Hands-on DNA Training for Lawyers

Hands-on DNA Training for Lawyers

On November 15-17, 2013, the defense bar got a big boost in its quest to promote justice. In over 23 hours of hands on training, twenty attorneys assembled at Boise State University to learn DNA analysis. The course itself was taught by Dr. Greg Hampikian, Laura Wendell and Mike Davis.

The premise of this class was that lawyers cannot effectively understand and then teach juries DNA unless they actually do the analysis from beginning to end. And that is what the attendees did. The goal was to learn more about DNA (from collection to reporting of statistics) than an analyst that testifies in court.

In this course, the students were hands-on from sample collection, serology, sample prep, extracting DNA, pipetting, using the spin basket technique, vortexing, micro centrifuging, adding reagents from different kits, quanting, PCRing, the correct use and maintenance of the capillary electrophoresis machine, using Genemapper, using a ThermoCycler, understanding PopStats, and much much more were covered.

The students learn about contamination, interpretation of the electropherograms, artifacts, drop-in, stutter, pull-up, validation, mixture interpretation, use of statistics, calculation of statistics, mtDNA, touch DNA, SNP, LCN, Y-STR, traditional and historic nuclear DNA testing techniques, and much, much more.

The students went over data from important DNA cases such as OJ Simpson and Amanda Knox. The students heard from Charles Fain who spent 17.5 years on death row before his DNA exoneration.

In future courses we will add themes of the case, how to communicate with juries, and cross examination samples/techniques.

I am happy and proud to introduce the graduates of the first ever iteration of the course, the 3 day intensive hands-on “DNA for Lawyers:”

DNA Training for Lawyers I

Pictured standing up from left to right: Stephen Hamilton of Texas, Brian Manchester of Pennsylvania, Clark Adams of Georgia, Jason Edge of Oklahoma, Virginia L. Landry of Califronia, Tad Nelson of Texas, Josh D. Lee of Oklahoma (co-founder of the course), Kim Frye of Georgia, Carrie Valentine of Alabama, Katy Kennedy of Pennsylvania (co-founder of the course), John Thurston of Kansas, Greg Hampikian (primary instructor). Pictured seated from left to right: Marcos Garza of Tennessee, Lance Gooberman of New Jersey, Lisabeth Fryer of Florida, Deandra Grant Clendenin of Texas, Charles Fain (spent 17.5 years on Idaho’s death row before his DNA exoneration), Sarah Toney of Illinois, Laura Wendell (instructor). Pictured kneeling from left to right: Jeremy Brehmer of California, Richard Middlebrook of California, Justin McShane of Pennsylvania (co-founder of the course).

I think they will all agree that this course is worth it and is a total game changer.

For more information on DNA Training for lawyers, please go to www.DNAForLawyers.com

These pictured lawyers are truly part of the emerging trend of justice: the lawyer-scientist. They are leaders!

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