This is the assignment page for your final written submission - the Forensic Court Report. This assignment will be worth 30% of your final grade and will test your knowledge of forensic studies in the context of the courtroom, including bias and ethical considerations. Your submission should be submitted through Canvas and must be 1500 words (+/- 10%). Read the below assignment briefing and instructions carefully before beginning your assignment.
You are asked to produce a report for the legal team defending the accused, Mr. McGee. Ensure you read through The Incident Update below before starting your assignment.
Your report should detail three specific stages of the '123 Fake Street' Investigation in which bias could have been introduced, and how these might affect the partiality of the prosecution's forensic team (including examiners at the scene, forensic and laboratory professionals).
These -stages- of the investigation may include (not an exhaustive list) specific actions, procedures, instructions, lines of questioning (and so on) at any stage of the investigation from the time of first response to delivery of expert testimony in the courtroom.
In your report, you should address your reasoning for choosing these specific stages of the investigation, how bias could have been introduced, and the way this could affect the partiality of the prosecution
In your report you should address the necessity of maintaining impartiality at each stage you have chosen of the investigation.
Your report should include what you would expect to see from the prosecution to demonstrate how they have avoided being partial in the specific areas/stages you have chosen.
Your report must be supported by academic sources and relevant literature.
Your report should be logically constructed with introduction, discussion and conclusion sections.
The Incident Update
It is several weeks since the incident on the evening of 30th October at 123 Fake Street.
Mr. McGee, the owner of 123 Fake Street, is being charged accused of the murder of E. Shermer, his former girlfriend.
Your new role is as part of the forensic science team advising the legal team defending Mr. McGee.
You have been consulted to advise them on possible avenues of error and incorrect procedure conducted by the prosecution's team. They want to know if the forensic team working for the prosecution have been bias in their investigation.
The legal team you are working for have advised you that the following forensic evidence (at least) will be included in the prosecution's case:
Witness testimony from the neighbour, Mr. A. Lias.
The defending legal team have asked you to identify three areas in which bias or partiality could have been demonstrated by the prosecution for them to build their case.
The report contains the several steps and aspects related to the investigations involved under a criminal case. For the purpose to understand the significance of forensic investigation, a case law is considered under the report. The report also consist the stages and the sub-stages of the investigation. The entire discussion of report is based on the given case law which is assessed in the previous procedural report. In the further part of report it has also been addressed that how the biasness can be introduced by the investigators in the different stages of investigation. The kind of biasness made by the investigators and their impact on the parties to case has also been depicted.
In every criminal case, there are several stages of investigations through which the case is resolved. However,, all the investigations involve different steps and investigators but the outcomes of investigations support each other. For instance the evidences found in the crime scene investigation are evaluated under the forensic investigation and the outcomes of forensic investigation are used under the final investigation. In this report, three stages of investigation have been considered which crime scene investigation, forensic investigation are and final investigation (Nakhaeizadeh, Morgan, Rando, & Dror, 2018).
|Investigation at Crime Scene: In the given scenario of case law, McGee was charged with the murder accusation of E. Shermer who was his former girlfriend. However, no murder was occurred but severe injuries were caused to the victim hence the attempt to do murder has been made. The investigators found number of facts and evidences at the location of crime such as a knife full of bloodstains, fingerprints and mobile phone. The location of crime was disorganized and all the house appliances were not at their place. The condition of the living room was saying that a serious attempt of murder has been made. In this stage of investigation the evidences and facts were collected regarding the crime incident (Villa, & Jacobsen, 2019).||Forensic Investigation: The forensic investigation is performed on the collected evidences which can be evaluated by the forensic science techniques and mechanism. The identification and assessment of the evidences is made by the forensic experts and professional to reveal the real outcomes of the investigation. The collected evidences such as bloodstains, fingerprints and mobile phone can be assesses with the help of forensic experts hence all these evidences will go through the forensic examination (DK Molina, & Hargrove, (2018). ). The bloodstains found on the knife and floor of the living room and the fingerprints on air tickets are assesses by the DNA analysis. For the analysis of mobile phone, the use history and data of the mobile will be assessed by the digital forensic investigation. However, all the investigations have their own relevance in the final outcomes of the case law but the forensic investigation provides an important aid in context of the judgment of the case (Murphy, 2017).||Final Investigation: The final stage of investigation represents the combine analysis of prior two investigation stages. At this stage of investigation, the examiners consider all the evidences and their forensic outcomes for the purpose to find final impact of the evidences. For instance the DNA analysis produces the fairness about the identity of accused and digital analysis reveals the information regarding the mobile use history. The final outcomes of previous investigations provide support to the entire judicial proceeding and also assist the judge to find the proper remedies which could be provided to the parties. The final investigation or conclusive stage of case considers the forensic report prepared by the forensic experts and professionals (Maharik, et al. 2018). These final outcomes and statements made by the experts are deemed to be very important for making the final decisions regarding the case (Roux, Crispino, & Ribaux, 2012).|
All these stages of investigations have a sound contribution to resolve the complications of the criminal case law. However, these investigations are performed by the professional experts and authorized officers but still there are some chances to occur the biasness in the proceedings (Aquila, Gratteri, Sacco, & Ricci, 2018). These biasness can be caused due to some specific actions of the examiners and several relevant questions can also be raised on the basis of this bias conducts. Hence there are some significant aspects involved in the investigation process which are as follows (Julian, et al. 2011).
Specific Action: The actions or conducts with biasness can be made by the professionals and experts while performing their duties. It can be made in either forensic or crime scene investigation by the experts. At the crime scene investigation, the collected evidences can be manipulated by the officers or investigators to supports any of the party. It can be done by the officers under the influence of any party or by their own. At the forensic investigation stage, the experts can state bias opinions about the investigation due to falling under the influence of either party or due to the moral character of the accused on the basis of which the experts reveals their opinions. For instance McGee and E. Shermer were in a kind of relationship where the dispute can be occurred between them and McGee can murder his girlfriend in the heat of the moment. By considering this assumption, the investigators can prove McGee guilty.
Bias introduction: The biasness of experts towards the parties can be intentional or cognitive. The intentional bias is the partial attitude of experts which is performing under the influence of one party. However, the ethics of their profession do not allow them to do any partial behavior in the favor of any party and they are obligate to perform in order to provide fair justice but these professionals are also human and they can also be influenced by others. Apart from the intentional bias, the cognitive bias can also be held by the experts. The cognitive bias defines the opinions of experts which they have as human being such as their assumptions for the conduct or character of the accused. In the considered case law, the experts can depict their personal assumption about the motive of crime on the basis of the situation of crime scene or character of the relationship between parties. Also the witness testimony from the neighbor was false which also caused biasness into the case (Chirmade, Sharma, & Patil, 2017).
Lines of questioning- The bias behavior of experts can raise number of questions in the mind of parties. If the biasness is performed by the prosecution then the defendant can raise the questions before law by opposing the biasness held under the investigation. The question which could be occurred here is that whether the facts and evidences collected from the crime location have been manipulated by the investigators or the forensic experts have performed under the influence of any party. Apart from this the questions in context of the expert’s report and statement can also be occurred (Vyas, & Tripathi, 2019). The prosecution party can take the advantages of such biasness as they can prove the accused guilty for the conduct which was not actually made by him.
Delivery of the expert testimony- In any case the statement or opinion of an expert has sound contribution in the overall proceeding of trial. The Court has belief that the experts are professional and they are working under the ethics of their professional hence they cannot lie before the Court or also cannot state the bias opinion in the report. Therefore their statements are considered to be fair and true for the proceeding of the Court. However, the statement made by the experts in the report is considered as the expert testimony but in some cases the court can call the experts into the Court for oral testimony.
It could be inferred after analyzing the entire scenario that the biasness can be performed by the experts and professionals also while doing the investigation. This biasness will eventually cause benefit to a party and injustice to another party. Hence to provide the fair justice, it is required for the professionals to perform as per the ethics of their professional and to make the investigations as per the prescribed measures.