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Scientific Evidence

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Format: 2020
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In this module, Dr. Craig Stark from the University of California, Irvine, discusses how memory is encoded in the brain, how memories can be manipulated, and why these topics are relevant to the courts. He addresses the following questions:

  • What are some common misperceptions about memory (e.g., are memories of stressful events more reliable than other memories)? How are these relevant to legal matters?
  • How do memory distortions occur, and what factors affecting memories should we be aware of?
  • How does stress affect memory retrieval?
  • What are some potential uses for lie and recognition detection?

Objectives:

  • to understand how memories are encoded in the brain
  • to define lie and recognition and understand how these terms relate to both law and neuroscience

To learn more about Dr. Stark, click here.

Additional Resources:

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In this module, Amanda C. Pustilnik, professor of law at the University of Maryland, discusses approaches that judges could employ when evaluating emerging neurotechnology. She provides insight into the following questions:

  • What sort of framework can judges use in their approach to evaluating emerging neurotechnology?
  • Should there be specific standards for using neuroscience evidence?
  • What emerging technology do you foresee or predict lawyers will attempt to introduce as evidence in the near future?

Objectives:

  • to identify potential standards for neuroscience evidence
  • to examine emerging neurotechnology from which the court could benefit

To learn more about Amanda Pustilnik, click here.

There are many disciplines and experiences that go into the successful supervision of justice-involved individuals. On this episode of Off Paper, the criminal justice podcast from the FJC, host Mark Sherman talks to an individual whose career weaves together many of those threads. Dr. Robert Kinscherff is a clinical forensic psychologist and attorney  with more than thirty years of experience in forensic mental health. He has been a Senior Fellow in Law and Neuroscience at the Project on Law and Applied Neuroscience, a collaboration between the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy at Harvard Law School. Dr. Kinscherff also has broad governmental experience having held senior state positions in Massachusetts administering in-patient forensic mental health services , juvenile and adult court clinic operations and diversion programs, as well as specialty courts for persons with mental illness and significant addiction, trauma and multi-system involvement. Mark’s discussion with Dr. Kinscherff explores all those facets of his training and experience and his observations regarding important issues in supervising justice-involved individuals.

Episode 4: An interview with Daniel Pink, bestselling author, contributing editor at Fast Company and Wired, and business columnist for The Sunday Telegraph.

In Print: Available for Distribution

Science tutorials have developed as a tool to assist judges in managing cases that involve complex science and technology. Such tutorials provide an early opportunity for the court to learn and ask questions about relevant science and technology outside the context of motion practice. Courts should consider holding science tutorials in cases that involve recent scientific findings or newer technologies, where scientific assertions are central to claims or defenses, or when scientific or technological information is likely to play a large role in later dispositive motions. This guide provides an overview of practical considerations to help judges plan and conduct science tutorials effectively.

Thinking for a Change is one of several cognitive behavioral interventions used by federal probation and pretrial services offices to help clients succeed during and after supervision and thus reduce recidivism.  Officers volunteer to facilitate the intensive 13-week program, and most find that their time and energy commitments are more than worth it. The Eastern District of Wisconsin Probation Office adopted T4C, as it’s often called, in 2012 and now has more than two dozen officers trained as facilitators.

Judge Jed S. Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.) summarizes the materials on this site about fingerprint identification and what judges should consider when weighing expert testimony. To go back to the main Fingerprint Identification page, click here.

A brief introduction to fingerprints: How fingerprint properties (uniqueness, consistency, and ridge pattern) make fingerprints a useful forensic tool. To go back to the main Fingerprint Identification page, click here.

Judge Jed S. Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.) introduces website materials that cover fingerprint identification and what judges should consider when considering and responding to challenges to the admissibility of fingerprint evidence and testimony. To go back to the main Fingerprint Identification page, click here.

This video covers the quality assurance programs implemented by the forensic laboratories throughout the country. For more information, please refer to the Discipline-Specific Baseline Documents section at the NIST.gov website. To go back to the main Fingerprint Identification page, click here.

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