Education & Training

Capital Litigation Initiative: Crime Scene to Courtroom Forensics Training

Webinar 10: Drug Chemistry Essentials

Drug Chemistry Essentials: Importance of Standardized Forensic Methods for the Analysis of Seized Drugs
Tuesday September 25, 2018
12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Drug Chemistry Essentials: Importance of Standardized Forensic Methods for the Analysis of Seized Drugs contains an overview of drug chemistry, drug analysis and the legal application of the discipline. The panelists examine the importance of standardized forensic methods for seized drug analysis and the impact this has on laboratories in different jurisdictions. The webinar delves into the significance of accreditation, quality assurance and legal relevance of the forensic evidence discipline in the courtroom. Discussions address resources, emerging concerns and considerations for seized drug standards, which may impact how this evidence is utilized in the courtroom.

Webinar panelists:

  • Dr. José R. Almirall is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Director Emeritus of the International Forensic Research Institute at Florida International University and Director of the Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science (CARFS). He was a practicing forensic scientist at the Miami-Dade Police Department Crime Laboratory for 12 years, where he testified in over 100 criminal cases in state and federal courts prior to his academic appointment at FIU in 1998. Professor Almirall has authored more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific publications in the field of analytical and forensic chemistry and presented 700 papers and workshops internationally. Prof. Almirall is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) since 1998, the founding chairman of the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) of the AAFS, past member of the editorial board of the Journal of Forensic Sciences and co-Editor-in-Chief of Forensic Chemistry. He was appointed to serve on the Forensic Science Standards Board (FSSB) of the NIST-sponsored Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) as Chair of the Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis SAC of the OSAC.
  • Dr. Sandra E. Rodriguez-Cruz is a Senior Research Chemist at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Southwest Laboratory. She started her career with DEA in 2002. She is certified as a Drug Analyst Fellow by the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC), a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), a member of the Clandestine Laboratory Investigating Chemists (CLIC) association, and ASTM International. She also serves as the Secretariat of the Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs (SWGDRUG), and as current Chair of the Seized Drugs Subcommittee within the National Institutes of Standards and Technology – Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (NIST-OSAC). Dr. Rodriguez-Cruz completed her B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras, her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley, and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Rowland Institute for Science - Harvard in Cambridge, MA.
  • Alec F. Hall is an Assistant Federal Public Defender, Middle District of Florida. Mr. Hall provides full legal representation to indigent defendants charged with violating federal crimes as well as co-supervising an office of attorneys, investigators and staff. He has over 20 years of experience handling high level state and federal criminal trial work as both an attorney and a probation officer. Mr. Hall served on the Florida Bar 13(c) Grievance Committee and has participated as a panelist and presenter in numerous Federal Defenders workshops and seminars. Mr. Hall is a graduate of Shepard Broad Law Center at Nova Southeastern University.

Course materials:

View the webinar recording.

This webinar is designed for both prosecutors and defense attorneys. Attendees who complete this webinar will be eligible for Continuing Legal Education credits. The Stetson Office of Professional Education will work with each individual participant for reporting specifics. CLE applications will be made to Florida and other states per individual requests. Please email for further information and state specific requests.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2015-CP-BX-K006 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.