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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: Written by three authors with significant clinical experience in forensics, this book highlights the differences in the goals and objectives of the legal system and the individuals providing expert testimony.
Purpose: It is common to face ethical and moral dilemmas when working in forensics. The authors present their arguments to use an approach called aspirational ethics to assist those involved in this area in maintaining the highest ethical standards.
Audience: The primary audience includes practitioners in all areas of forensics. The book could also be useful for individuals involved in advanced training in the area of forensics, as well as those studying in the field of ethics.
Features: The first of six chapters centers on historical perspectives of forensics, while the second offers 10 case examples that require thoughtful consideration and are meant to provoke discussion. Chapters three through five again use case examples to provide a more detailed analysis of ethical theories, integrity, and professionalism, while the final chapter (the longest and, perhaps, the most useful for those called to testify), addresses ethical reasoning as it relates to expert testimony. Appendixes include ethical codes for multiple forensic organizations.
Assessment: Even after working in the field for years, it is common for forensics practitioners to encounter situations with which they have no experience or frame of reference. And while there is no book available that can possibly address each individual question arising when practicing forensics, this book's goal of teaching practitioners the art of reasoning through these difficult questions is both appropriate and worthy. The case examples in this book are brief but considerably challenging, and frequently give rise to subjects many forensic experts might have never considered. This book is an excellent addition to the field, and is a valuable resource for a practitioner's library.