Session

All Eyes on Me: Facing the Courtroom Under the Zoom Lens

Tuesday September 14th, 2021 // 11:55 am - 12:15 pm // Fiesta Ballroom

The chaos of a global pandemic in 2020 brought along the devastation of the loss of loved ones, massive supply shortages of raw materials, closing of businesses, the list goes on and on… Forensic laboratories across the world were faced with sharing the supply chain of consumables with the ever‐growing needs of COVID testing laboratories while balancing social distancing and new safety procedures. As the world slowly starts to return to business, new challenges are faced by restrictions in the courtrooms. Combining the nerves of regular testimony with personal protective equipment (PPE) on the stand, along with temperature checks, and new check‐in procedures, adds to the stress of everyday testimony. However, many courtrooms are opting for another choice, virtual testimony. What does this mean for confrontation clause challenges? How will scientists convey their findings to a jury through the zoom lens? This presentation will highlight some of the challenges and advantages experienced in the changes of courtroom testimony in 2020 and beyond.

Speakers

Tarah Nieroda

Quality Assurance Laboratory Processing Specialist and a Senior DNA Analyst, DNA Labs International (DLI)

Tarah Nieroda has over 7 years of experience in forensic DNA casework and previously worked at the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory. She began working at DNA Labs International (DLI) in 2018 and is currently a Quality Assurance Laboratory Processing Specialist and a Senior DNA Analyst.

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Rachel Oefelein

DNA Labs International (DLI)

Rachel Oefelein is currently the Director of Research and Innovation, Quality Assurance Manager, and a Senior DNA Analyst at DNA Labs International (DLI). Since joining DNA Labs International in 2014, Rachel has testified in eleven Florida counties, five states and U.S. Territories, and five countries as an expert witness for both the prosecution and the defense in misdemeanor and felony trials, as well as Williams, Daubert, and Arthur hearings.

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