About NCSTL Website/Database

Executive Summary of Program Objectives
This program is supported by Award #2003-IJ-CX-K024

1. Develop an Online Resource
This extensive online resource includes a searchable comprehensive bibliography from 2000 to present of court decisions and commentary, scholarly publications, commercial applications, professional associations and institutions, and other resources pertaining to law, science, and technology. Contains 20 resource categories for each of 35 topics in science and technology. At present, more than 110,000 records are contained in the database. Visitors from more than 110 countries have visited the site. Cold case resources are included in the site.

2. Build an Important Reference Collection of Law, Science, and Technology Material
Today, lawyers and judges face challenges due to a lack of access to information regarding new areas of science and technology. The Clearinghouse reference collection allows access via interlibrary loan to physical materials not readily available in judges’ or attorneys’ local libraries. Special forensic science collections have been donated.

3. Build Partnerships with Law Schools, Professional Associations, and Federal and State Agencies
These partnerships facilitate research and discussion of legal, scientific, and technology issues. Such collaboration addresses the needs of various groups of end users of scientific, technological, and legal information. We produce an annual science, technology, and law seminar series that takes place at Stetson. The lectures are webcast live and podcasts of the lectures are available. The Director is past-president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, a member of the IACP Forensic Committee, chairs committees of the ABA Science and Technology Law section, sits on NIJ Technical Working Groups, editorial boards and advisory councils. Specific NCSTL projects assist law enforcement and the corrections communities, e.g., and The Evidence Policy Review and Integration Pilot Project in Florida.

4. Convene Community Acceptance Panels
These focus groups of diverse participants from membership associations, community-based associations, citizen review boards, civil rights organizations, and others will assess public acceptance of new technologies and provide feedback to the National Institute of Justice, assisting the NIJ with a critical component of its technology research agenda.

5. Develop Training Modules and Primers with an Emphasis on Distance Education
These cross-disciplinary modules will focus on training scientists in the complex workings of the legal system. They also will provide lawyers with much-needed education in various scientific and technological disciplines. Law 101, which will focus on certain testimony skills for expert witnesses, scientists and law enforcement personnel, is in development. Science 101 will be developed next. The primers, written by lawyers, scientists, and educators will cover the basic elements of a science or technology and principles of law, and provide practical advice regarding motions in limine, locating and qualifying an expert, direct and cross-examination of the expert and legal issues that arise in such cases.

6. President’s DNA Initiative Training
The goal of this project is to provide training for defense counsel who are handling cases involving biological evidence on the applications and limitations of DNA evidence as stated in the President’s DNA Initiative. To achieve this goal, the NCSTL will work closely with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and an expert Advisory Group to develop training that will provide defense attorneys with the general knowledge of the uses of DNA evidence in judicial proceedings as it pertains to discovery and ethics, proper closing arguments, case assessment, etc. The proposed training will complement other forensic DNA evidence resources developed by NIJ, e.g., the “Officers of the Court” CD-ROM, which provides a foundational understanding of the science, technology, statistics, and other non-advocacy topics.