The Use and Misuse of High-Tech Evidence by Prosecutors: Ethical and Evidentiary Issues
40 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2014 Last revised: 30 Jun 2014
Date Written: December 1, 2007
This essay will focuses on prosecutors’ use of complex technological and scientific evidence in the form of computer-generated and DNA evidence. With both types of evidence, there is a danger that the jury will be unduly swayed by the scientific nature of the evidence and consider it infallible proof of the accused’s guilt. One of the challenges our system faces is to ensure that this highly technical evidence is presented in a fair and evenhanded manner that does not embellish or exaggerate its true worth.
This essay first addresses the ethical and evidentiary standards for the emerging use of high-tech computer-generated animations and computer-assisted closing arguments. Next, this essay considers the same questions within the context of forensic DNA evidence. Third, this essay considers the ethics of prosecutors’ use of such evidence and the consequences for the misuse of this evidence. Finally, this essay suggests remedies to ethical problems facing prosecutors in their use of this kind of evidence.
Keywords: criminal procedure, trial practice, trial advocacy, prosecutors, prosecutorial misconduct, professional responsibility, legal ethics, CGI, computer-generated evidence, demonstrative evidence, forensics, DNA
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation