Articles Posted in Science and Technology

Jurimetrics, The Journal of Law, Science and Technology (ISBN 0897-1277), published quarterly, is the journal of the American Bar Association, Section of Seience & Technology law and the Center for Study of Law, Science and Technology of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University. It was first published in 1959 under the leadership of Layman Allen as Modern Uses of Logic in Law (MULL). A former name, Jurimetrics Journal, was adopted in 1966. The current name was adopted in 1978. Until now Jurimetrics has been published and distributed in hard copy. Soon ( beginning with the Winter 2010 issue) Jurimetrics will be electronic only.

According to the American Bar Association, here is how this works: Subscribers will receive an e-mail message letting them know when a new issue is available. That e-mail will include a link to a Web site where subscribers can lood at all of the abstracts and then download-or print out-any of the articles they want to read in PDF format.

The electronic version will be fully searchable, so subscribers can scan Jurimetrics for topics that are of interest. According to ABA this enhanced format also means that subscribers can be provided with more articles, “packed with more information–and get them to you much faster.”

David Badertscher
Legal experts and prosecutors are quite concerned about possible results of the June 25, 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts 07-591. In this decision the Court has ruled that forensic analysts conducting tests must be in court to testify about their test results and that lab sheets that identify a substance as a narcotic, or breath test printouts describing a suspect’s blood-alcohol level are no longer to be considered as sufficient evidence. A person is now required to be in court to talk about the test results. The basic question the Supreme Court addressed in this opinion was: “Is a state forensic analyst’s laboratory report prepared for use in a criminal prosecution “testimonial” evidence subject to the demands of the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause as set forth in Crawford v. Washington?”* In its ruling the Supreme Court answered, yes.
_________________________ *The above quote was taken from discussion of this opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court Oyez website at. . This site also includes links to the text of the opinion as well at to the Syllabus, dissent, concurrance, and argument. For additional information see discussion in a July 15, 2009 Washington Post article by Tom Jackman, and follow the link on the U.S. Supreme Court website.


It’s easier to solve crime today than it was 50 years ago, because of the advances that have been made in the field of science, or to be more specific, forensic science. In fact, new and innovative crime solving techniques are being introduced by the day to help law enforcement officers solve cases that are baffling at first. If we took a long and hard look at the role that forensics play in the fields of criminal law and justice, we would see how important it is in solving crime because:

It helps establish the nature of the crime: There are some crimes that are accidents and others that are by design. Looking at the evidence through a forensic microscope allows cops and others in the law enforcement area to determine if the crime was a murder, suicide or other form of accidental death. In the case of a murder, forensic evidence tells them if the crime was accidental or carried out in cold blood. Forensic science is also used to investigate and solve burglaries, drug offenses, arsons and automobile accidents.

The following is an announcement from Luis Villa, the outgoing Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review (STLR). Beginning with Volume X STLR will become a “formal open access journal and comply with the recent Durham Statement on open access” and will become the first Columbia journal to publish through the Columbia University Library’s archival quality Academic Commons publication system:


Most of you know me from past ventures; for those who don’t, my apologies for reaching out to you in this manner, but it is a one-time event that I hope you’ll find it worth your attention.

While most agree that forensic science is a critical element of the criminal justice system, there are increasing expressions of concern as to whether it is becoming fragmanted, less reliable, and urgently needs an infusion of financial and research support in order to remain viable.

These and related concerns have been discussed in a variety of books, journals as well as the web media. Of particular interest to many is the National Academy of Sciences Report on Forensics which addresses directly many of the points mentioned above. While I cannot link directly to that Report here I can link to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) catalog where you can purchase a copy: . There may be a free summary available at that site. The NAS Report is also discussed in some depth in an American Judicature Society Editorial at Also recommended is the Comments on the Release of the NAS Report on Forensic Sciences by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD).

Recognizing the growing concern and importane of viable forensics, the New York Times has devoted most of the Science Section of its May 12, 2009 issue to what it calls the “New Forensics”. This issue contains a wide selection of articles addressing various aspects of forensic science as related to criminal justice. Links to a few are included in the listings below:”


60 Minutes to Report on Eyewitness Identification Reform

The CBS News show, 60 Minutes will air a two-segment report on Eyewitness Identification Reform on Sunday, March 8, 2009, at 7pm EST.

To be held on April 3-4, 2009 in Tempe, Arizona.

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University will host an international conference, Forensic Science for the 21st Century: The National Academy of Sciences Report and Beyond,” on April 3-4 in Tempe, Ariz. The focal point of the conference, for which CLE will be available, is the long-awaited National Academy of Sciences’ report on the future of forensic science, which will be released at 1 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Feb. 18, at a press briefing and via Webcast at Early registration for the conference, which offers a $250 discount off the at-the-door rate, closes on Friday, Feb. 27. The conference will include nearly three dozen renowned experts in the field, including both co-chairmen of the NAS forensic science committee, and many others. This conference is a must-attend for any practitioner who produces, uses or evaluates forensic science evidence, including prosecutors, public defenders, private attorneys, judges, forensic scientists, criminalists and others. Details:

The above titled January 27, 2009 article by John Markoff, published in the New York Times is relevant because it discusses digitization, preservation and authentication of records (and by extension information) in terms of continuously preserving these qualities in an authentic state as the underlying technology constantly changes or “shifts” over time, thus taking into account and emphasizing the importance of both the initial authentication of information in accordance with accepted polices and practices and the urgency of maintaining that authenticity over time. In terms of this discussion the question for law librarians and others throughout the legal profession working with digital legal information is how to best provide assurance that primary and other legal information officially authenticated at a given time can be safely perceived as remaining reliably authentic over a much longer period of time in the midst of these constant shifts? Since John Markoff’s article may help us at least clarify these issues I wanted to share it with you.

David Badertscher

Here are some excerpts:

Notes from Law Technology News Online Update November 17, 2008.

Cell Phones

“If you use a handheld device while driving in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, or Washington (state or D.C.), you are breaking the law. Utah and New Hampshire have some mention of handheld cell phone use – but mostly as a means of enacting distracted driver laws. Some jurisdictions have bans in certain cities (including Phoenix and Detroit).”

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