Evaluate Ethical Behavior in the Forensic Examination of Physical Evidence



Forensic Crime Laboratory in Centerville

The forensic crime laboratory in Centerville employs five drug chemists. The duties of the drug chemist are to perform drug tests for criminal cases. Chemist Linda has worked for the crime laboratory for over 10 years and is the senior chemist. Her record shows that she performed over 60,000 drug analyses, which led to 11,000 convictions.

Other co-workers and the supervisor became suspicious about her high rates of convictions and took a closer look at her examinations, which revealed a virtually inhumane ability to test thousands of cases. She was responsible for testing 31% of all evidence processed in the laboratory, a total of 10,933 cases. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the lab genius she pretended to be. In reality, she faked her education and did not even have a master’s degree.

The supervisor’s investigation in numerous cases revealed that she faked the test results of thousands of tests per year. It was her way of getting involved in pursuing justice and to give the district attorneys what they needed for guilty verdicts.

When she was questioned by the supervisor, she admitted adding to a defendant’s guilt when she added cocaine to the evidence sample to provide incriminating results. Linda committed not only unethical, but also criminal acts and was arrested by law enforcement. The supervisor notified the district attorney, who had to revisit all the cases she had analyzed and dropped over 1,100 cases, resulting in innocent people and maybe criminals being released from prison and jail.

Based on Linda’s case, assess the ethical obligations of a forensic scientist to follow procedures and legal protocols when examining physical evidence. Critically analyze the duty of truthful courtroom testimony, including perjury. Be sure to address the following in your assessment:

  • Analyze the possibility that forensic scientists give less than truthful testimony in court if it will help convict a dangerous criminal defendant.
  • Create a plan concerning how to improve quality control in state laboratories for drug testing, serology, and fingerprinting analysis. Implement recent research of current programs and improvements in forensic examinations to guarantee due process of the law.
  • Articulate if certification and mentorship increase and promote ethical behavior when performing forensic examinations.
  • Determine if crime laboratories should not be part of the police department and law enforcement and if they should have managed independently to increase ethical behavior by eliminating dependency on and supervision by law enforcement and prosecution. Consider current research on independent laboratories and law enforcement sponsored laboratories and statistical information on the unethical behavior of employees in evidence testing and testimony in court. 

Length: 5-7 pages 

References: Include a minimum of five scholarly resources.