effort should bedone by any forensic scientist having understanding of suchdevelopments to expose or otherwise notify the profession of them.Being reliable with this and like objectives, it is anticipated thatthe consideration of the profession will be aimed at toward anymethods or tests in use which emerge unreliable or invalid in orderthat they may be accurately investigated (Ogloff,1999). In the significance of the profession, the individual forensicscientist should abstain from seeking publicity for him/herself orhis undertakings on specific cases. The preparation of documents forpublication in suitable media, however, is considered appropriate.The forensic scientist shall discourage the involvement of their namewith publications organizations, or developments in which they haveplayed no important part, simply as a way of gaining personalpublicity or prestige.
TheCanadian judicial is systematized principally to encourage a freeexchange of ideas and material between members. It is, therefore,obligatory upon each forensic scientists to treat with due reverencethose proclamations and contributions made by their associates. It isproper that no member shall unreasonably repeat statements or beliefsof another as expressed in seminars (Pipes,Holstein & Aguirre, 2005). It shall be ethical and proper for oneforensic scientist to bring to the attention of the court system aviolation of any of these ethical principles. Indeed, it shall becompulsory where it appears that a serious infraction or repeateddesecrations have been enthusiastic and where other appropriatecounteractive measures, if followed, are unsuccessful. The code ofethics for Canadian forensic scientists may be used by any forensicscientist in rationalization of their demeanor in a given case withthe concern that they will have the complete backing of the justicesystem.
Question2: Justifications of lessening ethical standards in Forensic Science
Theimportance of comprehensive discovery in cases in which scientificproof is offered in evidence cannot be overstated. As the AdvisoryCommittee note to the federal discovery rule comments, “It isdifficult to test expert testimony at trial without advance noticeand preparation.” The Canadian Criminal Justice Standards note thatthe “need for full and fair disclosure is especially apparent withrespect to scientific proof and the testimony of experts. This sortof evidence is practically impossible for the adversary to test orrebut at trial without an advance opportunity to examine it closely.”Moreover, the National Academy of Sciences has recommended extensivediscovery in DNA cases: “All data and laboratory records generatedby analysis of DNA samples should be made freely available to allparties.
Thechoice of sanction rests within the discretion of the trial court,and appellate courts will reverse only for an abuse of discretion. Inexercising its discretion, the trial court typically considers threefactors: (1) the reason for the violation, including whether theprosecution acted in bad faith (2) “the extent of prejudice to thedefendant” and (3) “the feasibility of curing the prejudice witha continuance.” Courts frequently cite the failure of defensecounsel to seek a continuance as evidence that the accused did notsuffer prejudice (Bartol & Bartol, 2011). This, of course, ignores the realities of trialpractice—the difficulty encountered by defense attorneys inpreparing for trial and rescheduling other cases. In short, theaccused is faced with what one court called a “Hobson’s choice”go to trial perhaps without adequate preparation or be forced todelay, which, in turn, provides the prosecution with a “tacticaladvantage” because “even with a continuance, the defense.
Bradyis a trial right, not a pretrial disclosure rule. Nevertheless,exculpatory evidence must be disclosed in time for defense counsel tomake use of it. Here, as with the discovery rules discussed above,delayed disclosure may place a defendant in an untenable position. InEx parte Jerome, a murder case, the prosecutor used a blood spatterexpert to refute the defense suicide theory (Hoonaard,2001). According to the prosecutor, his case “depended upon”this evidence. Prior to trial, the prosecution retained anotherexpert, Rolly Cole, considered the premier expert in the field. Afterreviewing the crime scene, the physical evidence and the photographs,Rolly concluded months before trial that “it was more probable thannot that the deceased died from a suicide rather than a homicide.“Yet the defense did not receive his written report until ten daysbefore trial and then only after the trial judge threatenedsanctions. Rolly never testified.
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Heitman,E., Anestidou, L., Olsen, C., & Bulger, R. E. (2005). Doresearchers learn to overlook misbehavior?. Hastings Center Report,35(5), c2-c2.
Ogloff,J. R. (1999). Ethical and legal contours of forensic psychology. InPsychology and Law (pp. 403-422). Springer US.
Pipes,R. B., Holstein, J. E., & Aguirre, M. G. (2005). Examining thepersonal-professional distinction: ethics codes and the difficulty ofdrawing a boundary. American Psychologist, 60(4), 325.
Proulx,M., & Layton, D. (2001). Ethics and Canadian criminal law. IrwinLaw.