Ron Smith & Associates, Inc. maintains a general philosophy that certainly applies to our relationship with prosecutors and defense bar members.
It is simply this:
This means that while RS&A does the vast majority of our casework for governmental agencies conducting criminal investigations, we are just as willing to work with defense attorneys who are offering their best efforts in representing their clients. It does not matter the question or who asked it; our answer will be the same.
In the United States, our system of justice assigns the Prosecutor and the Defense to adversarial positions in the search for truth, but in no way does that need to, or should it, involve the forensic expert. By remaining strictly on the side of science, instead of growing too close to the prosecution side of casework, the forensic scientist may be one of the greatest assets to that search for truth. The Prosecution and Defense desperately need scientific findings to be accurately conveyed to the jury professionally—no more, no less.
Over the years, there developed somewhat of an undesirable stigma for forensic experts who worked cases for the defense bar. Some of this was justified due to the charlatan nature of so-called "forensic experts" who would sell their souls to the devil for the right amount of money. "Liars for Hire" was one of the monikers used to describe these individuals. In some governmental agencies, new forensic science trainees were taught that only unscrupulous scientists would lower themselves to working for the defense. Even today, forensic scientists and governmental laboratories withhold evidence from the defense because of some minor clerical error in the request or some feeling that it could be damaging to their testimony at some point. It makes it much more difficult in court when images, worksheets, notes, etc., which were properly requested under discovery, are held back. A good examiner, doing a good job, working for a good agency, has nothing whatsoever to hide.
This feeling that permeated the forensic sciences for many years has significantly contributed to the problem of unqualified scientists offering themselves as experts to the courts and being accepted as such by our system's so-called "gatekeepers." If very qualified, highly credentialed forensic scientists with integrity would not make themselves available to the defense bar, then who would? There has always been a desperate need in the defense bar for quality forensic services. They need someone to aid them in understanding reports, learn about the underlying scientific principles behind each forensic discipline, know what a quality forensic training program entails, and much more. They need someone who truly understands the probative value of evidence to assist them in putting the pieces together so they can see the case as it is from a forensic perspective. Yes, they need to know if the evidence does not support conclusions. If they are our clients, they deserve no less and will receive no less from RS&A.
Interestingly enough, out of several hundred cases, there have been only two in which a defense attorney asked an RS&A representative to perform unethical forensic services. In each of these instances, RS&A remained true to our company philosophy of doing the right thing because it is the right thing. We will never compromise our reputation or our integrity.