It's Evident... NCSTL's Quarterly e-Newsletter
THE DIRECTOR’S DESK...
We are coming into the homestretch of 2009 where does the time go? A great deal has been accomplished in the third quarter of 2009, including the launching of the NCSTL's new and greatly improved website.
Here’s some of what’s new:
- NCSTL.org's one-stop-shop database has grown to over 89,249 records and continues to develop and consolidate forensic-based information including the addition of webcasts, podcasts, vodcasts, blog links, and training materials which focus on science, technology and law topics;
- NCSTL has been receiving international invitations. I have been invited to make presentations in Italy in December, 2009 and in Hong Kong in January to both scientific and legal organizations, as well as universities;
- NCSTL receives regular media coverage. On July 8, 2009 I was interviewed by the ABA Journals, Mark Hanson, about future articles: NAS Report; DNA; Future of Evidence book for the ABA. I was also interviewed by Rhonda Brown & Jackie Davenport regarding a book chapter on "Forensic Interrogation, Reporting & Professional Ethics" for high school students on July 15, 2009. On July 29, 2009, Director of Technology & Distance Education, Dr. Susan Zucker, and Director of Research, Diana Botluk, were interviewed by the Maddox Business Report on the NCSTL. I did a websedge interview at the 116th International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Annual Conference and Exposition which was held from October 3-7, 2009 in Denver, CO. The interview was recorded by IACP TV and was broadcast throughout the Denver Convention Center and five main convention hotel systems;
- NCSTL's 2009 Guest Lecture Series continues in fall and spring. On October 5 and 6, NCSTL co-sponsored the Judicial Seminar on Emerging Issues in Neuroscience along with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Center for State Courts, and the Dana Foundation. The seminar was held at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, FL. Other talks will be announced shortly;
- To inform NCSTL’s constituency, which includes law enforcement, legal professionals, scientists, engineers, educators, and technologists, NCSTL representatives make presentations and offer training on a multitude of topics. On July 9-15, 2009, NCSTL had a booth at American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference. Director of Research, Diana Botluk, Research Attorney, Leeanne Frazier, and Science & Law Fellow, Kevin Paget, represented NCSTL at the conference in Chicago, IL. On August 17, 2009, Director of Outreach, Anjali Swienton, presented "Evidence Collection and Preservation" at the Center for American and International Law (CAILAW) Actual Innocence Conference in Plano, TX. She also presented "How To Prep Forensics For A Case" on August 18, 2009 at the Center for American and International Law (CAILAW) Actual Innocence Conference. She also presented, “Forensic DNA”, at the Widener Law School Actual Innocence Conference, Houston, TX, September 25,
2009. Director of Technology & Distance Education, Dr. Susan Zucker, presented "Social Media Sites Used to Commit Crimes" at the Center for American and International Law (CAILAW) Actual Innocence Conference in Plano, TX on August 18, 2009. On August 19, 2009, Director of Technology & Distance Education, Dr. Susan Zucker, presented “YouTube, Facebook, Chat Rooms, and Blogs: A Fertile Classroom for Illicit Activities” at the International Association for Identification (IAI) in Tampa, FL.
The next issue of It's Evident
will be published in January, 2010. The theme will be "Technology and Government - A Year After the Election".
All the best,
Wikipedia, Websites, WebMD: Are These WWW's Reliable as Evidence?
Part II - John A. Wirthlin and Brittan Mitchell, Esquire
John A. Wirthlin is a third year law student at University of Florida. He is currently working as a Summer Associate at Greenberg Traurig, LLP in Tampa, Florida. Brittan Mitchell is a former NCSTL staff member. She currently practices general civil transactional law in the areas of Taxation, Estate Planning, Adoptions, Wills, and Landlord/Tenant at The Law Office of Brittan L. Mitchell in Inverness, Florida.
Online sources supply litigants with a variety of easily accessible information. This article examines the potential hurdles of admitting these internet sources into evidence and offers strategies for litigants to use these sources effectively. Recent cases surrounding reliability challenges to Wikipedia and social networking websites were reported in the previous issue of It’s Evident
. In this issue, WebMD, YouTube videos and corporate websites are reviewed. Full paper
The Ongoing Debate: Presenting Forensic Voice Comparison Evidence in Court
Kurt Lenz, Esquire
Kurt W. Lenz is a visiting assistant professor of legal skills at Stetson University’s College of Law. He has written on the subjects of expert testimony and forensic evidence, and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in applied linguistics at the University of South Florida.
U.S. Courts have been at best skeptical of forensic voice comparison evidence. This seems to be due to a pair of factors. First, judges perceive expert testimony about voice comparison as infringing on the province of the fact-finder because it involves comparing two voices to determine whether they sound alike1
; to many judges, any layperson can make that comparison by simply listening to the speech evidence. Second, a prominent voice comparison technique, spectrographic analysis, has been widely discredited as reliable evidence of speaker identity.2
SPOTLIGHT ON TECHNOLOGY
Social Media and the Law
Dr. Susan Zucker, NCSTL Director Technology & Distance Education
Social media is a fairly recent phenomenon which is changing human communication and socialization
Social media is defined as social Internet networks which comprise Web 2.0 and includes Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, Linkedln, blogs, and many other Internet sites. These sites entice individuals to share personal information, experiences, and preferences with others. Another new media known as Citizens Media refers to content created by private citizens, or non-professional journalists.2
Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube came into being within the past five years. These sites are increasing in popularity and have opened new avenues for criminal activity.
FROM THE RESEARCH DESK... Diana Botluk, Director of Research
The past three months have seen some changes in the Research Department. NCSTL says farewell to ... More
Visit the NCSTL's Selected Books Added to the NCSTL Collection
in the Stetson Library and the NCSTL's Special Collections
from the collections.
TECHNOLOGY AND DISTANCE EDUCATION NEWS
Dr. Susan Zucker, Director Technology & Distance Education and Publisher and Editor of It's Evident
The new NCSTL website has been launched. Many new pages have been added; notably the archived audio casts of forensic experts speaking about various topics.
Thousands of people have subscribed to NCSTL's RSS Feeds: Education & Training and It's Evident