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1 Capstone Paper Name Saint Leo University: CRJ 548 Professor Name Date 2 Abstract This paper discusses the fundamental impact of ethics on forensic investigations, indeed, it elaborates on its importance in protecting people’s rights, maintaining the integrity of evidence, and bolstering the public’s trust on institutions of criminal justice. Giving priority to data and experiences from various research sources, this paper tackles fundamental issues of ethical research, ethical concerns common in practice, and recommendations that could support ethical conduct. A profound inspection of this concept delivers a striking result. It is clear that ethical contemplations are not only critical to the investigation process but also essential for providing credibility and effectiveness to the law enforcement. 3 Thesis Statement Upholding ethical standards during investigations is vital to maintaining individual rights, maintaining the integrity of evidence, and upholding public trust in the criminal justice system, which plays a crucial role in preserving societal order. Introduction The base of any solid criminal investigation can be found not only in the pursuit of the truth but also in the ethical principles serving as the foundation of the investigation. Ethics provide the moral framework that helps to steer the delicate path across the crime scene field and, consequently, makes sure that justice that is ‘blind’ is not only served but seems to be served. While going in for this investigative ethics theme, we understand that ethical standards are not merely precepts to be honored but actually vital principles for the whole sustainable functioning system. To begin with, the fact that ethics in investigation cannot be overemphasized needs no stating. It serves as something above the covers of statutes and procedural rules and becomes the governing principle in every step of the investigational process. The ethics act as the foundation of the solidity and reputation construction of police agencies as well as the whole criminal justice system. They provide the vital infrastructure that both seeks to protect against infringement of individual rights, preserves the sanctity of evidence, and safeguards fairness and impartiality. In the times of great technological innovations, multiple societal complexities, and complex legal frameworks, ethical behaviours in investigations is an undeniable need. Digital age has given people a great deal of technological suggests and pitfalls such as the development of surveillance technologies and the permanence of the social media everywhere. In such a 4 setting, Ethical ramifications of investigative practices tend to become more salient while the investigators are required to move in a complex web with new dimensions of moral challenges. On top of this, the ethics of criminal justice stands out as the prime inference. Ethics set the values that lead justice investigations to honest resolutions to address the valid rights of everyone involved – other than suspects and victims, also witnesses and the community in general. They serve as the ethical framework that allows researchers to operate based on them and the results of these studies are conducted on the basis of permissibility as well as fairness and justice (Forensic Investigation Handbook, 2005). Further investigation into the theoretical constructs, ethical impasse, and technical matters of the crime scene investigation show that ethics is not a mere discipline on paper but a concrete issue with earthshaking consequences for the achievement of justice. Through exploring the ethical underpinnings of investigative procedures and navigating through the ethical challenges that inevitably arise in the course of an investigation, we develop profound understanding of how the ethical concerns, the legal system and the concept of justice operate in our society. Consequently, the role of morals in the investigations is beyond just the observance of the rules and regulations as indeed it is the embodiment of justice itself. It is the guarantee that every action is grounded on the principles of honesty and fairness. In the world where the scales of justice must be equal, the ethics serves to be the guardian of societal order, providing to be the monitors of investigations and defending the trust that the public has in the criminal justice system. 5 Overview of the Role of Ethics in Criminal Justice Introduction to Ethics in the Huguenot Justice System Ethics is seeping through all aspects of criminal justice system and plays the role of the solid pillar which holds the well-functioning justice administration. Their significance, of course, goes beyond just a ritual that we have to adhere to rules, many times the specified justice in the rules is what they signify. The basis of the ethics in criminal justice is the principle to safeguard the rights of all nationals during all of the stages of the judicial process. From beginning to the end, i.e. from the initial investigation and arrest to the subsequent trial and sentencing, ethical practices are key factor that keeps away abusive use of power and violations of human rights. Ethical norms make a great difference between what constitutes justice and fairness in a society according to law. Complying with ethical code, the police officials, and lawyers apply those principles to serve and ensure that everyone regardless of his or her background or case is treated respectfully, with dignity, and equally. Ethical conduct works as a base of trust the criminal justice system builds on to cement the relationship with the community. Besides, it is the trustability that guarantees the cooperation, fairness and trustworthiness, which makes society logically stable. Another important aspect is that the ethical conduct is not just the ethical thing to do, but the practical way to the realization of the goals of the criminal justice system. Ethical practices act as some form of guarantee to preservation of evidence integrity, reliability to witness testimony and credibility to legal proceedings. Their role is to prevent the possibility of a wrongful conviction, miscarriage of justice, and the police force losing the public trust. The 6 moral dimension of ethical conduct does not only happen to be a desirable asset but is an must have for the system of criminal justice to efficiently function. Foundational Principles of Ethical Investigations The background of the crime scene investigation, the key pillars of ethics, is the fundament on which the integrity of the entire process lays. At the forefront of these principles is the imperative for investigators to uphold high standards of professionalism in their behavior. Implementation of this measure necessitates their involvement and consistency in the performance of their responsibilities. Just as Covalciuciu (2023) highlights, with technology progressing which is leading to scene investigations being more dynamic, the investigators must have all the necessary proficiency and expertise to deal with the difficult to investigate scenes. Competence, hence, loses the feeling of a preferred trait and becomes the first and foremost of tasks the implementing of which allow achieving efficiency and credibility of investigations. The uphold of a high standard of integrity in the process of investigation has the role of consolidating the public and the justice trust and confidence. The continued dedication to absolute openness and clarity in all activities and communications is seen as the key to this. Developing the point emphasized by Miller and Gordon (2014), ethical acts are based on the ultimate demands of truthfulness and transparency which should form the foundation of research activities and make them in line with the principles of fairness. On the other hand, enquirers have to guard themselves against any conflicts of interest, a great part of this is as reviewed by Ajayi (2018). The neutrality and impartiality of the investigative process depend on the noninvolvement of emotional biases or personal interests that could result in the investigation being compromised or the right of those involved be overlooked. 7 In general, the ethical core of investigations reflects the major importance of professionalism, competence, integrity and transparency throughout the investigation process. Complying with such principles, however, goes beyond being obligatory but an elemental requirement in the professional arena trusted for the credibility, effectiveness, and legitimacy of the justice system at large. As the guardians of justice, investigators have a seriously solemn duty to do justice to themselves and uphold these ethical principles in order to build integrity and impartiality of the justice system as well as the protection of the rights of all those engaged in the investigative process. In the aspect of criminal scene inquiry, the moral duty of respecting the rights and dignity of offenders, victims and witnesses are central aspects in the investigation process. Generally, Osman, Gabriel and Hamzah (2021) has explained ethical investigative conduct to involve collection of evidence and going beyond to safeguard the rights of all individuals undergoing the investigative process without discrimination. Central to his proposition is the concept of the right to privacy, which is in a way expounded by Ajayi (2018). The right to privacy is another important element to individual freedoms and the protection of persons` affairs leaving a private territory as well as ensuring the retention of personal information secure. Investigators bear the heavy burden of their right to respect and guarantee the observance of this law during investigation activities rather with the observance of suspects’, victims’, and witnesses’ privacy and dignity. Covalciuc (2023) raises a challenging issue of how far the authorities can go in amassing evidence to bring justice while observing the boundaries of privacy and self-determination of human beings, by upholding their dignity and human rights. 8 Transparency and accountability are essential characteristics of ethical conduct in crime scene investigations and they are the marks of open, honest, and integrity ways of doing things in any part of the investigative process. Mentioned by the study of Miller and Gordon (2014), researchers should showcase the methods by which they gather the evidence, and the analysis, compromising all the decision-making process without any uncertainty. Documenting their work fully is, essentially, the core requirement in this principle as suggested by Bowen (2017). Documentation acts as a major evidentiary source that clearly and accurately depicts all the investigative steps taken including decision making, collecting evidence as well as tracking all the actions taken. Through scrupulously recording their deeds, investigators do not only avoid discrepancy and dishonesty creation but also help make the process transparent and accessible. Another crucial part is that investigators are not only responsible for the investigation of crimes, but also, as mentioned by Ranga and Singh (2021). Accountability acts as the guarantor of lawfulness and justice, since the officers in charge of investigating a crime cannot be involved in the process, but their actions and decisions are checked. Through adherence to accountability, officers of the investigation bring the faith and trustworthiness of the whole process of investigation and law enforcement activities to top level. Respecting the integrity of the individuals and their rights, and ensuring the transparency and accountability, are the basic ethical principles of crime scene investigation which are the functions of crime scene investigations. Besides being a moral imperative, these principles constitute an ethical responsibility with the aim to keep investigative process credible and effective and maintain its legitimacy (Bowen, 2017).As law enforcement officers, investigators, carry a heavy duty of ethics, this must be done with high degree of accuracy and fairness, thus, making sure that justice is administered fairly and the right of the people involved are protected 9 as well. Ethical Issues in Investigations From the outset through to the end, ethics are involved in the investigative process in many aspects, giving the investigators a wide range of issues and problems that need to be resolved by acting consistently with the ethical principles. The ethical dilemma that the researchers might be facing in huge scope is the use of force, which has numerous arguments in both the academic and law enforcement circles. As developed by Schanck et al (2018), the use of force represents the tipping between the two sides of the scale: on the one hand, the necessity and safety during the investigation and, on the other hand, the ethical rule of respect for the basic rights of individuals. The ethical considerations of the use of force are endorsed by the fact that all the investigative actions are conducted in a proportionate and justified action, as mentioned in work of Covalciuc (2023). Inspectoral figures would be under great pressure to handle quickly situations that may require deploying of force and yet should be constantly ready to prevent the misuse or unjustified use of force. Such a task, therefore, demands a deeply reasoned comprehension of ethical principles that underpin the use of force and a resoluteness about following these principles in practice as well. Thus, there is a certain principle of proportionality used in this context: the implementation of the use of force should be proportional to the threat faced and the urgency of the situation. Gardner and Krouskup (2018) pointed out, detectives must observe caution, and prudence, ensuring that the force used is, indeed, required and proportionate to the situation in question. Also, it is important that the investigators comply with the existing policies and guidelines on the legitimacy of the usage of extreme powers, hence the risk of extreme or 10 unintended force is minimized. The use of force raises ethical issues, besides the interrogation methods that are considered as the ethical problems surrounding the investigatory process. Methods of interrogation that obligate the extraction of information and convictions eventually meet ethical difficulties and necessitate the monitoring and examination. As stated by Miller and Gordon (2014), the interviewing procedure must abide by rigorous ethical principles in order that the confessions are voluntarily obtained and reliable by no means through coercion or manipulation. Central to the sense of ethical interrogation is the concept of volunteerism, which sets up the guidelines that interrogation and confessions must be free of coercion or any kind of inducement. Ajayi (2018) asserts that any tactics used must honor the suspect’s autonomy and agency. This way, confessions and statements obtained are the direct result of the free will and the suspect’s true intention. The investigators have to avoid such coercive and manipulative techniques which are likely to spoil the integrity of interrogation process, and the evidence as a result turns to be invalid. Interrogation techniques must be guided by the principals of fairness and equality to make sure that every person is accorded due process and treated in a humane way even during the investigative phase. This brings about a demand for a transparent, and an accountable regimen during interrogations, as advocated by Osman, Gabriel, and Hamzah (2021).By engendering difficult discussions on the issue of how force is used or the methods of interrogation, these issues form the crucial problems of the investigation process and should be considered in a principled manner. Through maintaining ethical standards and principles, a professional investigator can feel safe in the knowledge that his actions are performed objectively, honesty and with due respect to the rights and dignity of each person 11 concerned. Ethical conduct is not only a moral obligation but also is one of the professional principles, which distinguishes a good investigator from a bad one. It is an essential element of a legitimate and effective investigation process. Gathering evidence and examining witnesses in criminal investigations raises serious ethical questions which always touch upon questions of privacy and sensitivity of the issues under consideration. Indeed, data collection usually involves getting into the off-limits area of one’s personal information and sensitive data, which becomes an issue of ethics since confidentiality is often violated (Ranga and Singh, 2021). In present time where technological and digital forensics operations are fast evolving, investigators are commonly required to overcome complicated legal and ethical questions regarding the collection and employment of individuals’ personal data. Being the basis of these ethical concerns is the principle of privacy, which provides that individuals intrinsically have the power to dictate on access to their personal information and data. As stressed by Covalciuc (2023), investigators should be very mindful and keep themselves away from unjustified access onto personal information with the sole purpose of ensuring that any violation of the private life of an individual would be justified by legitimate investigative goals and be conducted in conformance to relevant legal and ethical principles. Furthermore, members of the investigation team are expected to adhere to protocols and the established procedures governing the acquisition, treatment and safe storage of personal data and protect the risk of unauthorized access or misuse (Ranga & Singh, 2021). Ethical dilemmas inevitably arise during these proceedings which are conducted as a part of investigations. The searches have to be operated under Ajayi’s (2018) guidance who emphasizes respect for the rights of an individual while maintaining the evidence crucial for the 12 investigation. Law enforcement officers must always make correct decisions, according to law, and taking into consideration all the standard and safeguards procedures. Furthermore, experts may need to be aware of the fact that their intervention capability of the personal privacy rights of the accused and to take the necessary steps to reduce the intrusion or disturbance. Investigators are often confronted with difficult decisions regarding the disclosure of information obtained during the course of an investigation. As noted by Miller and Gordon (2014), investigators must strike a delicate balance between the imperative to disclose relevant information to relevant stakeholders, such as prosecutors and defense attorneys, and the need to protect sensitive information that may compromise the integrity of the investigation or jeopardize the safety of individuals involved. This necessitates a complex understanding of the ethical principles governing transparency, accountability, and confidentiality, as well as a commitment to upholding these principles in practice. Conclusion To summarize, the base of investigations conduct and judiciary performance is ethical behaviorism. This paper addresses various sides of the crime scene investigations’ ethical intricacies, acknowledging the crucial role they play in observing people’s rights, ensuring the validity of evidence and building public trust towards law enforcement agencies and the judicial system. Promoting ethics, first of all, should be stressed as one of the top priorities in investigations. Regardless of the verdict, adherence to ethical standards serves justice while at the same time avoiding the appearance of injustice, thus enforcing the perception of fairness and integrity of the criminal justice system. As brought out explicitly by scholars and practitioners such as Osman, Gabriel, and Hamzah (2021), ethical conduct is a frail basis from where the reliability and effectiveness of investigations stem. The absence of ethical principles will affect 13 the quality and fairness of an investigation that may end up being riddled with bias, misconduct and injustice resulting in a nullified democratic society ruled by the rule of law. In the future, law enforcement agencies should ensure that agency policies and procedures emphasize ethics training for their officers. The policymakers and other justice system stakeholders should make ethics in criminal investigation a priority. This demands multilateral strategy which includes trainings, oversight, accountability mechanisms and reforms aiming at establishing the system formed on integrity, transparency and professionalism (Standard et al.).Another way is the provision of state-of-the-art training courses, which should not only be of technical nature but also address the ethical aspects the officials must abide by. As recommended by Miller, et al. (2014), it is the ongoing education and training in ethical decision-making, conflict resolution, and cultural competency which could help the investigators to do a good job professionally in the field. Establishing an atmosphere of transparency and accountability within law enforcement agencies are the key factors that will be responsible for the rebuilding of public trust and confidence. This calls for keeping open lines of communication, encouraging feedback from the public, and actively observance of which processes and outcomes are put out to the public. In conclusion then, ethics, a discipline of practical and deep understanding rather than a mere theory, converge on the principle that the right and might of crime scene investigations lies on how well they are done. In view of this, exploiting ethical principles and incorporating a culture of accountability and integrity is the best way law enforcement can uphold high standards of integrity and serve justice to all people in an impartial and equitable manner. 14 References Ajayi, O. A. (2018). Crime Scene and Forensic Investigation: Basics of Tunnel Vision on Interrogation Process. Malthouse Press. An Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation. (2016). United States: Jones & Bartlett Learning. Bowen, R. T. (2017). What Is Ethics?. In Ethics and the Practice of Forensic Science (pp. 1-20). CRC Press. Covalciuc, I. (2023). Crime Scene – Challenges and Solutions. Romanian Journal of Forensic Science, 134, 138–143. Forensic Investigation Handbook. (2005). The Forensic Examiner, 14(3), 60. https://link-galecom.saintleo.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/A135662760/PPCJ?u=sain11218&sid=bookmarkPPCJ&xid=bc736828 Gardner, R. M., & Krouskup, D. (2018). Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation (3rd ed.). Taylor & Francis. https://reader2.yuzu.com/books/9781351692373 Miller, S., & Gordon, I. A. (2014). Investigative ethics: Ethics for police detectives and criminal investigators. John Wiley & Sons. Osman, K., Gabriel, G. F., & Hamzah, N. H. (2021). Crime scene investigation issues: Present issues and future recommendations. Jurnal Undang-Undang dan Masyarakat, 28, 3. Ranga, P. D., & Singh, Y. (2021). Expert Opinion at Crime Scene: An Overview. Indian Journal of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, 15(3). 15 Standard, D., Witness, E., Test, F., & Doyle, A. C. Ethics in Crime Scene Investigation.

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