I was fortunate to attend the “Daubert Litigation Training for Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys” held January 31, 2014 in Orlando. The seminar was sponsored by the Innocence Project of Florida, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Florida Public Defender Association.
Seth Miller put together this seminar in a creative manner. First speaker Joe Sanders is a Plaintiff’s consumer attorney who has litigated Daubert issues in a variety of contexts. His presentation contained a wealth of useful material. Keith Findley, Director of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, gave a comprehensive history of the rise and fall of the “Shaken Baby Syndrome.” Carrie Sperling from Wisconsin had many helpful pointers about what should be included in a Daubert motion and hearing. And Ernie Chang knocked ballistics and firearms evidence out of the park. The litigation that he described sets the new standard for effective assistance of counsel in any case where firearm or tool mark identification is at issue.
When we think about the three sponsoring organizations we tend to focus on the day to day defense of individual clients. This conference showed how influential our work is to overall criminal justice reform. So called experts have been testifying to made up “facts” and unproven theories for too long. I really appreciate that we now have an opportunity to meaningfully challenge false forensic science evidence.