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Ethics in Forensic Science

Ethics in Forensic Science - Ethics in Forensic Science...

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Unformatted text preview: Ethics in Forensic Science Ethics Old News or a New Phenomena? Glass half-full? Glass Police Agency vs. scumbags and thugs? Jurisprudence – seeking the truth? Peer pressure Character flaws: low self-esteem, malingerer, Character slacker, addictive personality slacker, Lack of training – “ignorance is bliss” Disenchantment – “they owe me” Unintentional error Financial issue Manifestations Manifestations Dry-labbing Dry-labbing Pushing the window “Close enough for government work” Reporting error Out right perjury Out Limiting the Chances Limiting Pre-employment screening: Polygraph Background check Psychological testing Random drug screens Documented training with capstones Case file review Testimony monitoring Random court testimony transcript review Competency/Proficiency testing Re-analysis of drugs designated for destruction Post employment monitoring: Detriments to Monitoring Detriments Work load Resources “You can’t legislate morality” (St. Louis You disk jockey re erroneous transfer of bank funds - 2007) –Momma shoulda done it! funds Flukes, Fantasies and Falsehoods Flies in the Ointment of Forensic Credibility Credibility The Flies The Who is that masked man? The Ointment The State of Oklahoma vs. State B.J. Stouffer B.J. Gilchrist Testimony Gilchrist Q: Did you find any evidence of blood on the defendant’s jacket A: Yes, I found 3 red-brown spots on the front Q: Did you conduct any testing on those spots? A: Yes, I conducted a presumptive test for blood Q: What result did you obtain? A: Positive for blood Q: Did you do any further testing? A: Yes, I also conducted confirmatory tests for blood on the spots Q: What results did you obtain? A: the confirmatory tests were negative Q: Why did that happen? A: The jacket was suede leather and the stains were too soaked in Q: Do you have an opinion as to the identity of the stains A: Yes, they are blood A short course in Gilchristory short 1980’s – complaint to SWAFS 1990’s – additional complaints Gilchrist has been repeatedly accused of false testimony and Gilchrist shoddy results in her work during the past 15 years. shoddy She has been involved in approximately 3,000 cases, including at least 23 cases where defendants were eventually sentenced to death and to have either been executed or remain on death row. 11 of those people were executed during the past two years, 11 including Marilyn Plantz and Randall Cannon who was executed on July 23rd - despite strong doubts as to his guilt because of Joyce Gilchrist's testimony. because Oklahoma County District Attorney Robert Macy, who often Oklahoma relied on testimony from Gilchrist, announced his resignation effective June 30, 2001 effective You’re so Zain – they probably wrote this song about you wrote Fred Zain was a West Virginia State Police Fred forensics expert who testified in hundreds of criminal cases criminal He appeared to know his subject so well that He judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys didn't question the laboratory results His stature in West Virginia led to a better job His offer, chief of physical evidence for the medical examiner in Bexar County, Texas He did for Texas what he had done for West He Virginia - He lied A portion of Zain’s testimony in a case currently under review case Q: You say the bloodstain on the tile was round? A: Yes Q: What if anything, did that indicate to you? A: When the rifle was fired at semi-contact A: distance, blood was sucked up into the barrel by the temporary vacuum created. The barrel was then held straight down and as the barrel cooled, the blood dripped out and onto the tile cooled, A short course in Zainography short 1980’s things begin to unravel in West Virginia Glen Woodall, convicted in 1987 of multiple felonies, including two Glen counts of sexual assault, and sentenced to a prison term of 203 to 335 years Zain testified that, based upon his scientific analysis of semen Zain recovered from the victims, "[t]he assailant's blood types ... were identical to Mr. Woodall's." DNA testing done in a subsequent habeas corpus proceeding DNA habeas established that Woodall could not have been the perpetrator State Supreme Court mandated ASCLD-LAB inspection In 1998, Zain was charged in Hondo, Texas with aggravated perjury, In evidence tampering and fabrication connected to the 1990 rape conviction of Gilbert Alejandro- he was acquitted conviction West VA charges that Zain had defrauded the state by accepting his salary and benefits while falsifying evidence and committing perjury were dismissed in January 1999 Zain died of colon cancer in 2004 Almost Heaven, West Virginia Almost Forced accreditation 2 years later – dry labbing HPD Dec 2002: HPD suspends DNA testing Dec Jan 2003: Harris Co. DA announces plans to retest 413 Jan DNA cases DNA March 2003: Josiah Sutton released after serving 4 yrs March for rape for Oct 2004: Geo. Rodriguez released after serving 17 yrs Oct for rape for Apr 2005: Re-analysis of cases by special forensic Apr review team begins review June 2007: Dozens of faulty DNA cases Jan 25, 2008: DNA section shut down in proficiency Jan cheating scandal (supv. resigns, 2 suspended) Frauds, charlatans & other forensic miscreants (i.e. liars for hire) (i.e. A nameless, faceless Fly lands nameless, The mark toward the decedent’s nose was the result of muzzle flip. This could only have resulted from the weapon being oriented with the sight toward the rear of the head. Therefore, this had to be the result of homicide, not suicide The real story The A 22 revolver has only minimal recoil The decedent could have been holding The the weapon to the rear with her thumb on the trigger the Contact shots are typical of self-inflicted Contact wounds wounds The mark is a partial muzzle imprint (an The abrasion) abrasion) Result: Acquittal Another masked man rides the range range A shooting reconstruction is attempted by an shooting unqualified individual unqualified A bullet fired by an officer passes through the bullet decedent and through a wall behind The “expert” uses the entry and exit holes in the The wall to establish what he claims is the trajectory of the bullet of This results in a conclusion that the officer is This lying because the trajectory is well over to the left of where the officer stated he fired from left The real story The After passing through the decedent’s body After the bullet is destabilized and tumbling as evidenced by an irregular entry hole into the wall the The entry/exit holes in the wall are The unreliable for establishing initial trajectory unreliable Following a deposition, the plaintiff’s drop Following their suit their “The Magic Bullet” Same song – different verse Same An officer fires at a woman who is leaning back on her An bed and holding a handgun after she refuses 2 commands to drop the weapon commands One of the officer’s rounds strikes the corner of a One satellite control box before passing through the woman’s body and into the wall behind the bed body A string is run from the irregular-shaped hole in the wall, string through the broken area of the control box and to the wall in the hallway outside the bedroom wall Conclusion: The officer was lying about his position Result: The officer is convicted of murder Result: So which side is the “dark” side? side? ...
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