Conference To Focus on Evolution of Forensic Evidence

U.S. Judge Jed Rakoff To Deliver Keynote
Forensics, Statistics and the Law
March 5, 2018

Experts in forensics, statistics and the law will convene for a conference at the University of Virginia School of Law on March 26 to mark the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., which reshaped how judges evaluate scientific and expert evidence.

The event will be livestreamed at youtube.com/uvalaw.

Judge Jed Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York will deliver the keynote address at noon. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Law School’s Caplin Pavilion.

The Daubert ruling coincided with a surge in scientific research relevant to criminal cases, including the development of modern DNA testing that both exonerated hundreds of individuals and provided more accurate evidence of guilt.

“Leading scientific commissions have pointed out real shortcomings in the use of forensic evidence in the courtroom,” said professor Brandon Garrett, a participant in the conference and a principal investigator for the Law School’s Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensics Evidence, or CSAFE, projects. “The CSAFE collaboration, extending across four universities, including UVA, has been working with generous support from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to research these questions.”

Panelists will discuss how to develop better forensic evidence, how to analyze it more accurately in the crime lab and how to present it more effectively in criminal cases. Several contributions will be published in a special symposium issue of the Virginia Journal of Criminal Law.

The conference is sponsored by the Virginia Journal of Criminal Law and the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence.

The talks are free and open to the public. Attendees may contact Garrett at bgarrett@virginia.edu or (434) 924-4153 for more information.

Videos of the event can be viewed here.

Schedule

Monday, March 26

Caplin Pavilion

8:30-9:15 a.m.

Continental Breakfast


9:15-9:30 a.m.

Introduction/Welcome

  • Brandon Garrett, White Burkett Miller Professor of Law, Public Affairs Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Karen Kafadar, Commonwealth Professor and Chair, Department of Statistics, University of Virginia

9:30-10:30 a.m.

Introductory Remarks: The Importance of Statistics and Forensics

Statistics and Forensics

  • Susan M. Ballou, Program Manager, National Institute of Standards and Technology, American Academy of Forensic Science Fellow

Statistics and the Courts

  • Peter Neufeld, Co-Director, The Innocence Project, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

10:45 a.m-Noon 

Statistics, Research and Forensics

  • ModeratorM. Chris Fabricant, Director of Strategic Litigation, The Innocence Project
  • Alicia Carriquiry, Distinguished Professor, Department of Statistics, Iowa State University
  • Hari Iyer, Statistical Design, Analysis, and Modeling Group, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Karen Kafadar, Commonwealth Professor and Chair, Department of Statistics, University of Virginia

Noon-1:15 p.m.

Lunch

Keynote Address: Judging Forensics

Jed S. Rakoff, Senior Judge, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York


1:30-2:45 p.m.

Statistics in the Crime Lab

  • ModeratorBrandon Garrett, White Burkett Miller Professor of Law, Public Affairs Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law     
  • Linda C. Jackson, Director, Virginia Department of Forensic Science
  • Sharon Kelley, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia
  • Peter Stout, President and CEO, Houston Forensic Science Center
  • Henry Swofford, Chief, Latent Print Branch, Defense Forensic Science Center

3-4:30 p.m.

Bringing Statistics into the Courtroom

  • ModeratorWilliam C. Thompson, Professor of Criminology, Law, and Society; Psychology and Social Behavior; and Law, University of California, Irvine School of Social Ecology
  • David L. Faigman, Chancellor and Dean, John F. Digardi Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California Hastings College of Law
  • David H. Kaye, Distinguished Professor of Law, Weiss Family Scholar, Penn State Law
  • A.J. Kramer, Federal Public Defender’s Office, District of Columbia
  • Barbara A. Spellman, Professor of Law, Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia School of Law

Media Contact

Mike Fox
Director of Media Relations
mfox@law.virginia.edu / (434) 982-6832

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