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Where Fact Meets Fiction: The Impact of Pop Culture on Forensic and Legal Practices

TV forensic and legal shows not only are having an impact on pop culture, but have become forces in how forensic science and law are being practiced.

A close-up look at one of the most popular shows, Inside the World of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, will be provided by David Berman and Jon Wellner, actors and writers for CSI, at Saturday’s final sessions of the eighth annual Forensic Science and Law Conference at Duquesne University.

The phenomenon known as the CSI effect, which brings heightened juror expectations and more ambitious adversaries into the courtroom, will take a prime-time spot during the afternoon sessions as panelists discuss Understanding The CSI Effect on Jurors, Judges, Experts and Attorneys.

Additionally, forensic scientists who have become writers or consultants to some of the popular shows and books, as well as show producers, authors, actors and reporters, will discuss such topics as:

  • The Impact of CSI on CSI by Henry Lee, criminalist and former host of Trace Evidence
  • The Role of Media in Winning Criminal Cases by Dawna Kaufmann, freelance investigative reporter for Globe and The National Enquirer
  • Expert Consulting for the News by ABC News consultant and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner
  • Literary Autopsy: How to Write Commercial Books with Professional Integrity, an interview with Dr. Cyril Wecht, author and forensic pathologist in many celebrity cases by Katherine Ramsland, forensic psychologist
  • When Art Meets Crime: The Work of Forensic Artists by Karen T. Taylor, consultant for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

During the three-day conference, top authors, TV writers and forensic scientists will examine how they can learn from and contribute to teach other’s work. The conference, which is presented by the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law and the Duquesne University School of Law in collaboration with the Pittsburgh 250 initiative, is open to crime and mystery readers, prime-time TV viewers and other members of the public. Continuing education credits are available for attorneys, teachers and nurses.

Date: Saturday, April 5

Time: 7:30 a.m., registration

8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., sessions and panels

1:45 p.m., panel discussion on Understanding The CSI Effect on Jurors, Judges, Experts and Attorneys

4:40 p.m., featured presentation Inside the World of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Location: Power Center Ballroom, Fifth Level of the Power Center; Corner of Chatham Square and Forbes Avenue, Duquesne University

Information: For a complete program, visit www.duq.edu/factmeetsfiction or call 412.396-1330.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.