Ethics Applied to Forensics and Crime Labs Research Paper



Type of Paper Term Paper English Style English (US)
Subject Area Ethics Writer Category Silver
Academic Level University Sources 3
Number of Pages 6 page(s) / 1650 Words                                    Referencing Style                               APA
Spacing Double Spaced


Question 1: 

If reporting misconduct had severe consequences for you, would you still feel obliged to report misconduct in your professional area? Why or why not? Explain your answer.

Misconduct is normally used in organizations to refer to improper and unacceptable behavior among employees. This is because the members of staff are required to observe the established code of conduct when discharging their duties. The behavioral misconduct is associated with some levels of punishment such as not receiving remuneration, employment benefits, and disqualification (Bornmann, 2013).  Common behavioral misconduct that, may lead to disqualification includes absenteeism on numerous occasions without proper permission from the management, extreme insubordination, dishonesty, intoxication while on duty, and chronic tardiness. The professional code of ethics has mandated employees to ensure they report any cases that result to misconduct.  Therefore, as a professional, I must report instances that result in misconduct among the employees regardless of the involved individual. This is critical in ensuring members acknowledge their mistakes thus taking time to reflect on how to handle the situation better in future. Reporting of the incidence also assists in adopting measures that promote remedy and guarantee that the situation does not reoccur in the future. The lack of reporting would hinder and impede the management from the comprehension of the misconduct thus cannot stop the action from happening again in future. Hiding of the misconduct would also result in mistrust with my employer in a situation where they later find out that I was concealing relevant information.

Moreover, it also leads to long-term consequences which are easily avoidable. This prevents the institution from achieving the desired objectives. For instance, not reporting issues that affect the overall functions in the organization would hinder the planning procedures on certain cases hence making it difficult for the business to attain the set targets. This is especially essential when fraud cases are involved since it would require the enterprise to develop measures that aid in overcoming or compensating the resultant damage i.e. supplementary budgets to cater for the missing funds. However, in situations where the business cannot raise funds, it leads to a lack of enough resource and hence making it hard for the business to meet their overall targets. Lack of reporting such incidences to the respective authority may also promote the perpetrator into continuing with the behaviors which may affect the overall business function in the future. Therefore, I would still report any form of misconduct occurring in forensic science regardless of the associated consequence. This is because the consequence is generally tailored towards improving the general welfare of the organization. It also helps in ensuring the management puts proper strategies to curb the behaviors since it would jeopardize any activities related to evidence collection thus affecting its overall credibility. Reporting of misconduct is also necessary for ensuring that actions associated with mishandling of vital evidence with an intention to shatter any hopes of finding justice are reduced. This helps in ensuring victims get justice for the atrocities committed against them. Therefore, reporting of the misconduct helps in building a good reputation of the judicial system adopted within the country.

Question 2: 

Do you think that incompetence is an ethical issue? Why or why not? Explain your answer.

Incompetence refers to an individual’s inability to complete the assigned tasked successfully. In this case, it occurs due to failure to meet the required legal qualification, and organizational hierarchies. The level of incompetence varies from depending on the magnitude of the tasked involved (Krishnan et al. 2017) Ethical issues related to the required or the acceptable conduct within an organization.  Employees are required to behave and act according to the employment terms.  Therefore, incompetence is a major ethical issue since it means that an individual cannot complete the assigned task and observe the highest levels of diligence. In the field of forensic science, incompetence is likely to result to lack of proper methods of generating evidenced thus weakening the case (Bowen, 2018). For instance, an incompetence staff may not apply the right procedures when conducting an investigating in a specific incidence which further weakens the case due to little evidence generated. This jeopardizes efforts to prosecute those accused of committing heinous offenses. Therefore, lack of incompetent staffs means that the recruitment process was done fraudulently. The moral laws with the organization require those mandated in recruitment to ensure them asses individual’s capabilities and skills before deciding on the right candidate to fill the vacant position. Incompetence would also result in a backlog of cases as the team tries to analyze the available evidence thus inhibiting the right to speedy trials.  Prosecution delays are likely to have an effect on the trial process as the offender look for loopholes to escape justice. Therefore, it is critical to have the right people conducting investigation especially in a situation where scientific skills are required since they help in analyzing the results and providing a correct procedure for conducting the investigation. This helps in determining the nature of the evidence available and whether it warrants prosecution of an individual.

Additionally, it helps in sealing any loopholes that might be used by suspected individuals to defeat justice. The problem of incompetence can be solved by offering extra training on individuals. This helps to improve their knowledge and skills in their areas of weakness.  Constant job evaluation also helps in identifying incompetent staffs thus making sure that the organization can take the necessary measures to resolve the issue before it affects the entire process used in evidence collection. For instance, the organization may decide on job rotation where only the competent members are assigned sensitive duties which since they have the experience and skills to handle the tasks diligently. The less competent members assume supporting roles thus ensuring that the procedures and process used in evidence collection are not jeopardized.

Question 7:

In class, various types of “unethical conduct” were discussed.  Of the following examples of “unethical conduct,” which do you think is worse and why?  Explain your answer.

Unethical conduct is used when referring to actions undertaken outside the normal procedures.  During the class discussion, example 2 was the worst form of misconduct. The incidence involved conducting of a blood test by a scientist without making any formal request. The results of the evidence collected were not reported. The scientists did not have any authority to conduct the lab tests despite their proficiency in the field. As a forensic expert, an individual is required to observe ethical issues when collecting evidence and reporting their findings. This is because an unrequested blood indicator test was performed in a Controlled Substance lab, thus scientists going against the ethical culture of forensic science. Performing such a test in an unauthorized area could potentially cause contamination to the evidence because the reagents used for blood indication could accidentally damage the suspected drugs and interfere with the results. Also, the blood could be transferred onto critical pieces of evidence that were not related to the same case (Bowen, 2018, p.27). Not reporting that a blood indicator test was performed also goes against the ethical culture of forensic science because there is a loss of transparency and now important blood evidence is consumed without documentation. It is upon the forensic scientist to report all their finding thus ensuring that the process is done in an orderly and organized manner which caters for the rights of all the parties involved.  For instance, the lack of transparency may be used as evidence to indicate that the result was tempered with thus not a true reflection of what was being tested.

On the other hand, I don’t see as much of an issue with Example 1 because a serologist is still part of Forensic Biology and has at least a basic understanding of DNA. I believe an appropriate response can be given to explain the reason why the serologist forwarded the evidence for the DNA test. For instance, the opportunity was critical in providing evidence due to their training of DNA. This is critical when expert analysis on evidence is required. They also help in explaining vital information about the evidence collected and how it relates to the case. The situation would not amount to sharing of evidence with outsiders since serologist work is critical to ensuring there is a proper understanding of the evidence collected. 


Question 5: 

Compare and contrast the following court cases:  Frye v. the United States and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In your answer, address what relevance each case has to forensic science and the impact that the court rulings have had on the profession.

Both Frye v United States and Daubert v Merrell Dow established rules for admissibility of scientific evidence in court, however; the court had different rulings as to what evidence was admissible in court. The Frye v. United States case is known for the general acceptance test. For instance, the Fry case, polygraph results were inadmissible in the court because the scientific community did not accept it. Regarding Frye, the evidence is admissible in court if “the principles behind the science received general acceptance from the professional community or field” (Bowen, 2018, p.93). This ruling was made in 1923 and was the standard for admissibility of evidence, federally, for many years.

On the other hand, Daubert v. Merrell Dow ruled that judges would act as the gatekeeper and “permit experts to present expert evidence to the jury” in 1993 (Bowen, 2018, p.96). The Daubert standard still included general acceptance. However, numerous guidelines were also considered such as whether the technique was testable, subjected to peer review, error rates, and the required standards. This became the widely used decision for admissibility of evidence in court to this day and encouraged further research in forensic procedures, methods, and technology, especially of those relating to related sciences. This is because it was found that expert’s evidence was highly reliable since they helped in providing information that was relevant to the case under consideration. However, the admissibility of the evidence is subject to following certain procedures, and the scientist must have the knowledge or acceptable grounds on the information sort.  According to the rule, experts help the court in understanding critical facts and knowledge relating to the issue under consideration. Therefore, the scientific evidence produced in court must relate to the case under and meet all the necessary condition for admissibility. The court's findings, therefore, served to encourage research in the field of forensic science since it encourages proper understanding of the available evidence.This helps in ensuring a better understanding of the facts relating to the case and ensuring justice is served to all the parties. It is therefore upon the judge handling the case to conduct a preliminary assessment to determine whether the evidenced and methodology used by scientists is valid or relevant to the issues considered.






Bornmann, L. (2013). Research misconduct—Definitions, manifestations and extent. Publications1(3), 87-98.

Bowen, R. T. (2018). Ethics and the Practice of Forensic Science (2nd Ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group.

Krishnan, S., Hizam, S. M., Saffian, A. K. M., Baharun, N. A. S., & Azman, N. (2017). Safety at Workplace Enhance Productivity. Human Resource Management Research7(1), 33-37.

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