Category Archives: Meetings/Events

6th Annual NACDL-Cardozo Law National Forensic College

June 2 – 7, 2019: New York City, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

The National Forensic College is an advanced, week-long forensic science CLE designed for experienced trial and post-conviction defense litigators. It features the foremost national experts in a wide range of forensic disciplines and presents a truly one-of-a kind opportunity. The Forensic College prepares attorneys to litigate complex forensic science issues strategically and with the support of the nation’s leading law firms and experts. One core objective of the Forensic College is to train trainers and supervisors in the defense community, and the participants include training directors from federal defender offices, public defense organizations, and assigned counsel programs.

The Forensic College has reserved a limited number of slots for private attorneys. Attendance is by application and the limited space fills quickly, so early submissions are encouraged. The Forensic College is especially eager to recruit private lawyers who may be involved in planning or implementing defense or wrongful conviction training programs in their communities, or those at law firms who may wish to participate in cutting-edge forensic litigation. Private attorney tuition is $1,199 for the full six-day program. Understanding it may be difficult for some lawyers to attend the entire week, you may request enrollment for part of the week by contacting Vanessa Antoun, NACDL Senior Resource Counsel, at vantoun@nacdl.org or (202) 465-7663. To learn more, please visit the homepage: www.nacdl.org/NFC2019.

To apply, download the attorney application at www.nacdl.org/NFCApp and return to Vanessa Antoun, NACDL Senior Resource Counsel, at vantoun@nacdl.org.

The Forensic College is presented in collaboration with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Defender Services Training Division.

Topics include:

  • Framework for Evaluating Forensic Science Evidence
  • DNA – basic & advanced tracks
  • Pattern Evidence – including Fingerprints & Firearms
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome / Abusive Head Trauma
  • Medical Evidence: Sexual & Physical Abuse
  • Eyewitness Identification
  • Crime Scene Evidence
  • Digital Evidence

 

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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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National Forensic College 2018 announced

The 5th annual NACDL and Cardozo School of Law National Forensic College (NFC), presented in collaboration with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Defender Services Training Division, will take place Sunday, June 3 through Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City.

The goal of the college is to train experienced litigators in state and federal defender offices, both trial and post-conviction, to litigate complex forensic science issues strategically and with the support of the nation’s leading law firms and experts. Afterwards, attendees are expected to train legal professionals in their jurisdictions in these areas and work with fellow lawyers to develop successful litigation strategies to address forensic issues.

Topics for 2018 will include: False Confessions, Pattern Evidence, Digital Evidence, DNA (including an advanced track), Eyewitness Identification, Toxicology, plus instruction on statistics in forensics and an update on ligation using the PCAST report.

Attendance is by invitation only, but private attorneys can apply to attend. The cost to attend for private attorneys is $999 for the week, plus the cost of housing. The application and additional information is available here.

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Judging Forensics

Federal district judge for the Southern District of New York Jed S. Rakoff delivered the keynote address, “Judging Forensics” during the Forensics, Statistics and Law conference at the University of Virginia School of Law on March 26, 2018. The address can be viewed online here.

Judge Rakoff’s presentation commemorated the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. which reshaped how judges evaluate scientific and expert evidence. The presentation looked at how courts have considered the admissibility of testimony about scientific evidence and specifically forensic evidence. Judge Rakoff cited a study which found that in Daubert challenges between 1993 and 2001, defense proffers of expert testimony were rejected 92 percent of the time, whereas where the prosecution was the proponent of the evidence, expert testimony was admitted 95 percent of the time. Judge Rakoff examined some reasons for that disparity.

He addressed the NAS Report and PCAST Report and several examples of unreliable forensic science and statistical evidence, including a hair comparison case and a case where a mathematics professor improperly calculated the likelihood of a two suspects driving a specific car and was allowed to testify to that evidence. The question and answer session offered important insights into how these issues can be addressed.

Recordings of additional presentations and panels are available on the UVA Law YouTube channel (scroll down to “uploads”) or here. Attorneys may be interested in viewing Dr. Peter Stout’s presentation on the use of blinds at the Houston Forensic Science Center (at 27:50), Henry Swofford’s presentation on the use of statistical software in fingerprint comparisons at the Defense Forensic Science Center (at 1:12), and Dr. Alicia Carriquiry’s presentation on statistics and the evaluation of forensic evidence.

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Lab Tour on April 27

Would you like to learn more about how forensic toxicology testing is performed? Would you like to have a better understanding of how blood is tested for drugs or alcohol? Toxicologists Dr. Jay Gehlhausen and Dr. David Burrows will lead attorneys and investigators on a lab tour on April 27, 2018 in Wake Forest, NC at 10 am.

They will explain how blood and urine are tested for various substances, including through urine dip tests, immunoassay screening tests, and LC/MS-MS. Participants will be able to view the instruments and data and ask questions about the techniques used.

Attending a lab tour is a great way to improve your understanding of scientific evidence and its limitations. The tour and discussion will last about two hours. If you would like to attend, email Sarah.R.Olson@nccourts.org to sign up.

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Forensics, Statistics and Law Conference

The Virginia Journal of Criminal Law and the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence will host a one-day conference entitled Forensics, Statistics and Law on Mar. 26, 2018 at the University of Virginia School of Law. This conference focusing on forensic evidence and its use in the courtroom will mark the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. decision.

The program will focus on how to develop better forensic evidence, how to analyze it more accurately in the crime lab and how to present it more effectively in criminal cases. Judge Jed Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York will deliver the keynote address.

Pre-registration is not required for this program. A live stream of the conference will be available here.

Information about additional forensic evidence training programs is available on the IDS Forensic website.

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Open Forum with the NC State Crime Laboratory

On Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, the NC State Crime Laboratory and NC Office of Indigent Defense Services will offer a free CLE for criminal defense attorneys and criminal defense investigators. A Forensic Science Manager from each Section of the State Crime Laboratory (including Digital Evidence, DNA Database, Drug Chemistry, Firearm and Tool Mark, Forensic Biology, Latent Evidence, Toxicology, and Trace Evidence) will present an overview of the procedures for testing evidence in her Section of the lab. These presentations will address evidence submission procedures, what type of evidence is tested, what scientific techniques and instruments are used, and reporting/testimony language.

Following these presentations, there will be a panel discussion. The leader of each section will explain evidence preservation and the order of evidence processing. The presenters will discuss proficiency testing, quality control, and the limitations of the testing performed by their section.

In the final session, 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. Attorneys may submit questions ahead of time using the registration form or by emailing sarah.r.olson@nccourts.org.

Attorneys receiving CLE credit will be billed $3.50 per credit hour by the NC State Bar. 2.5 hours of general CLE credit is anticipated. Non-attorneys who wish to receive continuing education credit may use this program agenda to apply for their own credit. The program will take place at the NC Judicial Center, 901 Corporate Center Drive, Raleigh, NC (http://www.nccourts.org/Courts/CRS/AOCAdmin/AOCMove/Directions.asp).

Program website: http://www.ncids.com/forensic/resources/oct13.pdf
Program registration is available here: https://goo.gl/forms/cVm3zFSB08fDH6L63

October 13, 2017

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

9:00-10:00 AM   Presentations by each Section of the NC State Crime Laboratory

10:00-11:00 AM Panel Discussion with the NC State Crime Laboratory

11:00-11:30 AM Q&A with the NC State Crime Laboratory

Presenters:

  • Georgana Baxter, Western Regional Crime Laboratory, Forensic Scientist Manager, Drug Chemistry Section
  • Johnathan Dilday, Raleigh Crime Laboratory, Forensic Advantage Manager/Deputy Assistant Director
  • Ann C. Hamlin, Regional Crime Laboratory, Forensic Scientist Manager, Drug Chemistry Section
  • Joshua Hickman, Raleigh Crime Laboratory, Forensic Scientist Manager, Digital Evidence Section
  • Zach Kallenbach, Raleigh Crime Laboratory, Forensic Scientist Manager, DNA Database Section
  • Frank Wayne Lewallen, Triad Regional Laboratory, Forensic Scientist Supervisor, Drug Chemistry/Toxicology Section
  • Karen W. Morrow, Raleigh Crime Laboratory, Forensic Scientist Manager, Latent Evidence Section
  • Elizabeth Patel, Triad Regional Crime Laboratory, Forensic Scientist Manager
  • Jennifer L. Remy, Raleigh Crime Laboratory, Forensic Scientist Manager, Physical Evidence Section
  • Timothy Suggs, Raleigh Crime Laboratory, Forensic Scientist Manager (Quality Manager)
  • Jody H. West, Raleigh Crime Laboratory, Forensic Scientist Manager, Forensic Biology Section

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