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Limiting Errors in Results of Forensic Science

Addressing the reliability and credibility of pattern and impression evidence especially the effectiveness and perceived trustworthiness of Forensic Science requires understanding the central argument. The reliability and credibility of the pattern and impression evidence of forensic science is an issue of contention that has attracted both positive and negative views. Firstly, it is clear that forensic science evidence enables supporting criminal allegations, especially where errors are limited. Secondly, the accuracy and credibility of the sample results are essential to ensure the trustworthiness of the forensic sample results. Thirdly, mishandling of the samples by the technical team of the Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) is needed to reduce errors. The paper also presents various arguments that have been cited against forensic science evidence. The following argumentative paper examines the evidence of addressing the credibility and reliability of forensic science evidence and increasing the trustworthiness of the forensic science evidence.

Forensic sciences are responsible to support criminal allegations and the errors in results can lead to wrongful convictions. There is much different evidence that shows errors in the result and misinterpretations can result in a wrongful conviction. According to Ferraro, misjudgment of the DNA results led to the conviction of a man for 33 years. This implies that despite the high evidence that is presented through Forensic Science, some of the DNA sample's results were misinterpreted. However, it should be upheld that forensic evidence especially evidence that are derived from forensic science is critical for assisting in investigations. In addition, it should be noted that criminal activities have also been abated through misinterpretation of the forensic science results. The reliability of forensic science evidence wholly relies on various issues that are required to address the issue of trustworthiness of these forensic science data. Addressing various issues that have been presented in the argument against forensic science evidence will enable the restoration of trustworthiness (Garrett, 2020).

Forensic science has lost credibility as supporting evidence for the criminal investigation process. This is due to errors and inaccuracies that have been cited in some of the cases where this forensic evidence was used. Limiting the errors that have been cited on results such as leaving out some results from samples collected enable obtaining credited result (Laporte, 2018). Some effort has been made to increase the credibility of the result of samples obtained from the crime scene yet errors are still cited. This implies that errors need a deeper consideration of both the technicality and knowledge used in the collection, testing and interpretation of the result. Evidence shows that many errors have been persistent during the collection, testing and interpretation of the result of samples from the crime scene. This is clear as these allegations have shown some of the errors that have occurred in history leading to the wrongful conviction of some people. This can also be attributed to errors made by many people within the chain of sample collection, testing in the lab and subsequent interpretation of the result. Despite these errors, forensic science still provides a robust source of evidence that can be used by the investigator to convict criminals. This is based on various cases where forensic evidence has to provide substantive data for linking criminals to crime (Smirnova, Bebeshko, Omel’yanyuk, Usov & Khaziev, 2021).

The Role of Technicians in Assessing Results in Forensic Science

The unreliability has been cited based on some limited evidence and contamination or deterioration of DNA samples. The point of contention is the evidence that is used to link criminals to crime. For instance, Davies (2021), cites evidence of blood in the lumen as evidence of hydrogen peroxide. This can also be compared to the DNA samples from the scene of the crime that can deteriorate. This evidence is limited as compared to the beneficial results of forensic science that have been used to link criminals to crime scenes.  

The accuracy and validity of the results in forensic sciences are mainly based on technicians that are responsible for evaluating the evidence collected. This implies that the technical knowledge of these officials in charge of the collected samples from the crime scene carries the day. Some of the technical teams collecting the samples or evaluating results lack the technical skills to sufficiently evaluate the result and make a conclusion (Smirnova, Bebeshko, Omel’yanyuk, Usov & Khaziev, 2021). The accuracy and validity of the results of forensic science determine the accuracy of conviction. These results of the forensic science evidence are used to link criminals to crimes and this implies that the accuracy of the results may affect the outcome of the conviction. The inaccuracy of these results of the forensic samples may lead to wrongful convictions and errors in sentencing. Technicians are not enough to ascertain the credibility of the result of forensic science. Chemicals used in the testing of samples need to be credible to produce the result needed. Many research indicates the results of forensic science samples have lost credibility due to manipulation as evidence from misinterpretations (Garrett, 2020).

Articles and research indicate that not only does the mishandling of forensic science results present a challenge to linking criminals to crimes but much more is needed. The interpretation of the result presents a challenge to the issue of credibility and reliability of forensic science evidence. From the research by Laporte (2018), one can clearly understand the magnitude of mishandling of forensic science from the sample collected. The article indicates that mishandling can result in the deterioration of the sample hence producing inaccurate results. In this sense, the inaccuracy may lead to the dismissal of the case or wrongful conviction. Moreover, mishandling of the sample from the point of collection to the testing or result is evidence of errors that might occur in a criminal investigation. This implies that mishandling of these forensic samples has made the public lose trust in the Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS). The whole process needs to be re-examined not only from the technician's point but from the other components of the process such as the chemicals used. 

Mishandling and Manipulation of Forensic Science Evidence

Mishandling of samples is another area that has been used to set arguments against forensic science used in crime investigation. According to Gudjonsson, Gonzalez and Young (2021), the handling of samples, testing and interpretation of forensic samples cause suspicion of unreliability. Understanding the mishandling of samples requires a proper view of the whole process of sample collection, testing of samples and interpretation of results. Firstly, training forensic scientists in handling the sample are essential though goodwill is also essential. The goodwill of those involved in the whole process is required as proper training may be nullified through the misbehaviour of the technical team. Moreover, those involved in sample collection may decide to leave out essential evidence despite proper training. This implies that proper training only is not enough as the process depends on the ability of the Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) team to act in good faith. Secondly, testing chemicals are also needed for reliable results and this is also linked to the technical team using the chemicals. Handling of samples is linked to both team and the process of obtaining these sample results since the technical team could alter results despite the right chemicals. Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) need to ensure that evidence is not manipulated to help someone abate crime hence the safety of citizens (Smirnova, Bebeshko, Omel’yanyuk, Usov & Khaziev, 2021).

Despite the evidence that has been presented against the use of forensic science evidence in criminal investigation, addressing the reliability and credibility cannot be easily achieved. Firstly, various researches show that there are a lot of issues that regard sample collection, testing and interpretation of results that show credibility will remain an issue. This is based on the process taken by the Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) which appears flawed and will take time to correct. The point of argument can still be on the ability of the Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) to restore the reliability and credibility of its operations. The comprehensiveness of the whole process ranging from sample collection, testing of these samples and interpretation of these results require scrutiny to ensure no mishandling. Secondly, despite the call for training of the technicians to avoid mishandling of samples, the credibility and trustworthiness of the data from forensic evidence remain in doubt. Many governmental institutions in the criminal justice channel have lost hope in forensic science as a source of evidence. This implies that even with proper training of technicians they are most likely to mishandle the sample and result. Lastly, the accuracy is far from reaching due to technicians' handling the samples collected from the crime scene.

Rebuttal

In light of the analysis of the arguments presented within the paper, there is a need to addressing credibility and reliability of forensic science evidence to increase the level of trustworthiness. Training of the Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) team to improve the handling of samples act as the error reduction procedure, especially technicians have enough knowledge to handle samples. This should also be coupled with the ability of these technicians to provide reliable data that is not manipulated. These steps will ensure the restoration of credibility, accuracy and trustworthiness of the results of samples to ensure the accurate conviction of criminals. However, there is a need for reducing the errors that have been incurred in the whole process to ensure that evidence deduced from the process is credible and accurate.

In conclusion, addressing the reliable impression of evidence, especially forensic science’s effectiveness and perceived trustworthiness requires understanding. Much evidence has been presented to show the lack of credibility in the results obtained after analysis of the samples collected from the crime scene. Mishandling of these samples and result is critical for errors that have seen the wrongful conviction of criminals. This implies that there is a need for proper sample collection, testing and interpretation of the sample results. Moreover, lack of training for technicians on the handling of samples to ensure the accuracy and credibility of the result of samples. There is a need to increase the trustworthiness of the results of samples by increasing technicians' training and the credibility of the whole process. This is essential for ensuring that the safety of citizens is guaranteed and the trustworthiness of the whole process.

References

Davies, E. (2021, Oct 18). D.C. will embark on review of convictions. The Washington Post https://ezproxy.umgc.edu/login?url=https://www-proquescom.ezproxy.umgc.edu/newspapers/d-c-will-embark-on-review-convictions/docview/2582667653/se-2?accountid=145

Ferraro, M. A. (n.d.). How reliable is forensic science: Michael A. Ferraro, Esq., P.C.: Orange County New York. Retrieved March 3, 2022,  from https://www.orangecountynycriminallaw.com/articles/how-reliable-is-forensic-  science/ 

Garrett, B. L. (January 13, 2020). Wrongful Convictions. Annual Review of Criminology. 3 (1): 245–259. doi:10.1146/annurev-criminol-011518-024739.

Gudjonsson, G.H., Gonzalez, R.A. & Young, S. (March 1, 2021). The Risk of Making False Confessions: The Role of Developmental Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Psychiatric Symptoms, and Compliance. Journal of Attention Disorders. 25 (5): 715–723. doi:10.1177/1087054719833169.

Laporte, G. (2018). Wrongful conviction and DNA exoneration: Understanding the role of forensic science. National Institute of justice journal, 279, 1-16.

Reliability and validity of Wiley Online Library. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://rss.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1740-9713.2019.01250.x 

Smirnova, S. A., Bebeshko, G. I., Omel’yanyuk, G. G., Usov, A. I., & Khaziev, S. N. (2021). Developing Evidentiary Foundation Based on Assessment of Forensic Results. Inorganic Materials, 57(14), 1431-1439.  https://doiorg.ezproxy.umgc.edu/10.1134/S0020168521140107 

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