Ethical Standards in Forensic Science seeks to address the myriad practices in forensic science for a variety of evidence and analyses. The book looks at ethics, bias, what constitutes an expert in the field—both as a practitioner and to the court system—as well as the standards of practice as purported by the top forensic organizations. Coverage addresses evidence collection, chain of custody, real versus "junk" science, the damage questionable science can cause to a discipline and the judicial process, testing methods, report writing, and expert witness testimony in civil and criminal cases in a court of law.
The authors’ background in engineering provides a unique perspective on a variety of evidence and testing methods. As such, in addition to coverage the range of evidence and topics cited in the 2009 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Report, they address numerous challenges that have arisen specifically in forensic engineering cases—their specific area of expertise. Numerous case example are provided to illustrate the inherent danger of bias, inexact science, or expert witnesses taking dangerous and harmful liberties on the stand. Students, lawyers, and professionals in all forensic disciplines will find this a refreshing and accessible approach to elucidate the problem and offer suggestions for reform and change for the good of the entire profession.
Table of Contents
SYMBOLS AND UNITS
- Introduction to Forensic Science
- The State of Forensic Sciences
- Some Historical Perspective
- The Court System
- Rules of Evidence
- The NAS report
- The Role of Science
- The Need for Experimentation and Testing - The Confluence of Experiment and Theory
- The Role of the Forensic Practitioner and Expert Witness
- Bias and Error
- The Court System and the Role of the Attorney – Limitations Placed on the Expert
- Questionable Science and Common Misconceptions
- Fire Sciences
- Tool marks and Firearms
- Structures, Gravity, and Wind
Appendix A VALUES OF FUNDAMENTAL CONSTANTS
Appendix B CONVERSION FACTORS
Harold Franck founded Advanced Engineering Associates Inc. (AEA) in 1989 with a home office in Charleston, West Virginia and a satellite office in St. Petersburg, Florida. Harold holds a BSEE and MSEE from West Virginia University. AEA is a forensic engineering investigative company that also perform a certain amount of design associated with losses. The main thrust of the company involves accident reconstruction, fire dynamic analysis, electrical incidents, structural distress, and biomechanics of injury.
Darren Franck is president of AEA and had been with the company since 1995. Darren holds a BSCE from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and an MSME from Georgia Institute of Technology and has extensive experience in 3D animations and simulations as applied to forensic cases. The principals of the company are registered professional engineers and have certificates of authority in Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, and West Virginia.