Chris Palenik Speaks to NACDL on Nanotrace Evidence

Chris Palenik NACDL presentation


The NACDL‘s (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) 11th Annual Forensic Science & the Law Conference, “Making Sense of Science” will take place on May 10th and 11th, 2018 in Las Vegas. On Thursday, May 10th, Microtrace Senior Research Microscopist Christopher Palenik will present on “Nanotrace Evidence in Forensic Investigations.”

Forensic analyses, used almost exclusively for the purpose of prosecution, have been under fire in the past decade from academic science, defense councils, innocence projects, and policy makers. This talk will review four distinct areas of a forensic investigation that are subject to errors: analysis, interpretation, reporting, and testimony. Each of these areas will be explored through case examples that span a variety of evidence, including: hair, fibers, glass, paint, and gunshot residue. The case examples will illustrate the ways in which a thorough review by a qualified subject matter expert can assist defense counsel with a dissection of technical discovery documents, options for additional analyses that may clarify an issue, suggestions for novel analyses that may produce new evidence in an old case, and an approach to cross-examination that ensures the state expert provides balanced testimony. While this talk will utilize examples from trace evidence, the concepts in this talk will be generally applicable to the entire technical discipline of forensic science.



The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is the preeminent organization in the United States advancing the mission of the nation’s criminal defense lawyers to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or other misconduct. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL’s approximately 9,200 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys — include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, active U.S. military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness within America’s criminal justice system.

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