Date Approved

7-11-2014

Date Posted

1-13-2015

Degree Type

Campus Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Committee Member

Marilyn Corsianos, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Kristine Ajrouch, PhD

Committee Member

Gregg Barak, PhD

Abstract

This quantitative-qualitative study explores the relationships between three dimensions of forensic science misconduct - malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance harms - at the individual (micro) and organizational (meso) systems of analysis. These relationships raise important, unexplored questions about the integrity and efficacy of forensic evidence and the credibility of the forensic expert and organization. The theoretical application relies on an integration of the organizational justice and bad barrel maker perspectives. An online survey explored forensic science professionals' (n = 156) attitudes about and experiences with forensic science misconduct, organizational justice, and credentialing standards. The findings imply malfeasance type misconduct is the most prevalent form of misconduct, yet respondents perceive malfeasance as the least prevalent. Furthermore, correlation analyses express significant relationships between forensic science misconduct at the micro and meso levels of analysis. Results suggest at the micro level, influences and social constructs are more significant than meso level inadequacies, skill sets, and resources. Conversely, attitudes about justice suggest a meso level association, such that as attitudes about justice (meso level) increase, less agreement exists at the influences and social micro levels. Finally, respondents do not favor certification standards that dictate guidelines for testimony, examinations, and hiring.

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