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Georgia State Law Review Symposium Explores the Future of Forensic Science Reform on April 6

Barry Scheck, co-founder and co-director of The Innocence Project, will set the stage with the invitation-only Henry J. Miller Distinguished Lecture on “Big Data, Brady, and Defenders,” on Thursday, April 5

forensic science

ATLANTA—The Georgia State University Law Review will host its 2018 symposium, “From the Crime Scene to the Courtroom: The Future of Forensic Science Reform,” from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 6, in the Marjorie and Ralph Knowles Conference Center in the College of Law.

Barry Scheck, co-founder and co-director of The Innocence Project, will set the stage with the invitation-only Henry J. Miller Distinguished Lecture on “Big Data, Brady, and Defenders,” on Thursday, April 5. Scheck also will be a panelist in a session at the April 6 conference, which will bring together leading scholars, forensic experts, attorneys, and judges. They will explore technological advances in forensic science, ethical conflicts, avoidance and correction of wrongful convictions, approaches to minimize human error, and best practices for implementing local forensic science reform measures.

“In April 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the U.S. Department of Justice would not renew the National Commission on Forensic Science,” said Andrew Navratil (J.D. ’18), Law Review symposium co-editor. “This shift creates some uncertainty as to the future of forensic science reform, and our symposium will examine how forensic science and the criminal justice system can forge a collective path forward.”

“With the ongoing debate over how to reform forensic science, and ultimately execute those reforms, this symposium comes at a perfect time,” said Jessica Gabel Cino, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law. “The legal side and the scientific side of the criminal justice system are still trying to figure out how to talk to each other. We hope this symposium facilitates those collaborative discussions to effectuate meaningful change.”

Ted Hunt, senior adviser on forensics for the Department of Justice, will be one of the featured speakers. Before joining the Department of Justice, Hunt served in the Jackson County, Mo., prosecutor’s office where he was chief trial attorney and director of the DNA Cold Case Project. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Crime Lab Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board.

Spencer Hsu, an investigative reporter for The Washington Post, will deliver the lunchtime keynote address. Hsu is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and national Emmy Award nominee who has covered homeland security, immigration, and Congress.

Other panelists include Mark Hale, prosecutor at the Brooklyn DA Conviction Review Unit; Chris Fabricant, director of strategic litigation at Innocence Project; Henry Swofford (B.S. ’08), chief of the Latent Print Branch at U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory; and Judge Pamela A. King, a trial court judge in Olmstead County, Minnesota, with previous experience as a public defender specializing in forensic science litigation. King also was a commissioner on the National Commission on Forensic Sciences and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Georgia Supreme Court Justice David Nahmias will give opening remarks.

“We invite anyone interested in this conversation—particularly law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges—to attend,” said Monique Mead (J.D. ’18), symposium co-editor. “Through this symposium, we hope to inspire collaboration that improves outcomes and expectations for forensic science and its place in criminal cases.”

The symposium has been approved for five Continuing Legal Education credits, including one ethics credit. To learn more about the symposium or to register, visit law.gsu.edu/2018symposium.