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

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.

Capital Litigation Initiative: Crime Scene to Courtroom Forensics Webinar

Forensic Pathology Essentials is the third in a series of eight FREE webinars and is part of the Capital Litigation Initiative: Crime Scene to Courtroom Forensics Training. Forensic Pathology Essentials, featuring videos and conversations with medical examiners who are forensic pathology experts, lets you discover what happens to a body from the crime scene to the autopsy. This webinar will take you through the process of how an autopsy is conducted, with forensic reviews of the body, including head, neck, chest, abdomen, arm, and skin. The webinar will feature science and observation involving strangulation, blunt trauma, poisoning, stab wounds, and more.

Attendees who complete the course will be eligible for free CLE credits. If you have questions, or for further information, contact Stetson’s Office of Professional Education at 727-562-7898 or email

Study Scientific Evidence in London

Professor Carol Henderson will be teaching a short course on "Scientific Evidence and Expert Testimony: A U.S. and U.K. Comparison" at Stetson University College of Law's Autumn in London.

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).


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: Analysis of Contactless Fingerprint Minutia - NIJ Publications Update Forensics specialist discusses a discipline in crisis. The National Institute of Justice Sensor, Surveillance, and Biometric Technologies Center of Excellence has developed a tool for characterizing contact and contactless fingerprint minutia data. Researchers have used this tool to analyze minutia deviations between probe and gallery datasets, and conducted biometric experiments to investigate the effect of minutia deviations on match performance. The Minutia Deviation Tool (MDT) is a prototype software utility that aids a user in designating equivalent minutia pairs across two fingerprint biometric images and calculating the pair’s minutia spatial deviations. The tool also allows for those mated minutiae to be filtered based on deviation or position criteria to produce Electronic Biometric Transmission Specification (EBTS) files with a subset of minutia markings. U.S. Dept of Justice, 2016.

Technology: Unmanned Drones and Hidden-Grave Detectors: the Future of Forensic Science. Flying unmanned drones to scan crime scenes, portable detectors that sniff out clandestine graves, and the FBI’s billion dollar Next-Gen identification system. These new forensic techniques might seem like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, but their development is currently in the works, and according to new research, might be available to forensics scientists sooner than we think. Forensic Magazine, 2016.

Law: Synthetic Identity Fraud: Can I Borrow your SSN?. Synthetic identity fraud (SIF) is a fraud that involves the creation of a fictitious identity. This paper explains how it works and what the identities are being used for, identifies the industries being impacted and shows who is most commonly targeted and why. Government Technology,2016.