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FORENSIC SCIENCE: Daubert Challenges & The Care, Feeding & Cross Examination of Experts


Mary S. McElroy, Public Defender


 Collin Geiselman, Esq., President



Timely Topics of Interest for the
Criminal Defense Practitioner!

PROGRAM #3:     Thursday, April 6, 2017, 2:00 - 4:00 PM
Licht Judicial Complex, 250 Benefit Street, Providence
Friday, April 7, 2017, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Community College of Rhode Island, Flanagan Campus
1762 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, 

FORENSIC SCIENCE: Daubert Challenges & The Care, Feeding & Cross Examination of Experts


Honorable Roderick T. Kennedy, Associate Justice, New Mexico Court of Appeals (Retired). Throughout his four (4) decade career as a prosecutor, defense lawyer, and trial and appellate court judge, Rod Kennedy has relentlessly explored the many contact points of and at times uneasy relationship between forensic science and the law, doing so in order to improve the quality of the former so it might better serve the latter. His efforts in this area have included publication in the journals of and professional membership in numerous organizations devoted to improvement in the quality of justice and forensic science, both in this country and internationally, and sharing his knowledge by teaching law students, lawyers, prosecutors, and other judges so they might improve upon their knowledge and skills. Judge Kennedy became a Member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in 1994; a Fellow from 1998- present; and Director from 2013-15. Judge Kennedy is also a member of and intimately involved in the work of the International Board of Forensic Engineering Sciences; Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (UK); and the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs, and Traffic Safety. Since retiring late last year Judge Kennedy has begun researching and will soon commence writing a law review article on the Daubert/Kumho Tire admissibility criteria; the trial judge’s role as “Gatekeeper”; and the possibility of unconstitutional burden shifting when criminal defendants challenge the admissibility of evidence in this context. Judge Kennedy is actively engaged in research on innocence issues in the context of recent and ongoing challenges to convictions based upon Shaken Baby Syndrome and the admissibility of expert testimony in eyewitness identification cases. Judge Kennedy received his undergraduate education at the College of Wooster and his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law.

Steven John Laken, Ph.D., President and CEO, Cephos LLC. Dr. Laken founded Cephos in 2004 on the basic principle of getting to the truth. He is a pioneer in the biotechnology field and a qualified DNA expert, with a rich history of forging breakthroughs in molecular testing and product development, clinical studies, and brain-based lie detection. In 2008, Cephos expanded its commercial offerings to include DNA evidence work to aid lawyers in the growing demand for investigation of civil and criminal investigations. Cephos is a CPCS-approved vendor, proud provider to the Public Defender's Office in Massachusetts, and has worked with numerous clients who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit. Dr. Laken is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where he received his Ph. D. in Cellular and Molecular Medicine; the University of Minnesota where he received his BS in Genetics and Cell Biology; and the Colorado State University. Dr. Laken is a frequent publisher, presenter, and has testified as an expert numerous times in the courts of Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Rhode Island as well as the Federal District Court of Tennessee.

Fred Friedman, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota Duluth; Chief Public Defender, Minnesota’s Sixth District, 1986-2014. Fred Friedman has been an attorney since 1972, a public defender in Minnesota since February 1, 1973, and a professor since 1975. He was born and raised in Chicago and Fort Wayne, Indiana. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota, Duluth in 1969 and earned his Juris Doctorate at the University of Minnesota Law School in 1972. He practiced as a full time public defender from 1973 to 1977 and as a part time defender with a private practice specializing in criminal defense and representing professionals in front of licensing boards from 1977 to 1992. Fred served as the Chief Public Defender of Minnesota's Sixth District (northeastern Minnesota) from the spring of 1986 till April of 2014 and is Minnesota's longest serving chief defender in history. Fred has written many articles on trial skills and public defender leadership. He has taught at schools and seminars for the public and private criminal bar and others in Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin, as well as the U.K., France, Germany, and Singapore. Fred is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Duluth where he has taught since 1975 and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology and the School of Medicine. In his spare time Fred co-hosts a radio show on MNPublic Radio alternately entitled "Fool Fred" or "The Sports Page."


Thursday, April 6, 2017, 2:00 - 4:00 PM
Licht Judicial Complex, 250 Benefit Street, Providence

Forensic Science & Reliability Determinations:
Get the Pre-Trial Hearing & Relief You Want, When You Want It

2.0 Hours

I.    Overview of RI Law & Practice

II.    Getting the Hearing & Offers of Proof

III.    Teasing Out the Issues: Shaken Baby Syndrome & Expert Testimony in Eyewitness Identification Cases

IV.    Burdens to Bear: 

Proof        Persuasion    Going Forward        Shifting

V.    Civil Cases-What Can We Learn From Them?

Friday, April 7, 2017, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Community College of Rhode Island, Flanagan Campus
1762 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI

The Care, Feeding & Cross Examination of Experts

I.    Forensic Serology Generally & DNA in Particular: 1.0 Hours

II.    Critical Assessments in DNA Cases: 1.5 Hours

a.    Reports: What to look for and interpretation of test results

b.    Interpretation of raw and compiled data

c.    Potential Issues to Explore

Mixtures                Differential Extraction        
Female DNA in sperm fraction        Incomplete fractions    
Stutter                    Artifacts            
Allelic dropout                Stochastic effect    
Database and familial searching

III.    Cross Examination of Experts: 3.0 Hours

a.    Overview: Tips for Preparing & Engaging in the Cross Examination of Experts

b.    Case Study / Mock Cross Examination

c.    Analysis & Q/A