Fraudulent Forensic Evidence: Malpractice in Crime Laboratories

Fraudulent Forensic Evidence: Malpractice in Crime Laboratories

Fraudulent Forensic Evidence: Malpractice in Crime Laboratories

Fraudulent Forensic Evidence: Malpractice in Crime Laboratories

Synopsis

Buker tells the untold story of crime labs. Through extensive field research he scrutinizes the problem of malpractice in the US publicly-funded crime labs from an administrative perspective. Several examples of malpractice in these organizations reflect not only individual mishaps of forensic scientists working in these labs, but also organizational failures. Buker finds that elements of organizational environment and organizational behavior of the crime labs combine to create this organizational failure. He concludes with public policy suggestions to maintain and amplify the trustworthiness of these very important criminal justice organizations.

Excerpt

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Martin Luther King, Jr

In recent decades, the criminal justice system has experienced a dramatic increase in the importance of forensic science for the effective investigation, prosecution and management of trial processes (National Institute of Justice [NIJ], 1999; Peterson & Hickman, 2005; Office of President of the United States, 2003). Especially after the discovery of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) coding for personal identification, litigators and jurors in criminal and civil trials alike have increasingly come to view DNA forensic evidence as somewhat of a “gold standard” (Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Sciences Community [CINFSC], 2009; Maier, 2003; Pratt, Gaffney, Lovrich & Johnson, 2006; Whitehurst, 2004). Forensic evidence, in general, can powerfully influence whether a particular defendant will be acquitted or convicted (Bromwich, 1997), and the forensic sciences have been used increasingly in criminal trials since they were initially introduced in common practice by the second half of the 19 century. Since those years, many scientific developments in chemistry, biology, physics, pharmacology, and other fields of natural science have helped to solve many criminal cases and establish innocence or guilt of accused persons at trial. Developments in computer science and the capacity for . . .

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