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As developments in neuroscience and its technologies (neuroS/T) advance, the criminal justice system’s consideration of, and interest in the applications of such methods and tools to forensics and legal proceedings are also increasing. In light of these advances, considerations, and interest, it becomes essential to address the pragmatic validity, viability and potential value of neuroS/T to forensics and law. This essay describes ways that implementation of neuroS/T can directly benefit the forensic science community; identifies limitations of, and concerns about forensic use of neuroS/T; and posits the value of an implementation science framework to identify and analyze extant gaps (in both neuroS/T and forensic sciences and law) and offer ways that such gaps can - and arguably should - be compensated, closed or prevented in order to promote ethical interdisciplinary and systemic utility, effectiveness, and efficiency. Based upon these arguments, we propose the following recommendations that may be useful when considering and/or implementing neuroS/T in forensic contexts:
- NeuroS/T under consideration should be evaluated for its actual capabilities, and constraints/limitations as specific to the needs and charge(s) of the forensic process within legal contexts.
- NeuroS/T should be determined by consensus of a representative community of neuroscientists, to validly and reliably obtain defined results as relevant and applicable to the process(es) and policies of the forensic community.
- NeuroS/T should corroboratively be determined by consensus of a representative community of forensic professionals, to validly and reliably obtain the aforementioned results as relevant and applicable to of the process(es) and policies of the forensic community
- The extent of consensus should be necessary and sufficient to sate current standards of the Code of Federal Evidence (e.g.- Daubert) or other codification as applicable to the (national) jurisdiction in which these approaches will be utilized.
- The use of neuroS/T in these ways should be supportive, but not substitutive of, other ratified, accepted methods of forensic investigation and analyses, and relative weighting of neuroS/T-based information should be determined in proportion to the specificity and precision of the technique(s) in comparison to other methods.
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