Most of us know wrong from right. At least, we understand standard societal norms, and that punishments exist for doing things that are wrong. Punishments for unethical conduct as an expert witness can contain jail time or fines. Less severe ethical breaches can lead to inadmissible testimony, the loss of your reputation, and the loss of future jobs.
If the side that selected you represents the proverbial ‘bad guy,’ then your work may help the wrong side, at least from an ethical or moral perspective. You may feel better about helping the right side, but your investigations and analyses should remain the same regardless of the side you represent. Your goal is to determine the pluses and minuses that you learn from your tests or research and inform your retaining attorney. Your investigations and analyses should help guide the attorneys who hired you toward better legal decisions. Let them decide the best way to use your findings.
Frequently, you will not know whose side in a case has more merit until you’ve reviewed the documents and can come to firm opinions about what has happened. sometimes, you’ll discover that defendants have lied to their attorney. sometimes, you may discover that a District Attorney has based his prosecution on evidence that a police investigator has misrepresented. In both scenarios, objectively analyzing the technical evidence will enable you to set the attorneys right. In the preliminary phases of the case, your work can help to guide the attorney. Later in the case, your work can help the court to reach a just verdict.
You must be aware of these ethical issues in your dealings with Lawyers and the legal system. The more quickly you recognize ethical pressures, the easier it will be to resist them and become a better expert witness.