CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Symposium on "Forensic Science: A Blueprint for the Future"

Mnookin jennifer at UCLA on Thursday, Feb. 18. Information about the conference, presented by UCLA's Program on Understanding Law, Science, and Evidence (co-director Jennifer Mnookin pictured), is here. From the website:

Forensic science - from latent fingerprint analysis to firearms identification to DNA - is often among the most significant evidence introduced in criminal cases. Over the last few decades, it has also been the subject of significant controversy, with defense attorneys arguing that long-accepted forensic techniques lack scientific validation, and prosecutors vociferously defending their accuracy and reliabiity.

Last February, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a major and long-awaited report assessing the strengths and limitations of forensic science in the United States. The report explicitly criticized the lack of empirical and research basis underpinning some of the claims routinely made by many forensic scientists in court, and called for significant changes and major overhaul to our system of forensic science.  This NAS report, which spurred congressional hearings and was recently cited in the Supreme Court, quickly garnered a great deal of attention from scholars, practitioners, and political stakeholders alike.

One year after this report, what, if anything has changed? This public symposium takes the one-year anniversary of the report as an opportunity to reflect on the aftermath of the National Academy report, its effects on courts, practitioners, scholars, and the forensic science community. But even more important, this symposium look forward to ask what does the future hold for forensic science? Flashing forward one decade or two, what should we expect,  what should we fear, and what should we hope for? In this one-day symposium, key stakeholders will consider and help to create a blueprint for the future of forensic science.

This symposium, organized by UCLA's new Program on Understanding Law, Science, and Evidence (PULSE), brings together leading participants the forensic science debates, including forensic practitioners, attorneys, law professors, psychologists, and judges, to engage in robust presentations and debates about the future of forensic science.

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