January 20- Stetson University College of Law forms the nation’s first clearinghouse on science and technology Program director served as a consultant to CSI Miami

Contact Frank Klim
Executive Director of Communications
(727) 562-7889

Gulfport, Fla. – To help legal professionals keep up with cutting-edge crime-solving techniques and to train the next generation of scientific investigators, Stetson University College of Law recently formed the National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law.

The clearinghouse will educate lawyers, judges and law enforcement personnel about new technology, methods of evaluating evidence and whether such evidence is admissible in court. In addition to helping those already in the field, the clearinghouse will expose students to unique first-hand learning opportunities.

“This innovative program will be an important resource for judges, lawyers and legal professionals,” Dean Darby Dickerson said. “Stetson is proud to bring this valuable service to the legal community. We are grateful to Congressman Young for helping us obtain the federal funding to make this program possible.”

The National Institute of Justice, the research and development arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, funded the clearinghouse for 2003. Congressman C.W. Bill Young, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, was instrumental in obtaining the funding for the project.

Hit television show “CSI” has popularized techniques real-life investigators use everyday. Stetson professor and Clearinghouse Director Carol Henderson served as a technical consultant to “CSI Miami,” and she knows real legal legwork is not exactly like it is on television. However, the shows have generated greater interest in forensic research.

“Scientists, lawyers and judges are overwhelmed by the amount of information required to keep pace with new developments in science and technology,” Henderson said. “We are here to help point legal professionals in the right direction so that justice can be served.”

The clearinghouse was created in August and Henderson began teaching at Stetson with the start of spring semester classes. On Jan. 27, Henderson will lead students on an investigation of a set-up crime scene. With the aid of local law enforcement and forensic experts, students will use real techniques to “solve” the faux crime.

“There are few institutions where students are able to receive these advanced skills,” Henderson said. “Stetson is really leading the way in bringing all these resources together.”

The clearinghouse will also bring nationally recognized experts to Stetson’s campus for a series of free presentations. Later this spring the students will depose a medical examiner and cross examine a forensic dentist.

Student researchers at Stetson College of Law and Nova Southeastern University have joined Henderson and her team to create a comprehensive bibliography of court decisions, scholarly publications and other materials in the fields of law and science.

The information gathered will be made available online and in a searchable CD-ROM to be distributed early this year. The CD is being developed through a cooperative agreement between the National Institute of Justice and the National Forensic Science and Technology Center in Largo, Fla.