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Ethical (or impartiality) Question

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2023 1:37 pm
by Michele
Here are a few questions that might have to do with ethics... or maybe impartiality... or maybe just the time you have available.

If a detective or an attorney asks you not to process an item for fingerprints, or perform certain comparisons (perhaps it may hurt his case), should the termination of the request be granted (i.e., just do what is asked)? Or should an agency or LPE perform all processing/comparisons that is submitted that might add information to a case? If a request is terminated, we might not know the reason, maybe someone plead guilty, and the case is closed. Maybe the guilty plea is a false confession :shock:

What if a defense attorney asks for additional items to be processed, should this request be granted?

What if a prosecutor asks you to review a suspected erroneous ID from another agency? If you would review the comparison, would you also review a comparison if a defense attorney suspected an error?

I'm curious to hear what people think are agency/LPE's responsibilities.

Re: Ethical (or impartiality) Question

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2023 1:55 pm
by Bill Schade
Interesting questions

I can say from experience that practitioner usually only respond to requests but I have seen initiative demonstrated over the years and examiners have gone above and beyond in both processing and comparisons.

But now that “blinding the examiner” from case info is the new call from academics In our field, perhaps that is discouraged

I have also done comparisons at the request of the defense and the only caveat from my agency or the prosecutor was that they be notified of any results (so they were not blindsided)

If a customer (investigator/prosecutor) requests no action on part of the investigation. I guess we should give the defense the same courtesy. But then again. How does an examiner know who to notify. And is it really their responsibility? Prosecutors and investigators at bound by ethics as well

Re: Ethical (or impartiality) Question

Posted: Tue Jan 31, 2023 6:48 am
by SConner
I think a better question at times is, do we have a responsibility to make sure the information we provide to detectives or prosecutors means what they think it should mean or is used accurately?