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Confronting Forensic Evidence:  Implications of Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts and Briscoe v. Virginia

New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement Fall Symposium

On November 13, 2009, the New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement co-sponsored its annual symposium with the Flaschner Judicial Institute, entitled "Confronting Forensic Evidence: Implications of Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts and Briscoe v. Virginia." The symposium's prestigious and enthusiastic speakers drew more than 225 attendees including attorneys, judges, academics, and law students from throughout the greater Boston legal community.

The symposium has contributed to the national discussion of these cases, as evidenced by reference to it in a January 19, 2010, New York Times article, "Justices Better at Precedent Than Prescience," and an April 19, 2010, online article in the Harvard Law and Policy Review.

On January 25, 2010, the Supreme Court issued a one-sentence per curiam opinion that vacated the judgment of the Supreme Court of Virginia.  The case was remanded for further proceedings “not inconsistent with the opinion in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts.

The Journal's symposium provided a forum for discussion of the evolving procedures for the admission of forensic evidence in criminal trials, with particular focus on the findings of the recent report by the National Academy of Sciences. The speakers also addressed the practical implications facing prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the forensic science community.

Please click here for a program from the event, which includes the biographies of our speakers and a description of the panel topics.

Please contact Morgan Laurie to order an audio cd of the event.

Panel I:  The Admissibility of Forensic Evidence

FriedmanRichard D. Friedman - Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School; Counsel of Record for Briscoe and Cypress; Submitted Brief of Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner Melendez-Diaz

Mary RogersMary T. Rogers - Attorney,  Law Office of Mary T. Rogers, Salem, MA; Co-counsel for Melendez-Diaz in the Supreme Court; Counsel for Melendez-Diaz in Massachusetts.

Joseph D. KingJoseph D. King - Partner, King and Campbell, PLLC; Counsel for Briscoe

Jeffrey T. GreenJeffrey T. Green - Partner, Sidley Austin, LLP; Counsel of Record for National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Submitted Brief of Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner Melendez-Diaz

Rami S. BadawyRami S. Badawy - Senior Attorney, National District Attorneys Association

Patrick HagganPatrick M. Haggan - Chief Trial Counsel, Suffolk County District Attorney's Office

Hon. David LowyModerated by Hon. David Lowy - Massachusetts Superior Court Judge; Adjunct Professor of Law, New England Law | Boston


Panel II:  Fostering Effective Forensic Analysis

MelsonKenneth E. Melson - Acting Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

BohanThomas L. Bohan - President, American Academy of Forensic Sciences; Director, MTC Forensics

MearnsGeoffrey S. Mearns - Dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University; Member, National Academy of Sciences’ Committee Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Science Community

GrossmanJohn A. Grossman - Undersecretary of Forensic Science and Technology, Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security

GabelJessica D. Gabel - Assistant Professor, Georgia State University College of Law

Professor Victor HansenModerated by Professor David M. Siegel - Professor of Law, New England Law | Boston

Click here for full participant bios.

Further information

Flaschner logo.
Symposium co-sponsor.

To order the Symposium Edition of the Journal click here.

Call for papers:  The New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement and New England Law | Boston seek submissions concerning the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts. (Submission requirements/guidelines.)

For more information, contact Managing Business Editor Morgan Laurie '10.