This work will draw upon the expertise of the editors as authors and various contributors in order to present several different perspectives with the goal of approaching and understanding when ethical lines are crossed. In order to achieve this goal, comparisons of various canons of ethics from related fields such as medicine, law, the military, science and politics will be examined and applied. Case studies will be presented throughout to illustrate ethical dilemmas and challenge the reader with the goal of greater understanding.

Key Features

* First book to comprehensively address ethics in forensics beyond the laboratory
* Real-life cases presented involving unethical behavior to illustrate concepts
* Discusses ethical considerations while delineating opinion from fact in testimony
* Places forensic ethics within the canons of the legal and medical systems


Primary: Forensic professionals (i.e. pathologists, scientists, researchers, practitioners)
Secondary: Law enforcement professionals (i.e. police, crime scene investigators, police academies / training), academia (i.e. criminalistics courses, police science, forensic science, law & science)
Tertiary: Legal professionals, those preparing to be an expert witness

Table of Contents

1. A Brief History of Ethics
Jennifer Downs

2. The Forensic Practitioner’s Quest for Truth
Fr. William Willoughby, III, Sister Elena Thompson, and J.C. Upshaw Downs

3. General Forensic Ethical Dilemmas
Jay A. Siegel

4. Codes of Ethics in Forensic Science Societies:  The Organizational Parameters of Morality and Conduct
Kenneth E. Melson

5. Ethical Foundations for SANE Practice
Linda E. Ledray and Susan Chasson

6. Ethics Codes in Other Organizations: Structures and Enforcement
J.C. Upshaw Downs and Anjali Ranadive Swienton

7. Teaching Ethics
Max M. Houck and Robin T. Bowen

8. Ethics in Law Enforcement; Defining the Thin Blue Line
Fred E. Stephens

9. Criminal Investigational Ethics
James Markey

10. Ethics in the Crime Laboratory and in Crime Scene Investigations
Barry A.J. Fisher

11. Ethics for Child Abuse Prosecutors – A Call to Leadership
Rachelle L. Carnesale

12. Ethical Duties of Attorneys and Experts in Cases Involving Forensic Evidence, from the Perspective of the Defense
Andrea Roth

13. Ethics in Testimony
Joseph P. Bono, Anjali Ranadive Swienton and J.C. Upshaw Downs

14. Judicial Ethics
Haskell M. Pitluck

15. The Post-Conviction Process - From the Perspective of the Convicted
Anjali Ranadive Swienton and J.C. Upshaw Downs

16. Whistle Blowers
J.C. Upshaw Downs

17. Ethics in Media
Anjali Ranadive Swienton and J.C. Upshaw Downs


No. of pages:
© 2012
Academic Press
Print ISBN:
Electronic ISBN:

About the authors

J.C. Upshaw Downs

Affiliations and Expertise

Coastal Regional Medical Examiner, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Savannah, Georgia, and forensX LLC, Medicolegal Consultants and Training, Savannah, Georgia, USA

Anjali Ranadive Swienton

Affiliations and Expertise

SciLawForensics, Ltd., State College, PA, USA


"Downs, a medical examiner and consultant, and Swienton, a forensic attorney and consultant, provide forensic and criminal justice practitioners, crime scene investigators and photographers, law enforcement training centers, police academies and local agencies, and forensic consultants and scientists with a guide to ethics in forensic science. It contains 17 chapters by forensic science, law, and other specialists from the US who discuss the history of ethics, provide brief synopses of major theorists, and address topics like the religious perspective of applied ethics in forensics; general ethical dilemmas; codes of ethics in forensic science societies and other organizations (education, business, religion, medicine, etc.); the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner model; teaching ethics; criminal investigation, crime lab and crime scene, and judicial ethics; the post-conviction process; whistleblowers; and ethics in law enforcement, for child abuse prosecutors and defense attorneys, in testimony of forensic practitioners, and in media."--Reference and Research Book News, Inc.

"This book attempts to answer the question: "When is ethical, ethical, and when is it not?" Its contributors write on topics such as general forensic ethical dilemmas; codes of ethics as spelled out by forensic science societies; ethics in SANE practice; how to teach ethics; ethics in law enforcement, criminal investigations, crime laboratories, and crime scene investigations; and ethics for attorneys, prosecutors, and expert witnesses."--Evidence Technology Magazine, July-August 2012, page 4