Code of Ethics
ARTICLE EIGHT ETHICS
SECTION 1 — CODE OF ETHICS
A. The ultimate goal of the Association member should be an objective assessment and evaluation of the crime scene and/or evidence collected and/or all additional data or information utilized in a review or reconstruction.
B. Every member of the Association shall refrain from any misrepresentation of education, experience, training, areas of expertise or membership status.
C. Every member of the Association shall refrain from misrepresenting data upon which an opinion or conclusion is based.
D. Any member of the Association shall first obtain written authority from the Board of Directors to issue any statements or create published material that may appear to represent the position of the Association.
E. No member of the Association shall exhibit professional or personal conduct adverse to the best interests or purposes of the Association or to the field of crime scene investigative or forensic community.
SECTION 2 — ETHICS COMPLAINT PROCESS
A. Any complaint must be submitted to the President in writing.
B. Any complaint is to include facts, circumstances, and any other material facts in support of the complaint alleging that a violation(s) of the Code of Ethics has occurred.
C. The Ethics Chairperson shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint by certified mail to the individual submitting the complaint hereafter known as the complainant.
D. Upon receipt of the complaint, the President and the Chairperson of the Ethics Committee will evaluate the complaint to determine if there are sufficient grounds for an investigation. The Chairperson may request the complainant to provide additional or clarifying information to ascertain the nature and circumstances of the alleged violation.
E. If it is determined by the Ethics Chairperson and President that the complaint does not allege a violation(s) of the Code of Ethics and hence no violation has been reported, the complaint shall be dismissed. The complainant will be notified in writing of the dismissal. The member who is the subject of the complaint, hereafter known as the respondent, shall be notified that a complaint was made, the nature of the complaint, and that the complaint was dismissed. The respondent shall not be advised of the identity of the complainant.
F. If it is determined by the Ethics Chairperson and the President that a violation(s) of the Code of Ethics may have occurred, the Ethics Committee will conduct an investigation. The Ethics Chairperson will immediately notify the respondent by certified mail of the filing of the complaint and provide a copy of the complaint and all materials submitted with the complaint.
G. The respondent shall be advised that he/she must submit, within thirty (30) days of the mailing notice, a written reply and any documents the respondent desires to have considered by the Ethics Committee during the investigation. Failure to respond will be taken as an acknowledgement of the fact(s) as stated in the complaint.
H. After the expiration of the reply period of the respondent, the Ethics Committee shall consider the complaint, any respondent reply, and all materials submitted by the complainant.
I. The Ethics Committee will attempt to complete their investigation within ninety (90) days of their receiving the complete complaint file. If more time is needed, the Ethics Chairperson will advise the President of the delay and reasons for the delay. If the investigation cannot be completed within ninety (90) days, the President can allot more time as needed. The President will have the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the investigation is completed in a timely manner. Should an investigation extend into the term of the incoming President, the responsibility of the investigation shall remain with the President and the ethics committee (as practical) under which the complaint was originally filed.
J. Upon completion of an investigation, the Ethics Committee will submit a written report to the President with the Committee’s findings and recommendations. The recommendations can specify censure, suspension, expulsion, or unfounded/acquittal of alleged violation(s).
Findings will be stated as:
Unfounded/Unsupported – the investigation reveals that the complaint is untrue or the claims cannot be substantiated by any of the data submitted or reviewed
Irrelevant – the investigation reveals that the complaint does not involve the practice of crime scene reconstruction, supporting elements of reconstruction or the adherence to the ACSR by-laws (an example of such a finding might be a complaint that makes a claim of a member issuing a report late or unintentionally missing a deadline, etc.)
Founded – the investigation reveals that the complaint is true as supported by the data accumulated during the investigation
A complaint deemed “founded” would further include a recommendation of one of these outcomes:
Censure – a judgment of strong disapproval by the committee. This will be issued from the committee to the president in the form of a letter clearly stating the reason a censure has been warranted to include the complaint and a summary of the data used in the decision. A copy of the censure letter will be sent to the respondent, the accuser, the historian and the membership secretary.
Suspension – a judgment that removes the member from any official connection to ACSR for a period of time to be determined by the ethics committee. Suspension of an ACSR member means the member is flagged as “SUSPENDED” on the roster, cannot vote or hold any official status in ACSR, cannot access the private areas of the ACSR website or journal and cannot receive any of the benefits of membership until the suspension has ended. At the end of the suspension, the member can apply to be reinstated by writing a letter to the current ACSR Board requesting reinstatement and describing how the original findings have been corrected.
Expulsion – a judgment that removes the member from any official connection to ACSR indefinitely.
K. The Board of Directors will review the Committee’s findings/recommendations and make the decision as to the final finding(s) of the investigation and accept, reject or request further documentation from the committee. Once sufficient information has been obtained to warrant a decision, a vote of 2/3 of the Board in agreement will be required to uphold the recommendations offered. If at least 2/3 is not achieved, the Board shall modify the recommendations as necessary.
L. If the Board unanimously decides that an offense is of sufficient magnitude to warrant expulsion, the Board will bring this matter before the membership at the next annual business meeting.
M. The President shall notify the respondent in writing within ten (10) working days of any decision(s) of the Board of Directors.
N. If any disciplinary measures are implemented as a result of an investigation, the respondent may appeal the Board’s decision to the general membership. The notice of appeal must be made in writing, along with any written statement he/she may wish to submit on his/her behalf, within sixty (60) days of the respondent’s receipt of the Board’s decision(s). Any appeal will be discussed at the next scheduled Association business meeting of the general membership. The findings and recommendations of the committee and any essential supporting documentation as well as a copy of the supporting papers from the appellant will be made available to voting members. At least three-fourths (3/4) of the voting members present at the business meeting are required to vote for reinstatement of the respondent in order to overrule the Board’s decision(s).
O. Should any member of the Board of Directors become a party of an ethics complaint, that person shall be excluded from any deliberation, decision(s), and vote concerning the ethics matter.
P. If the respondent is associated by business, partnership, or any other agreement that could be construed as a conflict of interest with a member(s) of the Ethics Committee or the Board of Directors, the following shall occur. Any associated members who are on the Ethics Committee will be temporarily removed from the Committee just for the pending investigation. Any associated members who are on the Board of Directors will not be party to any Board deliberation, decisions, and vote related to the ethics complaint. However, these associated members will continue participating in all other ACSR Board duties. To meet the required minimum number of Board member votes for any disciplinary measure, the President and Chairman of the Board will select members in good standing not associated with the complaint to be temporarily assigned to the Board for the sole purpose only of deliberation, decisions, and vote on the pending ethics matter. These selected members must have previously served on the Board or the Ethics Committee.
Q. No member of the Ethics Committee or the Board of Directors may keep a copy of any part of the complaint file after the investigation is complete. All Ethics Committee members shall submit their records and notes to the President to be included in the complaint case file.
R. The report and all supporting documentation of the ethics complaint and investigation file shall be forwarded by the President to and maintained in a file by the Historian.
S. If the alleged violation(s) is/are founded, a record of censure, suspension, or expulsion shall be maintained in the respondent’s Membership record.
T. Any ethics investigation will be suspended if it becomes known that the issue or circumstances surrounding the complaint is the subject of civil or criminal legal litigation. The complaint file will be forwarded to the Historian as directed above.
Note: If this text differs from the text in the ACSR by-laws, the text in the by-laws shall take precedence.