February 2012 American Academy of Forensic Sciences Workshop on Flawed Forensics a Huge Success
PR Log - Mar 06, 2012 - Andrew Sulner, MSFS, JD, D-BFDE, Vice President of the Board of Forensic Document Examiners (http://www.bfde.org), organized and chaired a highly successful full-day workshop at the 64th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences held in Atlanta, Georgia from February 20th through February 25th. The workshop, entitled "Flawed Forensics: Recognizing and Challenging Misleading Forensic Evidence and Disingenuous Expert Testimony,” featured a multidisciplinary faculty of distinguished speakers and nationally recognized experts who discussed the problems and ongoing challenges facing forensic scientists testifying in criminal and civil cases. The workshop was held on February 21, 2012 and attracted over 200 participants, making it one of the largest attended workshops offered at an annual meeting of the AAFS
Seton Hall University Law School Professor Michael Risinger discussed the uses and limits of cross-examination to reveal weaknesses in the testimony of forensic scientists; Peter Neufeld of the Innocence Project described criminal cases in which deficiencies in report writing and incomplete or misleading testimony by forensic practitioners contributed to wrongful convictions; Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. David Benjamin discussed cases involving misleading and disingenuous testimony by forensic pathologists and toxicologists; Andrew Sulner described the different types of casework “peer review” that exist, actual instances of disingenuous casework peer review testimony by forensic document examiners, and when peer review testimony by the actual reviewer will be precluded; criminal defense attorneys Linda Kenney Baden and Jose Baez, lead counsel in the Casey Anthony murder trial, illustrated the challenges faced by defense counsel before and during a criminal trial that draws a lot of media attention and described the methods employed to impeach and discredit the forensic evidence presented by the prosecution in the Casey Anthony trial; criminal defense attorney and NAS Committee Member Marvin Schechter discussed the impact of the 2009 NAS Report on cross-examining forensic experts, the need for further reforms in the forensic and legal communities, and some of the latest recommendations being offered to improve the integrity and reliability of forensic case work; New York State Supreme Court Judge Joseph Maltese discussed the trial judge’s role in preventing the misleading use of journal articles, treatises, and studies or experiments to substantiate or attack the basis for an expert opinion in the pre-trial and trial phases of a case; and Pennsylvania State Court Trial Judge Stephanie Domitrovich discussed the ethical implications for a trial judge faced with disingenuous expert testimony and the nature of the judicial response that can ensue.
Workshop attendees were reportedly very pleased with the informative presentations and thick handout of educational materials they received.
About Andrew Sulner, MSFS, JD Andrew Sulner is a board certified forensic document examiner and attorney who holds a Master of Science degree in Forensic Science and a Juris Doctorate degree from George Washington University. The Sulner name is associated with three generations of document examiners, and Andrew Sulner has over 30 years of experience in examining questioned and disputed documents on behalf of major law firms, banks, insurance companies and financial institutions, as well as federal and state law enforcement and regulatory agencies. Mr. Sulner, who is also a certified fraud examiner and former state prosecutor, has been consulted nationally and internationally as an expert in determining the authenticity of documents, and his expert testimony has been favorably cited in numerous federal and state court decisions. His state of the art forensic document laboratory is located in the heart of New York City.
Mr. Sulner is a Diplomate of the Board of Forensic Document Examiners (BFDE), a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), and a member of the Association of Forensic Document Examiners, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the National District Attorneys Association, and the New York, Florida, California and District of Columbia Bars. He currently serves as Secretary of the Jurisprudence Section of the AAFS, Vice-President of the BFDE, and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Forensic Document Examination.
About the Board of Forensic Document Examiners (BFDE) The Board of Forensic Document Examiners was established to administer a professional certification program designed to evaluate the knowledge, practical skills and abilities of forensic document examiners. Its goal is to provide a meaningful credential that the legal community can confidently rely upon when selecting a forensic document examiner.
The BFDE is the first forensic document examiner certification board to be accredited by the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board (FSAB), with the hallmark of being the only one that proctors all phases of its certification testing. Board certification is awarded to all document examiners who pass the written and performance exams that are proctored by independent officials at most of the nation’s university testing centers. The BFDE certification program is on a voluntary basis and is open to any document examiner who meets the prerequisites for testing. The BFDE requires all of its certificate holders, known as Diplomates, to adhere to a prescribed Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. To learn more visit http://www.bfde.org.
About the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) The American Academy of Forensic Sciences is one of the world's largest and most renowned organizations of forensic scientists, with nearly 6,000 members in 57 countries. As the world's most prestigious forensic science organization, the AAFS serves as the focal point for public information concerning the forensic science profession. To learn more visit http://www.aafs.org.
The Board of Forensic Document Examiners is a certification board in the field of forensic document examination. BFDE is accredited by the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board, meeting requirements of reliability and validity in its testing process.