Home Education Ethics and the Practice of Forensic Science
Oregon State Police Crime Laboratory
Nika Larsen was a forensic scientist and crime scene investigator for the Oregon State Police Crime Laboratory convicted of stealing drugs from the laboratory. Between January 2013 and August 2015, Larsen stole pills from more than 50 pieces of evidence (Augenstein, 2016). Though she would conduct the proper procedures and determine case results, she would then abuse her access to the evidence by going back, stealing pills, and replacing them with over-the-counter substitutes knowing that the evidence would most likely not be retested. The investigation at the laboratory showed evidence tampering and missing evidence.
The impact of Larsen’s actions includes a review of more than 2,500 cases, hundreds of cases that need to be retried, and nearly 100 pending cases that have been thrown out due to the circumstances.
Abuse of Power
Massachusetts State Crime Laboratory (Amherst)
Sonja Farak was a chemist at the Massachusetts State Crime Laboratory in Amherst who was found guilty of theft of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence, and possession of a class B substance (AG of MA). Farak mixed drug evidence samples with counterfeit drugs to cover her theft, as well as stole samples from other evidence and reference samples. Investigators also found controlled substances at her workstation and in her personal vehicle. Upon conviction, Farak also admitted to being high almost daily for eight years while she worked cases in the laboratory and testified in court.
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