Thursday, August 5
Registration 7:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Continental Breakfast 7:30 a.m.–8:00 a.m.
Admissibility and Expert Testimony: Case in Point 8:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m. Summary and Resources»
This presentation will utilize a pattern evidence case to help forensic scientists more fully appreciate the application of Daubert in pattern evidence cases. Case lab reports will be provided. A prosecution admissibility brief will be provided electronically so that attendees may use it in their own cases.
The first part of the session will consist of legal arguments concerning the need for live testimony in a hearing, and, if so, the scope of the issues to be addressed during the live testimony.
The second part of the session will consist of the direct exam and cross exam of the prosecution expert during the Daubert hearing. Time for questions afterward will provide a unique opportunity for forensic scientists to appreciate the bases for both the prosecution and defense strategies in the hearing. This will also afford an opportunity to appreciate how the new NAS report may impact litigation.
Moderator: Rockne P. Harmon, Consultant, Alameda, CA
Presentation PDF 56kB
- Martha Bashford, Assistant District Attorney, New York County District Attorney’s Office, New York, NY
- George W. Clarke, Judge of Superior Court, San Diego Superior Court, San Diego, CA
- Susan Gross, Forensic Science Supervisor, Chemistry Section, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, St. Paul, MN
Presentation PDF 112kB
Break 10:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Perspectives on Error Rate Reporting in Forensic Casework and Testimony 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Summary and Resources»
The United States Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 1993, which provides guidance on how a judge should determine the admissibility of an expert witnesses’ testimony. The court specifically listed five (5) factors that should be considered when establishing whether a scientific methodology is valid. One of the factors that Daubert suggests for evaluating scientific validity is the “known or potential rate of error”. Forensic scientists, legal experts, and academicians have engaged in wide‐ranging debates on the feasibility and accuracy of reporting error rates in scientific disciplines that are based on the comparison of pattern and impression evidence. Each of the three panel members will provide differing views on this topic.
Moderator: Gerry LaPorte, Forensic Policy Program Manager, Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences, National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC
- Bruce Budowle, Executive Director and Professor, Forensic and Investigative Genetics, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Ft. Worth, TX
Presentation PDF 76kB
- D. Michael Risinger, John J. Gibbons Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, NJ
Presentation PDF 124kB
- Scott A. Shappell, Professor, Industrial Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Presentation PDF 320kB
Luncheon Presentation: Jurors and Expert Testimony - Myths and Realities 12:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m. Summary and Resources»
Now that the morning sessions have addressed the admissibility of expert testimony, this presentation explores how jurors understand that evidence and use it in their decision-making. Drawing on research about jury decision-making, as well as from the fields of cognitive psychology, communications, and media studies, this presentation will consider the following questions: How do jurors interpret the absence of forensic evidence? When are jurors most likely to disregard expert testimony? How does the language used by counsel and witnesses enhance or impede juror understanding?
Moderator: Jules Epstein, Associate Professor, Widener University School of Law, Wilmington, DE
Presenter: Kimberlianne Podlas, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC
Presentation PDF 112kB
Embarking on the Path Forward 1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Summary and Resources»
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has coordinated the establishment of the Subcommittee on Forensic Science. In response to the NAS report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, the Subcommittee is charged with developing recommendations for a nationwide effort to improve forensic science at the federal, state, and local levels. Recognizing the impact that its work will have on the forensic science and criminal justice community, the panel session will inform participants of activities associated with the Subcommittee and its five Interagency Working Groups. Importantly, the session will also be an opportunity for practitioners to ask questions and provide feedback to Subcommittee leadership on issues of critical importance to state and local practitioners.
Moderator: Robin W. Jones, Executive Secretary, Subcommittee on Forensic Science, Office of the Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Washington, DC
Presentation PDF 1.2MB
- Greg Klees, Firearms and Toolmark Examiner, National Laboratory Center, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Ammendale, MD
- Gerry LaPorte, Forensic Policy Program Manager, Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences, National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC
- Kenneth E. Melson, Deputy Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Washington, DC
- Cary T. Oien, Unit Chief, Firearms/Toolmarks Unit, FBI Laboratory, Quantico, VA
- Mark D. Stolorow, Director, Office of Law Enforcement Standards, Electronics and Electrical Engineering Lab, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD
- Kathryn Suchma, Physical Scientist/Forensic Examiner, FBI Laboratory, Quantico, VA
Closing Remarks 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Summary»
- Joseph P. Bono, Adjunct Instructor, Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, President, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Indianapolis, IN
- Joe Polski, Chief Operations Officer, International Association for Identification, Mendota Heights, MN
- Michael G. Sheppo, Director, Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences, National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC
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