Tuesday, February 20 | 7:15 am - 8:15 am | Included with conference registration
In this presentation, Judge Stephanie Domitrovich and former Judge Milt Nuzum will facilitate an interactive dialog with the session attendees as they examine a series of cases and scenarios that test the limits of a trial judge's judicial discretion in admitting scientific and technical forensic evidence. Attendees will analyze a series of scenarios based on actual cases and place themselves in the role of a trial judge in making decisions on admissibility of the evidence in each scenario.
The goals of this presentation are: (1) to examine a series of cases and scenarios that test the limits of a trial judge's judicial discretion in admitting scientific and technical forensic evidence; and (2) to help attendees understand the Rules of Evidence and relevant case law that establish the guidelines a trial judge must follow in making critical decisions on the admissibility of scientific and technical forensic evidence.
Stephanie Domitrovich, JD, PhD
Administrative Office of PA Courts
Milton Nuzum, III, JD
Tuesday, February 20 | 8:30 am - 9:30 am | Included with conference registration
The unregulated veterinary drug xylazine is emerging as a cause of death in state correctional facilities. Unlike the drug fentanyl, there is no antidote. The origins and toxicity of the drug are discussed and illustrated with a case study of an offender death due to xylazine mixed with fentanyl.
The goals of this presentation are to: (1) identify physical symptoms of xylazine use, (2) identify treatment for xylazine overdose, and (3) obtain proper toxicology samples in case of fatal overdose.
Marie E. Lasater, MD
Texas County Government
Wednesday, February 21 | 7:15 am - 8:15 am | Included with conference registration
This presentation will call attention to gaps in the quality oversight structure by questioning the current perceptions of forensic laboratory accreditation, highlighting its strengths and limitations, providing specific examples of where failures have occurred, and discussing potential opportunities for improvement.
This presentation is intended to highlight common misconceptions regarding accreditation and quality assurance in United States forensic laboratories. Accreditation is often misdescribed by practitioners and misunderstood by judges and juries. As a result of participation in this presentation, attendees will gain a clearer understanding of the role of forensic laboratory accreditation in the United States, including its strengths and limitations.
Tiffany A. Roy, JD, MSFS
Forensic DNA Expert
West Palm Beach, FL
Kimberly S. Kunkler, PhD
Thursday, February 22 | 7:15 am - 8:15 am | Included with conference registration
In 2023, the independence of forensic pathology in the context of Medicolegal Death Investigations (MDI) was directly attacked by the introduction of various state legislative proposals and bills passed into law. These legislative proposals and laws erode the ability of forensic pathologists to maintain impartiality and objectivity, mandate particular findings on death certificates, and allow non-physicians to perform autopsies. The cause for alarm is heightened by the apparent lack of scientific and medical underpinnings in the bills and laws. This program will address threats to the independence and neutrality of MDI and the medical practice of forensic pathology.
After attending this presentation, attendees will understand the importance of monitoring and evaluating state legislative proposals through a prioritized, anticipatory process. Vigilance in monitoring is warranted due to the recent uptick in legislative proposals and passed bills that dictate processes and outcomes in MDIs. The information obtained by attendees will enable proactive and informed responses to proposed legislation that encroaches on the independence of forensic pathology and MDI.
M.J. Menendez, JD
Senior Fellow/General Counsel
Willow Grove, PA
Joyce L. deJong, DO
Professor and Chair
Department of Pathology
Western Michigan University
Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine
Friday, February 23 | 7:15 am - 8:15 am | Included with conference registration
This presentation will address how two recent trends in forensic DNA analysis require stakeholders to re-evaluate the power of DNA evidence to accurately distinguish the guilty from the innocent. First, courts must learn to account for the increased sensitivity of current DNA testing methods and the ensuing risk that DNA recovered from a crime-scene is unrelated to the crime. Second, courts must learn to account for the increased use of probabilistic genotyping software programs and common misunderstandings about the meaning and limitations of the subsource likelihood ratios generated by such programs. Research exploring how each of these trends impacts stakeholders' abilities to distinguish the guilty from the innocent is urgently needed to prevent wrongful convictions.
The goal of this presentation is to explore the urgent need to further research how recent technological advancements in forensic DNA analysis are impacting the administration of justice in the American criminal court system.
J.D. Schmid, JD
Saturday, February 24 | 8:00 am - 9:00 am | Included with conference registration
This presentation will cover how the New Jersey State Police Fugitive Unit, New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Sciences Forensic Anthropology Unit, and the United States Marshal's Office were able to locate and close one of New Jersey's Top 10 Most Wanted cases — the case of Anthony Mota. Even in death, we strive to resolve and provide closure and justice to our victims and their families.
After attending this presentation, attendees will understand how to execute an international exhumation, gain knowledge of the valuable resources that the United States Marshal's Office can provide for assistance in cases, learn what samples provide the best DNA results, and the importance of documentation throughout a complex case.
Anna W. Delaney, MA
New Jersey State Police
Saturday, February 24 | 9:15 am - 10:15 am | Included with conference registration
This presentation is a case review of the largest human body parts industry investigation in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) history. Death Harvester was opened by the author as an organized crime case in the Detroit Field Office in 2011. Its purpose was to investigate the illegal sale of human remains for research and education that was taking place through a network of anatomical supply companies. What started with the finding of severed heads in a rusty van ultimately resulted in the seizing of thousands of human remains across the country, the closure of four body donation programs, the arrest and conviction of seven individuals, and the identification, cremation, and return of human remains to hundreds of victim families.
This presentation will help the attendee to better understand the global trade in human remains for research and education, the common crimes associated with the trade, what has been, and can still be, done to stop the illegal activity, and the roles that forensic science professionals can play.
Paul Micah Johnson, PhD
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Saturday, February 24 | 10:30 am - 11:30 am | Included with conference registration
Under any other circumstances, a child sex offender would have to approach a child and converse, which is a much more difficult hurdle in terms of circumstance, intellectual capability, and social functioning. Online communication has dispensed with much of the social skills and verbal communication required to seduce a child, which may have deterred some offenders, and given them direct access to children, many of whom are on-line with little or no adult/parent supervision. In response to this crisis, law enforcement has adopted a number of proactive strategies to enforce child-protective criminal statutes. Those statutes, the communication elements of the internet, and the development of law enforcement efforts in this field will be discussed.
After attending this presentation, attendees will: (1) learn what conduct on the part of individuals expressing a sexual interest in children is illegal, and what conduct, though possibly objectionable, is protected by United States Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms; (2) learn to identify the various communication elements of the internet; (3) be able to understand how persons expressing a sexual interest in children make use of the various communication components of the internet to contact both persons who share similar interests and potential child victims; and (4) be introduced to several proactive techniques used by law enforcement, and the technology that makes them possible, to target and investigate criminal child sex offenders online.
Paul C. Graf, MS
Independent Consultant of Child Abuse Legal Matters
Sr. Special Agent, NCIS (Retired)
Castle Rock, CO
JUSTICE FOR ALL
AAFS 2024 | Denver, CO | February 19-24