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Motherisk Case Summary

Decent Essays
The article discussing the Motherisk cases looks at the analysis of testing human hair to detect exposure to drugs (1). The hair involves an initial treatment prior to actual testing in an attempt to release the drug concentrate within the hair, which is done by most laboratories using sensitive screening techniques such as liquid-liquid or solid-phase extraction prior to the actual procedure (2). It is highly important think about the chemicals being used when attempting to extract a certain drug and the reaction that can occur. This is crucial to the incubation process and failure to do so can have inaccurate results (2). Testing of the hair is supposed to be able to identify the history of drug or alcohol use that in turn raises issues about…show more content…
This method of testing is often used by agencies in child protection cases where in Canada many parents cannot provide the sufficient means to attain their own experts to conduct tests making sure due process occurs (1). There have been many reported issues in countries such as Canada, Europe and the United States because many of these laboratories did not all follow/ maintain standardized guidelines that should have been put in place to maintain a proper chain of custody (1,2,7). In the Motherisk case and many cases worldwide, there have been ample debates of the cleaning method of the hair and whether this step even needs to be taken (2). Issues pertaining to the environmental factors exist, because your hair follicles just walking down the street can be attracted to drugs being smoked in the air, this being said it can easily be transmitted without the need for indigestion (9). It is even more difficult to test infants in these child protection cases because their hair falls out and regrows so quickly compared to that of an adult (2). Issues on the scale for assessing the amount of drugs in the hair can be crucial in cases, and there is no international recognized method for this (1). For example, after multiple cases the Motherisk laboratory created their own basis for establishing low versus high exposure to drugs (1). Furthermore,…show more content…
If flaws in testing techniques become noticeable and extreme action is not taken to control these issues, society will begin to test the validity of “forensics” as a whole. Referring back to the Motherisk case where a lack of education and professionalism took place, people began to question the science of hair testing and the reliability of investigators, and because of this many cases involving this particular laboratory had to be reevaluated (1). Employees in the Motherisk case were not informed that they were considered expert witnesses in the cases they took part in, and part of their job was to also maintain a bias free work zone, these are crucial mistakes which can lead the way for many wrongful convictions (1). The Motherisk case also demonstrated the importance of judges playing an important role in raising issues of reliability of evidence where people in question simply cannot afford it (1). Prior to final decisions judges should have all the evidence regarding the specimen of hair and the pros and cons of assessing this as a valid science (1). Only the best sciences should ever be considered in the courts. In the courts “hard science” should always be picked rather than a “soft science” because it is scientific proof (1). Hair follicle testing may one day become one of the easiest methods of testing, and will allow
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