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August 2, 2016

Symposium: Exonerations and Backlogs (eligible for 4.5 CLE and .5 ethics)

The Houston Forensic Science Center (HFSC) Educational Seminars are designed to provide tools to teachers to engage students and increase their interest in the sciences through forensics. TV has given forensic science a pop culture appeal, and HFSC hopes to capitalize on this by using it to increase students' interest in science. HFSC will provide attendees with a list of materials, books and publications instrumental to curriculum development.

What: Exonerations and Backlogs
Where: University of St. Thomas: Scanlan Hall
When: August 11, 2016, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
$100, including breakfast and lunch
Eligible for 4.5 CLE hours, .5 Ethics credits 

For more information:
Jordan Benton 


Please complete registration form with payment.

Full payment is required prior to first day of class. Cancellations made 30 days prior to the first day of class will receive a full refund; cancellations within 15-29 days will be refunded at 50% of the course cost, and cancellations made less than 15 days before the event will not be refunded.

Attendees will receive written course confirmation prior to course start date.
Houston Forensic Science Center, Inc. reserves the right to cancel the above course due to unforeseen circumstances outside our control; we strongly encourage necessary travel arrangements be made upon receipt of written confirmation.

Exonerations and Backlogs

The Houston Forensic Science Center is hosting a symposium as part of its celebration of National Forensic Science Week. The symposium will include two panel discussions designed to bring attention to some of the biggest issues in the forensic community today. The first panel includes an exoneree who faced two execution dates for six murders he didn't commit. This panel will discuss the practical and ethical challenges faced by attorneys representing individuals arrested on drug charges based on faulty field tests and addresses the new procedures established to prevent wrongful convictions in the future.

The second panel will tackle the national rape kit backlog, the challenges laboratories face when eliminating the backlogs and the obstacles rape victims face due to these hurdles. This panel will also provide guidance for attorneys handling cases involving DNA evidence. Debbie Smith, a sexual assault survivor, will share her story as the keynote speaker. Ms. Smith is the founder of H-E-A-R-T, Hope Exists After Rape Trauma, and the 2004 federal act that provides forensic laboratories with funding to battle DNA backlogs, is named for her.

Tom Allen, HFSC's general counsel, will provide a morning overview of the Michael Morton Act, and its legal benefits and challenges.