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Law college hosts conference on future of forensic science

January 06, 2009

The world's leading experts on forensic science will gather at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law in April to discuss a highly anticipated national report that is expected to identify the needs of attorneys, judges, crime lab technicians, criminalists, law professors and others who work with forensic science evidence.

The Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology will host the conference, "Forensic Science for the 21st Century: The National Academy of Sciences Report and Beyond," on April 3-4 in Armstrong Hall. Co-sponsors of the conference, for which up to seven hours per day of Continuing Legal Education will be available, are the Science and Technology and the Criminal Justice sections of the American Bar Association and The National Judicial College.

In addition to experts from major research institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard Law School, the University of Michigan Law School, the University of California, Irvine, the University of Virginia and ASU, among others, participants will include state and federal judges, the co-chairmen of the National Academy of Sciences Forensic Science Committee, the president of the American Association of Forensic Sciences. The directors of the FBI Crime Laboratory and the Innocence Project, and prosecutors, defense attorneys, forensic scientists, and criminalists also will be involved.

Papers from the conference's proceedings will be published in the ABA-ASU journal, Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology, and in the Oxford University Press journal, Law, Probability & Risk.

As part of the conference, The Honorable Harry T. Edwards, Senior Circuit Judge and Chief Judge Emeritus of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and co-chair of the NAS Forensic Science Committee, will deliver the annual Willard H. Pedrick Lecture. The title of Judge Edwards' talk, scheduled for the afternoon of April 3, is, "Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward."

In addition, a CLE seminar on the morning of April 3 will acclimate attorneys, judges and others less familiar with current practices in forensic science. "An Introduction to Scientific Evidence: Principles and Practice," will outline the legal doctrine governing scientific evidence, the principles of forensic science and current controversies in this fascinating intersection of science and law.

Throughout the two-day conference, discussions will be held about the report, expected to be released in January, and specifically focused on topics such as building a more scientific foundation for forensic science, problems in its collection and analysis, its role in the war on terror and how its use can produce fewer erroneous convictions and judicial decisions.

For more information about the conference, and to register, go to, or e-mail any of the conference co-chairmen, David Kaye at, Jay Koehler at, or Michael Saks at or Center Director Sandy Askland at

Janie Magruder,
(480) 727-9052
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law