Forensics Litigation (SC)

Section 1, J-Term 18

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 7/12
Credits: 1
Day Time Room Start Date End Date
  • WRF
  • WRF
  • WRF
  • 1330-1700
  • 0900-1200
  • 0900-1200
  • SL292
  • SL284
  • WB103
01/17/2018 01/19/2018

Course Description

Forensics evidence, from DNA to fingerprints to ballistics, has never been more important in criminal cases. However, litigating scientific evidence in the courtroom is not like it appears on TV shows like CSI—it is challenging and and requires some specialized skills. We are excited to offer a new J-term course to provide those skills by the end of the week you will be able to handle sophisticated scientific evidence in the courtroom. While the focus is on forensics used in criminal cases, many of the same principles and skills apply when litigating scientific evidence in any type of case. The course will be a practicum: a scientific evidence trial advocacy course. We will begin with introductory lectures both on forensics and how to prepare for trial, so that students will be fully ready for their parts in a final eight hour day of simulations. During the simulations, the "prosecutors" will first interview their forensic experts (we plan to bring in practicing fingerprint examiners to participate), and talk to them about their case files, from real cases. The prosecutors and defense lawyers will conduct motion in limine hearings, and finally, both sides will conduct mock trials with direct and cross-examination of forensic experts. A sitting judge will likely join us to preside. We will stop in between each session to exchange feedback and talk about what worked and what did not. Each student will have a chance to present in these simulations. The course will also be to open to a select group of about ten experienced practicing criminal lawyers.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Each student will write an 8-10 page paper, due via EXPO no later than noon on Feb. 2nd describing what worked and what did not during the portion of the simulated case that they worked on. Student grades will be based on the paper, participation in class discussions, and planning and advocacy in the simulations.

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: Evidence or Trial Advocacy recommended, but not required. Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: No
First Day Attendance Required: Yes
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Friday, January 05, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Sunday, January 21, 11:59 PM