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www.ncstl.org is used as a resource in over 170 countries
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.
The Course Leader, Professor Carol Henderson, is the founding director of the NCSTL and a Professor of Law at Stetson. Recognized as an international authority on forensic science and law, Professor Henderson has presented more than 280 lectures and workshops worldwide on scientific evidence and courtroom testimony. She has more than sixty-five publications on law and forensic science. Professor Henderson served as the president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (2008-2009) and presently co-chairs the Life & Physical Sciences Division of the ABA's Science & Technology Law Section.
Spend a Semester in London: Professor Henderson will be teaching a short course on "Scientific Evidence and Expert Testimony: A U.S. and U.K. Comparison."
Course Description: While science and technology are not necessarily different across borders, the way such evidence is used and presented in court may be quite different. This course will compare the admissibility of scientific evidence, the qualification of expert witnesses and the presentation of expert testimony in the United Kingdom and the United States. During the course we will meet with members of the forensic and legal medicine community and have hands-on demonstrations of forensic examinations (Oct 31-Nov 10).
SPOTLIGHT ON NCSTL'S ADVISORY COUNSEL
Congratulations to Donna A. Bucella, NCSTL Advisory Council member since 2005. She recently was named president of compliance business for Guidepost Solutions LLC, a global leader in investigations, compliance and security.
Bucella has served in several top government posts. Bucella’s government experience includes serving as the first Director of the Terrorist Screening Center, the Assistant Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency and after 9/11, as the first Southeast Area Director responsible for the operations of 80 federalized airports. Bucella was formerly the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida. She also served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and Director of the Executive Office for the United States Attorneys.
She has practiced law with Foley & Lardner LLP and Steel, Hector and Davis LLP in the areas of complex business litigation, white collar defense, internal corporate investigations, and compliance. Her private sector experience includes serving as senior vice president at Perot Systems Government Services and as senior vice president at Bank of America.She retired at the rank of Colonel from the U.S. Army Reserves.
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.
What's new in ...
Science: Forensics specialist discusses a discipline in crisis. Forensic researcher Niamh Nic Daéid brought together scientists and legal experts in a meeting in London. Solid scientific evidence can be crucial for solving crimes. But science may have been progressing too fast for the courts and the juries to keep up. The problem was symbolized by a ruling last year in which Mark Dwyer, a judge of the New York State Supreme Court, declared that a forensic-analysis technique known as low-copy-number DNA testing was inadmissible because there was no consensus in the scientific community that it was valid forensic tool. The technique, which consists of amplifying very small amounts of DNA to obtain a profile, has been used to get convictions in various countries but has been criticized as being susceptible to contamination and having problems with reproducibility. To help to bridge the divide between law and lab, leading forensic scientists held a meeting with senior legal experts in London recently. Nature, 2015.
Technology and Law: Law Enforcement of the Future: Drones, Biometrics & Beyond, CriminalJusticeProgramsOnline.com, 2015.
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 DNA.gov, 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 DNA.gov 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.
NCSTL.org 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, NCSTL.org educates and shares information with scientists, legal professionals, law enforcement, academics, and the public.How we help you
Two handouts - The Database and Everything Else - and a YouTube video Introduction to NCSTL describe the NCSTL.
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