Public Defender Leaders Learn The Latest In Forensic Science


Forensic science has transformed the criminal justice system, but lawyers and judges have struggled to keep up with developments, says the National Law Journal. A weeklong program for public defenders was designed to close that knowledge gap. Some 120 public defenders gathered in New York City this week for the first-of-its kind Forensic College, co-sponsored by Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). “Training lawyers in the latest in forensic science means we are creating a network of public defenders who are better armed in the courtroom and more prepared to win their case,” said Barry Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project, which is housed at Cardozo. “Spreading this type of knowledge is essential in our goal of decreasing the numbers of those wrongfully imprisoned.” The idea is that the public defenders who attended will serve as resources for colleagues. The by-invitation-only program targeted supervisors and “thought leaders,” Scheck said. Participants heard from experts on topics including the contamination of DNA samples by labs; litigation of false-confession cases; and the latest findings on eyewitness memory and identification. They focused on digital evidence, including cellphone records, and fingerprinting.

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