Category Archives: Meetings/Events

Evening at the School of Government, Part III: Firearms 101

We are excited to announce “Firearms 101,” the third program in our Evenings at the School of Government series. This series, cosponsored by the UNC School of Government and NC Office of Indigent Defense Services, consists of free presentations on forensic evidence and other criminal law topics that are designed to enhance the knowledge of criminal law practitioners. Available for CLE credit, these programs will occur after business hours at the School of Government in Chapel Hill. A social hour at a local venue will follow each presentation so that participants may continue their discussions with the speakers.

At this program, veteran defense attorney David Waters and private investigator Michael Grissom will instruct participants on firearm mechanics and functionality, projectile trajectory, and basic information about the firearm/toolmark comparison.  Using examples and images from their own cases, they will describe common issues related to forensic firearm analysis, and how defense counsel can address these through motions practice and cross-examination. They will also discuss raising challenges to a witness’s qualification as an expert and the merits of hiring a private firearms expert in a particular case.

Participants: This program is geared toward attorneys who may confront issues regarding firearms in their cases.

Location, Dates, & Times: The program will be held on Thursday, August 22 at the School of Government on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Sign-in is from 5:15pm to 5:30pm, at which time the program will begin. The 1.50 hour program ends at 7:00pm. Following the presentation, we welcome you to join the presenters for an informal happy hour at W XYZ bar, located in the lobby of the Aloft Hotel on Highway 54 in Chapel Hill. Directions to the Aloft Hotel can be found here.

RSVP: Registration is not required, but we ask that you RSVP via email by August 15 to Brooke Bailey, at bailey@sog.unc.edu.

Fee: Free. (Because no registration fee will be charged by the School of Government, each lawyer is responsible for paying the NC State Bar for earned CLE credits at $3.00 per hour.)

CLE Credit & Certification: This program offers 1.5 hours of general CLE credit and qualifies for NC State Bar criminal law specialization credit.

Materials: Materials for this program are forthcoming and will be available under the Course Materials category on the program website (http://www.sog.unc.edu/node/3666). Those who RSVP for this event will receive a confirmation email on August 19 with a link to the program materials. Please note that the materials will not be provided in hard-copy form at the program. We strongly recommend that you either bring a laptop and access the materials electronically or print and bring them with you to the program.

Directions and Parking: Directions to the School of Government may be found on our website’s visitor information page. Parking will be available in the lot adjacent to the School of Government. You will not need a parking code to enter the lot or a parking pass. (The gate opens at 5:00pm.) You will enter the building via the side entrance by the parking lot.

Additional Information: We look forward to seeing you next month.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Brooke Bailey (919.966.4227 / bailey@sog.unc.edu) or Defender Educator Alyson Grine (agrine@sog.unc.edu / 919.966.4248).

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Impression & Pattern Evidence Symposium – Online today!

The Impression & Pattern Evidence Symposium is taking place today through Thursday, August 9, 2012. The live program, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Office of Justice Programs and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory Division, is being streamed online here.

The agenda is available here. Topics include the latest developments and challenges to fingerprint, firearm, document, tiremark, bloodstain pattern and other types of pattern and impression evidence as well as context bias, calculation of error rate, documenting through bench notes, outsourcing lab analysis, and the way to present degree of certainty.

The entire program is available for free online streaming, so sign up and watch the sessions that are of interest to you!

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Filed under Crime Labs, Fingerprints, Firearms, Meetings/Events, Resources

Forensics: From Crime Scene to Courtroom CLE

Forensics: From Crime Scene to Courtroom CLE will be held this Friday, April 13 at the North Carolina Advocates for Justice headquarters. This event will feature only four speakers so there will be ample time for the respective topics to be covered in depth. A hypothetical fact pattern has been created for this class which will be the basis for the speakers to show how their respective subject may be applied in a practical trial application. The fact pattern is a single car alcohol / drug driving while impaired accident resulting in the death of one of the vehicle’s occupants.

Theodore W. Vosk, will be presenting on the uncertainty of measurement. Mr. Vosk will discuss error rates in measurement and how they affect breath and blood alcohol estimates. Attendees will be provided not only written materials but an audio file of a recent cross examination by Mr. Vosk of a crime lab technician demonstrating how this theory may be argued in court. Larry Daniel of Guardian Digital Forensics, regarded as one the top experts in the field, will be discussing computer forensics related to computers, cell phones, GPS, social media and cell towers. Dr. Peter Stout from RTI International will discuss GC-MS, Headspace Gas Chromatography and the complex procedures required to obtain forensically reliable results in drug analysis and toxicology. Lastly, Dr. Christena L. Roberts will educate you on what to look for in medical records and autopsy reports in evaluating how injuries or death may have occurred.

On-site registration will begin at 8:00 a.m., speakers will start promptly at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at 4:45 p.m. There is no need to pre-register, but you can email Amy@ncaj.com for more information. There will not be a webcast or video replay so don’t miss your chance to learn from some of the best in their respective area of expertise. You will leave with practical information that can be applied to your own pending and future cases.

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Greg Taylor and Darryl Hunt programs on April 12, 2012

Two programs featuring NC exonerees Greg Taylor and Darryl Hunt will be broadcast on April 12, 2012.

The WRAL documentary, “6,149 Days” which premieres on April 12 at 8:00 pm recounts the flawed investigation that led to Greg Taylor’s conviction, Taylor’s 6,149 days in prison, and the fight to set him free. Steven D. Hammel, Vice President and General Manager of WRAL-TV said in a statement, “It is the mission of our dedicated documentary unit to tackle in-depth topics and social issues. Greg Taylor’s story exposes serious flaws in our state’s criminal justice system. It is our hope that this program can be a force for positive change.”

The documentary will be broadcast commercial-free on WRAL-TV in Raleigh, WJZY-TV in Charlotte and WILM-TV in Wilmington and will be followed by a half-hour live discussion with retired police chief Darrel Stephens of Charlotte and state representative Rick Glazier of Fayetteville. Additional information including court documents, photos, and a trailer can be viewed here.

Darryl Hunt’s case will be featured on Investigation Discovery series “Cold Blood” at 9 p.m. on April 12. The episode will include interviews with Darryl Hunt who was twice convicted for the murder of Deborah Sykes based on faulty eyewitness identification evidence. Hunt served 18.5 years for a crime he did not commit and was exonerated ten years after being excluded as a suspect by DNA evidence. Also interviewed in the program are: Howard Cross, Sykes’ friend; Sgt. Chuck Byrom, Winston-Salem police; Mark Rabil, attorney and Winston-Salem resident; Phoebe Zerwick, Winston-Salem Journal (1987-2008); and Regina Lane, rape victim. To check local listings, click here.

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Filed under DNA, Meetings/Events

FRONTLINE: The Real CSI

Mark your calendars: on April 17, 2012, FRONTLINE reports on serious flaws in forensic practices and inconsistencies in how forensic evidence is presented in the courtroom.

The program will be broadcast on PBS stations and online. FRONTLINE investigates reliability of fingerprint analysis, ballistics, and bite mark analysis and evaluates the standards that govern these practices. The investigation looks into the Casey Anthony murder trial, the use of fingerprint evidence in the FBI’s investigation of the Madrid terrorist bombing, and the use of forensic evidence in capital cases in rural Mississippi. This program is part of the ProPublica and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism investigative series, Post Mortem.

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Forensic Science Advisory Board appointed

Judge Joseph R. John, Director of the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory, announced today that members of the North Carolina Forensic Science Advisory Board have been appointed. This board was statutorily created by the Forensic Sciences Act of 2011 which was signed into law on March 31, 2011. The members of the board are:

  • Mr. Kermit B. Channell, II, Executive Director, Arkansas State Crime Laboratory
  • Dr. Tracey D. Cruz, Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Forensic Science
  • Dr. Marcia T. Eisenberg, LabCorp, Research Triangle Park
  • Dr. Roger Kahn, Director, Harris County (TX) Forensic Biology Laboratory
  • Dr. David Hinks, Professor of Textile Chemistry, North Carolina State University
  • Judge Joseph R. John, Sr., Director, North Carolina State Crime Laboratory
  • Ms. Alka B. Lohman, Virginia Department of Forensic Science
  • Mr. Peter M. Marone, Laboratory Director, Virginia Department of Forensic Science
  • Dr. Bruce R. McCord, Professor, Florida International University Department of Chemistry
  • Dr. Christopher S. Palenik, Vice President and Research Microscopist, Microtrace
  • Ms. Bethany P. Pridgen, Forensic Chemist, Wilmington Police Department
  • Dr. Peter R. Stout, Senior Forensic Scientist, RTI International
  • Dr. Deborah Radisch, North Carolina Chief Medical Examiner
  • Dr. Michael Coble, National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Mr. Ronald Singer,Technical and Administrative Director, Tarrant County (TX) Medical Examiner’s Office
  • Dr. Leonard Stefanski, Professor, North Carolina State University Department of Statistics
  • Dr. Robert Eugene Zipf, Jr,  Pathologist (Retired)

The board will meet for the first time on March 22-23, 2012 at the State Crime Laboratory. The board is to review the State Crime Laboratory operations and make recommendations on issues including testing and examination methods, plans for implementation of new programs and qualification standards for the lab’s forensic scientists. For more information, see the NC DOJ’s announcement.

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