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The Need for Change in Forensic Practice

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The last two decades have witnessed a significant increase in accusations and a number of legal actions taken against forensic professionals due to violation of various provisions as stipulated in the code of conduct regulation in relation to forensic experts’ practices. Despite the revision of the standards of conduct and incorporation of heavy fines as well as other disciplinary measures, the prevalence of forensic malpractice has remained relatively high. A large number of legal cases involving damages incurred by plaintiffs due to negligence of forensic experts confirms the need for revaluation of rules and policies that would regulate forensic practice. Forensic malpractices develop due to irresponsibility on actions defined within the elements of expert malpractice. In this regard, legal actions against a forensic expert may be fuelled by lack of duty fulfillment he/she owes a plaintiff (Mozayani & Carla 204). Breach of duty incorporated within the expert-plaintiff relationship may arise due to negligence or an act of omission. Furthermore, a forensic expert is guilty of a malpractice if his or her actions caused various forms of damage to a plaintiff. As long as a plaintiff can provide substantial evidence relating to unprofessional conduct of a forensic expert in matters of his/her opinion, test, examination and in providing a testimony, a plaintiff can seek compensation for the resulting damages.

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Causation of damage due to negligence and acts of omission are the key issues of concern in forensic malpractice. Causation of damage deals with the analysis of the relationship between the actions of a forensic expert and the injuries a complainant incurs. Allowance of compensation, in this case, considers the significance of breach of expert-complainant relationship due the actions of a forensic expert that disregard the welfare and rights of a complainant. The expert’s testimony is rather significant in the evaluation of such causation. This testimony relies on the individual research of a forensic professional without requiring other experts to substantiate his or he findings.

Errors due to omission during the analysis of forensic data and materials alter reliability of forensic findings as well. Facts prove that negligence in the opinion evidence and testimony of a forensic expert are responsible for conviction, and incarceration of a significantly large number of innocent people suspected of criminal acts. Some forensic organizations have suffered great financial losses due to malpractices that place them liable for compensating complainants for injuries incurred, and the costs involved in the investigation of the conduct of a professional involved in such malpractice. In addition, the abovementioned compensation charges may include attorney fees and similar expenses.

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In order to tackle the issue of bias, forensic investigations should adopt an approach whereby the findings of an individual undergo thorough evaluation to determine the factualness of the data gathered and analyzed. This evaluation should entail the determination of instances of negligence and errors of omission as specified in the code of conduct. In this regard, forensic results used to determine the legal liability of an individual or organization should emanate from a panel of forensic experts responsible for evaluating individual findings. Furthermore, in order to avoid bias, investigators should analyze potential criminals and events according to the principles of equality. Gender, race, religion and other social factors that can be associated with certain stereotypes must be avoided.

Despite the fact that investigators believe DNA forensics is one of the most accurate means of conducting investigations, instances of forensic malpractice tend to occur since this method relies on the analysis of about 0.1 per cent of DNA that is unique in every person (Pyrek 316). To eliminate the flaws associated with DNA forensics, I would recommend the use of larger sample sizes of DNA materials. It is important to divide these sample sizes into smaller units that forensic experts can analyze individually. In addition, these quantities will tackle the problem of DNA mix-ups by providing backup samples. This will facilitate the realization of consistent results and minimize errors.

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