Volume 42, Issue 6 (November 1997)
Ethics and Value Bias in the Forensic Sciences
This article focuses on ethical problems that arise in the practical sphere when professionals and scholars enter the forensic arena. Two different yet related stories from the author's experience are recounted. The first is drawn from the author's membership on the blue-ribbon committee convened by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, which issued the report entitled DNA Technology in Forensic Science in 1992. The second is an inquiry into the role of the bioethicist in the forensic setting, based on the author's response to cases in which she was invited to serve as an expert witness. The article concludes that since the forensic sciences deal with matters of truth and justice, a commitment to uphold these important values forms the moral basis for justifying the actions of those who work in this field.