Mock Trial Training for Forensic Scientists

Mock Trial Training for Forensic Scientists

Client: Defense Forensic Science Center

Over the last ten years, courts-martial have grown more complex and the number of forensic experts testifying for both prosecution and defense has grown dramatically. As a result of this and other operational requirements, military use of forensic scientists continues to increase.  During this time, the National Academy of Sciences questioned the foundation of the various forensic sciences, as well as the substance of expert testimony, in its exhaustive and frank report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward.

Colleges and universities graduate talented forensic scientists each year. Yet newly educated forensic scientists, and to great extent forensic scientists as a group, lack two important elements that hinder their effectiveness in the military setting: (1) knowledge of the military justice system and (2) realistic training to develop and hone their skills in testifying.

For the Defense Forensic Science Center, ANSER developed a solution to address these deficiencies. A team of experts developed and administered a comprehensive course to train and evaluate forensic scientists in effective testimony for courts-martial. The team combined their expertise with the evolving needs of the command, integrating past student critiques to present a weeklong hands-on experience for forensic scientists:

  • Developed a 40-hour curriculum, program of instruction, lesson plans, training materials, and metrics used to measure student progress in the course and evaluate instructor performance
  • Regularly deployed a mobile training team of experienced attorneys with extensive backgrounds in military law, along with a forensic scientist with impressive experience in both forensics and testimony

Forensic scientists brought a case file of their own, which then became the foundation for their individual direct and cross examination. After each student’s testimony, the testimony was constructively critiqued by instructors and fellow students, followed by an individual critique with ANSER’s team.

The ANSER team was very proud to have had the opportunity to work with our client to develop and deliver exciting realistic Mock Trial training.  In a world where the complex and difficult work of forensic scientists is simplified in a 50-minute drama on television, juries demand testimony that is accurate, complete and understandable.  Helping Forensic Experts better meet this demand is another example of ANSER’s commitment to helping clients meet the challenges of complex and uncertain environments.  This project highlights our dedication to our values:  Public Service, Integrity, Initiative, Collaboration, and Excellence.

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