Open Forum with the NC State Crime Laboratory

The NC State Crime Laboratory and NC Office of Indigent Defense Services will offer a free to attend CLE on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, that is designed to enhance the knowledge of criminal defense attorneys and criminal defense investigators. The program will be held at the NC Judicial Center, 901 Corporate Center Drive, Raleigh, NC. Senior forensic scientists from the State Crime Lab will present updates and key information about the analysis of physical evidence in the disciplines of Forensic Biology (DNA), DNA Database, Firearms, and Latent Evidence.

Following these presentations, the speakers will address questions from attorneys. Due to the confidential nature of casework, questions about specific cases will not be answered. Attorneys can schedule a meeting at the State Crime Lab to discuss the case with the analyst. Attendees may submit questions ahead of time using the registration form or by emailing sarah.r.olson@nccourts.org.

The program is approved for 2.5 hours of general CLE credit. Attorneys receiving CLE credit will be billed $3.50 per credit hour by the NC State Bar. Non-attorneys who wish to receive continuing education credit may use this program agenda to apply for their own credit.

Program agenda: http://www.ncids.com/forensic/resources/sept28.pdf

Registration: https://goo.gl/forms/20zNrZk7LuIHT0kp2

 

September 28, 2018

8:30-9:00 AM                     Sign-in (Coffee and light snack provided)

9:00-10:30 AM                   Presentations by the Forensic Biology (DNA), and DNA Database Sections of the NC State Crime Laboratory

10:30-11:30 AM                 Presentations by the Firearm and Tool Mark and Latent Evidence Sections of the NC State Crime Laboratory

Presenters:

  • John Byrd, State Crime Laboratory Director
  • David Freehling, Forensic Scientist Manager, Physical Evidence Section (Raleigh)
  • Jennifer Slish, Forensic Scientist Supervisor, Firearms Unit (Physical Evidence Section, Raleigh)
  • Zach Kallenbach, Forensic Scientist Manager, DNA Database Section (Raleigh)
  • Karen W. Morrow, Forensic Scientist Manager, Latent Evidence Section (Raleigh)
  • Jody H. West, Forensic Scientist Manager, Forensic Biology Section (Raleigh)

 

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NC State Crime Laboratory Customer Satisfaction Survey

The NC State Crime Lab is conducting a customer satisfaction survey. The survey will be open until Aug. 31, 2018. Filling out the survey will allow the NC State Crime Lab to get feedback on your interactions with them over the past year.

The survey is short and should not take much time to complete. It contains questions about Forensic Update, Forensic Advantage, and about the quality of interactions with the lab itself. You can fill out the survey using this link.

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Eyewitness Evidence in the Courts CLE

Tuesday, August 21, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Duke Law School, Room 3043

Eyewitness testimony can be incredibly powerful in court. “There is almost nothing more convincing,” Justice William J. Brennan Jr. wrote in a 1981 dissent, “than a live human being who takes the stand, points a finger at the defendant, and says, ‘That’s the one!’” However, we now know that eyewitness memory is fragile and malleable. This panel, with leading scientists, lawyers, and judges, moderated by Professor Brandon Garrett, will first explore how eyewitness misidentifications can cause wrongful convictions. Second, the panelists will discuss scientific research on ways in which reliability of eyewitness identification might be improved. Third, the panelists will discuss how to address these questions in the courtroom, including through jury instructions.

Panelists will include:

  • Judge Theodore McKee, U.S. Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and chair of a task force on jury instructions on eyewitness identification evidence.
  • Karen Newirth, Senior staff attorney of the Innocence Project, litigates eyewitness memory issues nationwide.
  • Tom Albright, Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Co-chaired National Academy of Sciences report on eyewitness memory and law
  • Benjamin David, District Attorney, Fifth District (New Hanover and Pender Counties), North Carolina, and past president of the NC Conference of District Attorneys.
  • Jennifer Thompson, founder of Healing Justice, co-author, Picking Cotton, and national advocate for eyewitness identification reform

The event is sponsored by the Duke Law Center for Criminal Justice & Professional Responsibility and Wrongful Convictions Clinic. Lunch will be provided.

The event has been approved for 1.00 hours of CLE credit by the North Carolina Board of Continuing Legal Education. There is no need to register. Please contact Sarah Holsapple (sarah.holsapple@law.duke.edu) with any questions.

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Accessing NC State Crime Laboratory Procedures

The North Carolina State Crime Laboratory has shared its current and archived/historical procedures with IDS, which will facilitate attorney access to these procedures and improves transparency in how evidence is tested and processed in the Lab. Attorneys who need access to the lab procedures in their cases now have several options to locate these procedures.

Current lab procedures are available from the Crime Lab at http://www.ncdoj.gov/About-DOJ/Crime-Lab/ISO-Procedures.aspx.

IDS previously placed many of the archived procedures online at http://www.ncids.com/forensic/labs/labs.asp. However, this IDS online library of archived procedures may have gaps as there are now over 4,000 archived procedures. If you need an archived lab procedure that you cannot find on the IDS website, you can email Sarah Olson at Sarah.R.Olson@nccourts.org for access to the procedures that the Crime Lab shared recently.

Finally, lab procedures may be requested through discovery.

When reading lab procedures in order to better understand how evidence was tested in a case, attorneys should be mindful to refer to the procedures that were in place at the time that the lab tested case evidence.

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NC State Crime Laboratory welcomes new Ombudsman

Sarah Jessica Farber is the new Ombudsman to the NC State Crime Laboratory. As Ombudsman, her job responsibilities include addressing public concerns about the Crime Lab and making recommendations to the Attorney General about any changes needed at the Crime Lab. The Ombudsman serves as a liaison with all criminal justice system actors and is available to defense attorneys who have questions or feedback about the lab. More information about the role of the Ombudsman is available here.

Prior to joining the Crime Lab, Farber served as a magistrate in Wake County. Earlier in her career, she worked as a criminal defense attorney, both with North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services and with her own private practice. She can be reached at sfarber@ncdoj.gov.

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NACDL’s Fourth Amendment Center Offers Direct Assistance to Defense Lawyers

NACDL’s Fourth Amendment Center now offers direct assistance to defense lawyers handling cases involving new technologies and tactics that may infringe on privacy rights of Americans. The Center’s staff is available to help members of the defense bar in bringing new Fourth Amendment challenges, providing a range of support from training and resources to expert consultation and direct litigation, all free of charge.

The Center is now available to provide litigation assistance in cases raising issues addressing new surveillance tools, technologies, and programs; including:

  • Searches and seizures of personal data held by “third-party” service providers (the “third-party doctrine”)
  • Overbroad searches and seizures of electronic devices or online accounts
  • Electronic location tracking, including cell site simulators (“Stingrays”)
  • Government hacking and use of “network investigative techniques”
  • New law enforcement technologies: predictive policing, facial recognition/biometric identification, and drone/aerial surveillance.

Defense lawyers with cases involving any of these or other issues are encouraged to contact NACDL’s Fourth Amendment Center. The Center assists attorneys who are members or non-members of NACDL. The Center is available to provide consultations and litigation resources as well as direct assistance in support of a defendant’s claims. Specifically, the Center may assist in motion practice, preparation for suppression hearings, as well as appellate strategy, brief writing, and oral argument. The Center also provides group trainings for defense lawyers around the country and upon request.

To request assistance or additional information, contact:

Jumana Musa, Director, Fourth Amendment Center: (202) 465-7658, jmusa@nacdl.org

Michael Price, Senior Litigation Counsel, Fourth Amendment Center: (202) 465-7615, mprice@nacdl.org

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Having a client declared indigent for the purpose of attaining expert assistance

In some cases where an attorney has been retained, the defendant may exhaust their funds and not be able to pay for expert assistance that is needed in the case. The ability for a defendant to access expert witness assistance is protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, but attorneys for may be unsure about the process for obtaining funding  for expert assistance when the client has become indigent during the course of the representation.

When defendants who have been able to hire counsel become indigent over the course of representation, they have to motion in order to be allowed the usage of state funds to hire investigators and expert witnesses. To help attorneys secure expert assistance on behalf of an indigent client, IDS has put together a template motion for indigency.  The motion can be filed as a stand-alone motion or it can be incorporated into the motion for funding for an expert that is described below. The template can be accessed here.

In addition to the motion for indigency, counsel in non-capital cases must submit Form AOC-G-309 and an ex parte motion for the appointment of an expert in order to obtain funding for an expert for an indigent client. In potentially capital cases, Form IDS-028 must be submitted along with the motion for indigency to the Office of the Capital Defender. These forms and sample motions for the appointment of an expert can be found here.

IDS thanks Davis & Davis, Attorneys at Law for their assistance with this motion!

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