Forensic Database

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What's New At NCSTL ... is used as a resource in over 170 countries

NCSTL Offers Toxicology Webinar May 31

NCSTL is offering the next installment in its series of Crime Scene to Courtroom Forensics webinars. The next webinar, Toxicology Essentials: Emphasis Opioids, will be conducted on May 31 from noon to 2:00 p.m. More information can be found on the NCSTL website.

The webinar is free and attendees will earn CLE credit. Apply for registration.

This webinar is made possible by BJA Grant #2015-CP-BX-K006.

NCSTL Offers Live Seminar in Phoenix June 12-13

NCSTL announces its next live training seminar in the Capital Litigation Initiative: Crime Scene to Courtroom Forensics Training series. This two-day training seminar will take place on June 12-13, 2017, at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs in Phoenix, Arizona.

Intended for defense attorneys and prosecutors who actively try capital cases, this seminar will cover forensic science basics, report writing, digital forensics, challenging evidence, discovery material, preparing for trial, expert witnesses, and the NAS Report.

Attendees will earn CLE credit. Registration and travel expenses are provided for all eligible attendees. Learn more and apply for registration.

This seminar is made possible by BJA Grant # 2015-CP-BX-K006.

Wecht Institute to Honor Famed Criminalist

The Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law at Duquesne University will honor the work and career of Dr. Henry Lee, one of the world’s foremost criminalists, known for his work on the O.J. Simpson, Laci Peterson, JonBenet Ramsey, Caylee Anthony and Vince Foster cases, among others. Dr. Lee, who holds a Ph.D., will be honored at the inaugural Pioneers of Forensic Science Conference on June 1-2 at Duquesne.

Dr. Lee, Connecticut’s Chief Emeritus of Scientific Services, has served as that state’s commissioner of public safety, Forensic Science Laboratory Director and Chief Criminalist. He is founder of the University of New Haven’s Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science and is the namesake of its Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. Dr. Lee also serves as editor of several academic journals and has authored more than 30 books.

A full program agenda can be found here. Visit the conference website here for more information, such as registration, cost and continuing education credits.

New Grant Awarded to NCSTL

The National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, has been awarded an additional $400,000 grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs. This additional funding, part of BJA's Capital Litigation Initiative, allows NCSTL to expand its production of Crime Scene to Courtroom Forensics live seminars and webinars. These sessions are designed to educate death penalty litigators, both prosecution and defense, in forensic sciences.

New online course offered: Locating, Evaluating and Selecting Expert Witnesses

The National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law at Stetson University College of Law and The Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC) at the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service have launched an innovative online course Locating, Evaluating and Selecting Expert Witnesses.

The course has been approved for 3.5 General CLE credits and .5 CLE Ethics credits, 3.5 P.O.S.T. credits for law enforcement professionals and 1 American Board of Criminalistics (ABC) recertification credit. The course uses video clips in addition to lecture and PowerPoint to deliver an engaging type of CLE/CE. The course also demonstrates how the NCSTL database, which has over one million visitors from over 170 countries, may be used for research in scientific evidence.

This online course focuses on:

  • Factors that influence the selection of an expert
  • The importance of investigating an expert's credentials
  • How to make an informed decision of an expert's credibility
  • Legal standards of admissibility of scientific evidence
  • Attorney's ethics in dealing with experts

Register for the course.

NCSTL and LEIC are recipients of the prestigious August Vollmer Excellence in Forensic Science Award for Innovation in Forensic Technology (2010 and 2007 respectively) from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Our two organizations have collectively trained over 43,500 lawyers, judges, law enforcement professionals, and forensic scientists.

PCAST Report -- Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature Comparison Methods

PCAST Report

PCAST, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, released a report on September 20, 2016, discussing the role of scientific validity in the legal system. The report, Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods, evaluated validity of seven areas:

  • DNA analysis of single-source and simple-mixture samples
  • DNA analysis of complex-mixture samples
  • Bitemark anaysis
  • Latent fingerprint analysis
  • firearms analysis
  • footwear anaylsis
  • hair analysis
  • The report concludes by making several recommendations to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Organization for Scientific Area Committees (OSAC), the FBI Laboratory, the U.S. Attorney General, and the Judiciary.

    Several organizations responded to the PCAST Report, including:

    For more information on the PCAST Report, see


    NCSTL has forged associations with international centers of forensic excellence. Congratulations are due to two of NCSTL’s international colleagues, Professor Sue Black and Professor Claude Roux for their recent outstanding awards.

    Professor Sue Black, OBE, FRSE, PhD (University of Aberdeen) and Director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee was named to lead the new Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Dundee. The University was granted a £ 10 million award by the Leverhulme Trust to establish a research center aimed at shaping the future of forensic science. Earlier this year, Professor Black and her colleague, Professor Niamh Nic Daeid organized The Royal Society's Meeting, “The Paradigm Shift for UK Forensic Science” and led the working group meeting that followed at Chicheley Hall during which a small group of international judges, scientists, policy makers, and lawyers met to discuss the current scientific landscape, and to identify research gaps and make suggestions for additional research in law and science.

    Professor Claude Roux, BSc, PhD (University of Lausanne, Switzerland), Faculty of Science, University of Technology Sydney was awarded the prestigious Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Medal for Research Impact. The award acknowledged the outstanding contributions made by Dr. Roux's research outside the academic community. Examples of Dr. Roux’s accomplishments, among others, are new cutting-edge and validated methods and techniques for the analysis of forensic evidence, in particular in the areas of trace evidence and fingerprint detection and leading the development of a new discipline, forensic intelligence. Dr. Roux’s work has been fundamental to the development of forensic science in Australia over the past 20 years.

    Education and Training
    Capital Litigation picture

    A new grant in the amount of $400,000 was awarded to Stetson University College of Law for the National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law (NCSTL) to develop a forensic evidence training program for lawyers who work on death penalty cases. “This training program is crucial at a time when life or death often hinges on the presentation of forensic evidence in the courtroom,” said NCSTL Founding Director and Professor of Law Carol Henderson.

    The grant, awarded by the U.S. Attorney General as part of the Adjudication and Law Enforcement National Initiatives, will support the development of a “Crime Scene to Courtroom Forensics” program. The new training program will provide in-person and webinar training on forensic science evidence and the use of expert testimony.

    “Training in forensic evidence is essential to improve the quality of legal representation and to ensure reliable jury verdicts,” said Henderson. Stetson’s National Clearinghouse was developed to foster communication between the scientific, technological and legal communities, providing comprehensive scientific, technological and legal information to promote justice based on sound science and technology. The NCSTL has trained more than 13,500 legal and scientific professionals since its inception in-person and online. The NCSTL has released the following CLE/CE Programs: SANE-SART Training for Forensic Nurses, A Collaboration Between NCSTL and SANE-SART Resource Services, Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert, sponsored by National Institute of Justice (NIJ), housed on, billed by NIJ as "one of the most popular courses EVER", Forensic Science Course for Capital Litigators - Self-Study which focuses on forensic science. Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert has been a very popular course published on two years ago.

    Under grants from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), NCSTL has conducted many training in-person workshops on the use of forensic science in capital cases over the past several years. See Education and Training Section of this website. In 2016, two more in-person workshops will be conducted for prosecutors and defense attorneys - who litigate capital cases.

    Information about the in-person training and the webinars as well as the application required to attend the training will be posted here by the end of November, 2015.

    What is NCSTL? is the only online resource in the world that concentrates on the nexus of science, technology, and the law. Focusing on forensic science and scientific evidence, educates and shares information with scientists, legal professionals, law enforcement, academics, and the public.

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    Wednesday May 24, 2017

    Capital Litigation Initiative Webinars: Crime Scene to Courtroom Forensics Training

    In 2016 and 2017, NCSTL is offering a series of webinars about forensic science and scientific evidence. Funded by a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance through its Capital Litigation Initiative, the webinars are intended for potential capital litigators, both prosecution and defense, who want to learn more about forensic science as it relates to capital cases.

    Attendees who complete the course are eligible for free Continuing Legal Education credits. Stetson University College of Law's Office of Professional Education will work with each individual participant for reporting specifics. Email for further information and state specific requests.

    For more information about the course and CLE credit click here

    Crime Scene Essentials

    Crime Scene Essentials was a webinar offered by NCSTL in partnership with University of Tennessee's Law Enforcement Innovation Center on March 2, 2016. The webinar covers identifying, documenting, processing, preserving and collecting of evidence.

    Crime Lab Essentials

    The Crime Lab Essentials webinar features an in-depth tour of the crime lab conducted by forensic scientists that covers five forensic disciplines: latent prints, toxicology, drug identification, firearms and forensic biology (DNA).