Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building
361 Rowe Boulevard
|For Immediate Release||CONTACT:||Rita Buettner
Judiciary partners with The Johns Hopkins School
of Medicine and the
(ANNAPOLIS, Md. — April 20, 2006) In an ongoing effort to prepare Maryland judges principally to adjudicate cases involving advanced science and medical issues, the Maryland Judiciary is partnering with The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to offer a workshop for judges on April 27-29.
Judges will focus on plant and animal bioscience, clinical neuro-imagery, recombinant medicine, adult stem cell research, gene therapy, and medical ethics during the three-day Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center (ASTAR) workshop.
The first day of the conference will be held at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, which is operated by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. The second and third days will be held at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
The workshop is the fourth formal session to train the 21 circuit court judges and two appellate judges recruited to become “science and technology resource judges” for Maryland. These judges, who attended their first workshop in October 2005, are receiving training in advanced bioscience, biomedical, and biotechnology issues and related adjudication/mediation skills.
By 2010, ASTAR hopes to certify at least 700 resource judges across the United States and in jurisdictions internationally. Maryland will serve as a resource for judge preparation for other jurisdictions nationally and internationally.
“This training has gone a long way toward giving judges the foundation they need in bioscience and biotechnology for cases that may appear in future litigation or alternative dispute resolution contexts,” said Court of Appeals Judge Glenn T. Harrell, Jr., who serves as an ASTAR Leadership Director.
Resource judges also will assist their jurisdictions with bench/bar and educational leadership activities and, within ethical constraints, serve as resources to their colleagues when adjudication issues are raised by novel and complex scientific evidence.
The education the judges receive is designed not to teach what outcomes may be appropriate, but instead to supply a greater background to make them better adjudicators.
The ASTAR program grew out of a decade-long effort by the Einstein Institute for Science, Health, and the Courts (EINSHAC) to raise judicial consciousness about the impact on the dispute-resolution process of the human genome project through judicial/science education conferences. Chief Judge Robert M. Bell of the Maryland Court of Appeals was involved integrally in the EINSHAC conferences, which included a program titled “Genetics in the Courtroom,” held in Ocean City in 1998 for the Maryland and Delaware state judiciaries. Judge Bell is now Chair of the ASTAR Board of Directors.
The resource judge “class” will attend its fifth and final training session in the initial course of study in October at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago before “graduating” in December.
Members of the media are invited to attend the plenary sessions, but attendance must be coordinated in advance through the Court Information Office. Broadcast media must set up video and audio equipment before the sessions begin for the day. To prevent disruptions during the training, pre-arranged interviews may only be conducted between sessions or during the lunch break. The breakout discussion sessions following the lectures are not open to the media, although the written bases of discussion topics are available. For more information, please call the Court Information Office at (410) 260-1488.
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