Ethical Considerations in Forensic Science Services

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Forensic science has for a long time been the gateway through which many criminal investigations have traveled towards their eventual destination. The availability and use of forensic science services have been previously discussed in several studies, which revolve around the diverse problems of geographical areas. However, the reports have largely been confined to statistics regarding the laboratories and their related interactions with law enforcement agencies. A strategic question that has been left untouched is the availability and even the existence of truly neutral forensic science services in the United States. To what extent are forensic science services available equally to the police, prosecution, and defense? What, if any, are the influences that could affect the availability and reliability of forensic science services? These influences, if not properly accounted and controlled for, could ultimately affect the continued assimilation process of forensic science and the criminal justice system.

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Intended as a companion to the Fundamentals of Forensic DNA Typing volume published in 2009, Advanced Topics in Forensic DNA Typing: Methodology contains 18 chapters with 4 appendices providing up-to-date coverage of essential topics in this important field and citation to more than 2800 articles and internet resources. The book builds upon the previous two editions of John Butler's internationally acclaimed Forensic DNA Typing textbook with forensic DNA analysts as its primary audience. This book provides the most detailed information written to-date on DNA databases, low-level DNA, validation, and numerous other topics including a new chapter on legal aspects of DNA testing to prepare scientists for expert witness testimony. Over half of the content is new compared to previous editions. A forthcoming companion volume will cover interpretation issues. - Contains the latest information - hot-topics and new technologies - Well edited, attractively laid out, and makes productive use of its four-color format.
This chapter is being included for several reasons. First off, books such as this one (i.e., those that focus on content areas) rarely include descriptions of the various behaviors associated with, or required by, the practical application of the processes involved. Of course, when engaged to carry out an evaluative task, the professional forensic phonetician practically always will be asked for some sort of report and, in perhaps 20–30% of the cases, he or she will be requested or required to testify in a court of law. Hence, I feel some responsibility to review the dimensions of these activities—just as I touched on report writing on several occasions. Second, although the content of this book is but an introduction to the area of forensic phonetics and not designed to turn the reader into an operating professional, you may have some questions about the proper application of ethics as they relate to the forensic milieu, the process of testifying as an expert witness, and so on. The comments to follow and, especially, the references listed should either answer these questions or lead you to sources that do.
An abortive investigation into an armed robbery is reported, and the need for the preservation of evidence, careful evaluation of the significance of negative results and integrated management of the investigations is described.
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