Skip to main content

Since the 1990’s UNC has been an integral part of a wide ranging effort to educate the US (and international) judiciary in matters of science and technology.  Authorization for expansion of the Bryson Program’s activities for judicial science education was completed in late 2017.  The central theme is training of judges to use science in adjudication procedures and to expand jurisdiction capacities for so doing.  A national scope was adopted.  An informal partnership with the National Courts and Sciences Institute was formed.  During 2018, implementing activities were placed within a newly-established Center managed by the Program’s Director, Dr. James P. Evans. Within the Program’s scope, the Program has implemented the following activities:

January – March 2018 – Designed and planned a UNC-based judges science planning conference to precede a national seminar on science in the courtroom scheduled for August 2018 and invited judges and science advisors to participate in the on-site planning conference.  Refined agenda for conference and arranged meeting venue.

April 25-27, 2018 – Conducted planning conference with support of UNC leadership.  Previewed Science in the Courtroom national seminar.  Sixteen judges and 20 science advisors participated.  Consensus emerged for more court-salient scientific instruction.  A working group at UNC formed, including experts from the Department of Genetics, RENCI, the Sheps Center, and the Law School.

May 2018 – Designed and planned the Science in the Courtroom Seminar to be held August 28-30.  Focus group testing of adjudication scenarios implemented the planning conference’s consensus.

June 2018 – Initiated three on-site technical workshops for resource judge specialized scientific background use.  Technical workshops planned to follow, expand and apply with greater detail the August national Science in the Courtroom Seminar.

July 2018 – Negotiated November 2018 genetic engineering evidence program agenda and arrangements with Dr. Gene E. Robinson, Director, University of Illinois Institute for Genomic Biology.

August 2018 – Conducted the national judicial seminar on Science in the Courtroom at and hosted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC.  Forty-six judges and 20 science and legal advisors participated in a 2-1/2 day program.  Anonymous ARS real-time evaluation procedure resulted in generally high satisfaction with the program.  Science advisors included key faculty for the technical workshops scheduled to follow this Seminar.  The Seminar’s complete presentation arrays are available as are edited videos of most Seminar sessions.

September 2018 – Supplied August Seminar’s presentation arrays and session videos with all participants.  Negotiated program, speakers and adjudication exemplars with the staff of the University of Illinois Institute for Genomic Biology on behalf of the November 2018 judges’ technical workshop.

October 2018 – Negotiated program and began initial negotiations for speakers and adjudication exemplars with a working group planning the April 9-11, 2019 health care outcomes research evidence (HCORE) technical workshop, scheduled at UNC. Selected addictive disorders causation, treatment and recovery measures as the HCORE technical workshop’s principal subject focus.   Negotiated program and began initial negotiations on speakers and adjudication exemplars with a working group planning the June 5-8, 2019  Developmental Neurobiology, Brain Function and Risk Assessment Workshop at Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha.

November 2018 – Conducted technical workshop for judges at University of Illinois Institute for Genomic Biology.

April 9, 2019 – Convene the first meeting of the UNC Bryson Program for Judicial Science Education National Advisory Board.