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Source Code on Trial Symposium

Source Code On Trial Symposium

FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2021

2:30-4 p.m. CST

Over a decade has passed since The National Academy of Forensic Science’s report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, called on the scientific community to examine the scientific foundations and limitations of various forensic disciplines. The report spurred important collaborations between the criminal justice and scientific communities. As a result, new probabilistic and statistical methods are rapidly being developed to analyze forensic evidence. These methods, while a promising opportunity for a scientific-driven and objective approach to forensic evidence, are implemented through computer programs. The instructions for these programs are contained within the source code.

Now, a natural question is being asked in courts across the country: should criminal defendants have access to the source code of programs used to analyze forensic evidence? In this symposium, we begin to explore the issue of access to source code in criminal trials.

The Source Code on Trial symposium is free and open to the public, but members of the legal community, forensic practitioners and forensic science researchers are encouraged to attend. The symposium will be held virtually.

Registration is Open!

Resources on

Source Code


2:30 p.m. CST

Computer Source Code in Criminal Trials: An Introduction

Edward Imwinkelried, the Edward L. Barrett, Jr. Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of California, Davis, will give an overview of evidentiary issues related to access to source code in criminal trials. He will cover how criminal courts have handled the question of access to source code in the past and traditional legal remedies for protecting proprietary source code.

3 p.m. CST

A 360
View on Source Code

A panel discussion to explore how to ensure a fair trial for criminal defendants when computer programs are used to analyze forensic evidence. The panel will include legal scholars, practitioners, and a scientist. The panelists will discuss when access to source code is necessary, alternatives to access to source code in evaluating computer programs, and how to protect proprietary interests for computer program developers. Participants will be able to submit questions during this session.


Ed ImwinkelriedEd Imwinkelried

Edward L. Barrett, Jr. Professor of Law Emeritus
University of California, Davis

Ed Imwinkelried is the Edward L. Barrett, Jr. Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of California, Davis. He is the co-author of Giannelli, Imwinkelried, Roth, Campbell Moriarty & Beety, Scientific Evidence (6th ed. 2020) and the forensic science chapter in the Federal Judicial Center’s Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence (3d ed. 2011) as well as the author of The Methods of Attacking Scientific Evidence (5th ed. 2014). He was a member of the NIST Expert Group on fingerprint examination and the Legal Issues Working Group for the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence. He was the 2021 recipient of the American Association of Law School Evidence Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rebecca Wexler

Rebecca Wexler

Assistant Professor of Law 
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

Rebecca Wexler is an assistant professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she teaches, researches and writes on issues concerning data, technology and criminal justice. Her work has focused on evidence law, criminal procedure, privacy and intellectual property protections surrounding new data-driven criminal justice technologies. She is also a faculty co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology.

Mark Perlin

Mark Perlin

Chief Scientist and Executive

Dr. Mark Perlin is Chief Scientist and Executive of Cybergenetics, maker of the TrueAllele® probabilistic genotyping system, and forensic DNA expert services provider. Perlin developed TrueAllele twenty years ago, solving the DNA mixture problem by inventing probabilistic genotyping computer methods, publishing extensively in this area. He holds doctoral degrees in mathematics (City University of New York) and computer science (Carnegie Mellon University) and a medical degree (University of Chicago). Perlin has testified for both prosecution and defense about reliable unbiased computer DNA evidence in state, federal, military and foreign courts. 

Ric SimmonsRic Simmons

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Ric Simmons is a professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was a Stone Scholar and a senior editor of the Columbia Law Review. Following law school, he clerked for the Honorable Laughlin E. Waters of the Central District of California and then served as an assistant district attorney for New York County. 

Simmons’ research focuses on the intersection of the Fourth Amendment and new technology. He has written about the use of big data in the criminal justice system, searches of cell phones and other electronic devices, and hyper-intrusive surveillance devices. Simmons is frequently cited in the local and national media on criminal procedure issues.

Simmons is the author of Smart Surveillance: How to Interpret the Fourth Amendment in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge Press 2019), and he has co-authored three casebooks: Learning Evidence: From the Federal Rules to the Courtroom (4th ed. West 2017), Learning Criminal Procedure (2nd ed. West 2019) and Learning Criminal Procedure: Adjudications (2nd ed. West 2019). He is also the co-author of the hornbook Understanding Criminal Procedure: Investigations (7th ed. Carolina Academic Press 2017).  

Kelley KulickKelley Kulick

Deputy Public Defender
Santa Clara County

Kelley Kulick is a deputy public defender for Santa Clara County with over 20 years of experience. She is adept in all aspects of litigation and was awarded Santa Clara County Public Defender Award for 2020 and CPDA’s Public Defender of the Year in 2016. Kelley is a regular presenter both locally and nationally on forensics, including at the National Convention for the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Kelley also teaches forensic science and the law at Santa Clara University School of Law. Most recently, Kelley, her co-counsel Michael Ogul and their team won a complete acquittal in a death penalty trial for their client, Manuel Lopez, who was found not guilty of all charges.


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