Ethics and the Practice of Forensic Science

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CRC Press, Apr 19, 2016 - Law - 217 pages
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While we would like to believe that forensic science professionals are intrinsically ethical by nature, the reality is that these individuals have moral compasses as varied as those of any individual you may know. They confront ethical dilemmas every day, some with clear-cut protocols and others that frequently have no definitive answers. Ethics and the Practice of Forensic Science explores the range of ethical issues facing those who work in the field and highlights the complicated nature of ethical decision-making in this complex arena.

Ethics in the courtroom and the lab

Written by one of the leading researchers in forensic ethics, the book provides data-driven examples of the behaviors – both good and bad – that shape the forensic profession. It provides real examples of ethical behavior combined with research to demonstrate how ethics works (and sometimes does not) in this richly interesting scientific field. The book begins by exploring philosophical approaches related to ethical decision-making. It examines the ethics of the criminal justice culture, ethical issues in the courtroom, and ethics in science and research. Next, the book shifts to a discussion of unethical behavior, and provides actual case studies spotlighting ethical breaches, including the O.J. Simpson case and other reported examples.

Ethics codes in various organizations

The book concludes with a discussion of the code of ethics. Appendices discuss research data on ethics in forensic science and provide ethics codes from various forensic science organizations. Offering a lively source of debate for professionals and academics, this volume provides a window on a topic that is frequently fraught with uncertainty.

Robin T. Bowen was interviewed recently for Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology.

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Chapter 1 What Is Ethics?
Chapter 2 The Ethics of the Criminal Justice Culture
The Scientists Perspective
Chapter 4 Research Ethics in Science
Chapter 5 Ethics in Forensic Science
The Fork in the Road
Chapter 7 Good Examples of Bad Behavior
Chapter 9 An Ethical Approach to Forensic Professionalism
Initial Research Data on Ethics in Forensic Science
Additional US Forensic Science Professional Codes of Ethics
US Law Enforcement Professional Codes of Ethics
International Forensic Science Professional Codes of Ethics
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Chapter 8 Codes of Ethics

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About the author (2016)

Robin Bowen is assistant director for the Forensic Science Initiative, a program that develops research, scientific resources, and professional training and continuing education for forensic scientists and related professionals. Her primary responsibilities include coordination of continuing education programs, management of research projects, and correspondence of progress to the National Institute of Justice. Bowen is the primary developer of the Forensic Educational Alliance, an initiative to offer a variety of forensic science continuing education courses online. She has an undergraduate degree in forensic and investigative sciences and a graduate degree in secondary science education. Bowen is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Science, International Association for Identification, and National Science Teachers Association. Over the last four years, ethics as it relates to forensic science has been her primary research topic and has culminated in a successful web-based continuing education course as well as workshops provided to the forensic community.

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