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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Objectivity in Forensic Science

     In order to maintain scientific objectivity, forensic science practitioners have to rise above the adversarial nature of the trial process. They have to be true to their science. This is especially difficult when their conclusions conflict with the law enforcement view of the case. Staying at arm's length from law enforcement is much easier for experts in the private sector. Crime lab employees who get too involved in the overall criminal investigation and outcome of a case are more vulnerable to prosecutorial pressure and influence.

     Keeping a firewall between forensic science and criminal prosecution is extremely difficult. It's easy to understand, for example, how a forensic pathologist in a medical examiner's office might lose scientific objectivity when he is involved in a case of child abuse or suspected infanticide. Forensic scientists should not think of themselves as part of a law enforcement team. They should think of themselves as independent scientists.  

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