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Attorney McShane Hosts Seminar on The Innocence Project at the ACS

August 24, 2012

Attorney Justin McShane recently hosted a seminar at the 244th National Meet­ing & Expo­si­tion of the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety (ACS) entitled: Forensic Science, Chemistry and the Law Presents: Innocence!

The event was well received by the attendees, press, and most importantly both the scientific and legal communities. Here is the press conference for the event:


and another video by the ACS:

Here are some other notable responses to the event:

Scientific American

More Science Needed for Forensic Investigations

A group that has used DNA evidence to free nearly 300 wrongly convicted people from prison reached out to scientists this week, asking chemists to engage with forensic science. Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project, an organization based in New York that investigates potential wrongful convictions, asked researchers at the American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to do more to improve the troubled field of forensic science.

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Red Orbit

Freeing Innocent Men, Project Implores For Science Community’s Help

Thousands of convicted inmates are sitting in a prison, including dozens on death row, that are innocent, but one project is collaborating with the American Chemical Society (ACS) to try and keep forensic experts accountable to science.

Forensic scientists, attorneys and others that are a part of The Innocence Project put out a call to scientists at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society to get involved in trying to exonerate convicted people in the prison system.

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Counsel&Heal

The Innocence Project: When Justice fails, Science Prevails

One of the largest problems with a democratic penal system is that it is inherently unfair. Certain groups have always, and will always, be targeted more harshly in this system. Such a process will always have its hiccups. as new sciences such as DNA testing continues to evolve, people incarcerated as “mosters” can now be proven as innocent as “lambs”. The question is raised: As a society, how do we face the realization that one day we will ultimately put to death (or, more tragic have already put to death) someone who was innocent of the crime for which they were convicted and sentenced to die?

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Science Codex

The Innocence Project: Chemistry helping innocent people proven guilty

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 20, 2012 — Should Lady Justice, that centuries-old personification of truth and fairness in the legal system, cast off her ancient Roman robe, sword and scales and instead embrace 21st century symbols of justice meted out objectively without fear or favor? A scientist’s laboratory jacket, perhaps? And a spiral strand of the genetic material DNA?

An unusual symposium that might beg such a question – showcasing chemistry’s role in righting some of the highest-profile cases of innocent people proven guilty – unfolds today at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). It features presentations by forensic scientists, attorneys and others who used science to right wrongs, freeing innocent people and saving the lives of prisoners on death row.

Justin J. McShane, J.D., co-chair of the ACS Division of Chemistry and the Law – Forensic Science, noted that the session also will include exonerated people who spent time behind bars for crimes they did not commit.

“This combination of people will make this gathering a unique event, one never before done at such a level,” said McShane, who is chairman and CEO of the McShane Firm, Harrisburg, Pa. “It showcases chemistry’s critical, but often-hidden role in protecting the innocent through collection and accurate analysis of crime-scene and other evidence.”
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The Charles Smith Blog

Innocence and chemistry: Innocence Project calls on chemists to support forensics reform

GIST: “Neufeld (C0-director of the Innocence Project) says that misuse of forensic science is a major factor in nearly half the cases investigated by the Innocence Project. He is calling on chemists to lobby Congress individually and through the ACS (American Chemical Society) in support of the bill. But he also wants more scientists to engage with forensic science research. “What we want to do is make forensic science more about science and less about law enforcement,” he says, so it becomes an impartial assessor of evidence rather than a branch of law enforcement. This call was echoed by Frederick Whitehurst, a chemist and former investigator for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. “What we seem to know in the world of science is that there are some real problems in the world of forensic science, and we’d rather work on something cleaner,” he told an ACS session on chemistry and the law. “We don’t seem to want to work with dirty crime sciences.” Whitehurst says that crime-laboratory technicians are often under pressure to produce evidence that agrees with police or prosecutor theories. Scientists can “run into a sledgehammer” when their evidence doesn’t confirm prosecutors’ hypotheses, says Whitehurst, potentially putting their careers at risk. Greg Hampikian, a geneticist at Boise State University in Idaho and director of the Idaho Innocence Project, told the meeting that he regularly has nightmares about the ease with which innocent people can be convicted because of flaws in forensics systems.”

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Nature

Forensic investigation needs more science

A group that has used DNA evidence to free nearly 300 wrongly convicted people from prison reached out to scientists this week, asking chemists to engage with forensic science. Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project, an organization based in New York that investigates potential wrongful convictions, asked researchers at the American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to do more to improve the troubled field of forensic science.

Read more

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