Firearm Forensics and Defense Issues in Criminal Cases (Online Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Price: $149 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 03/30/2021


A pre-recorded streaming video replay from the March 2018 webcast, Firearm Forensics and Defense Issues in Criminal Cases.

Course Benefits

  • Understand forensic firearm examinations and their evidentiary value and limitations
  • Receive practical case examples where firearm and toolmark evidence can be critical
  • Hear a discussion of defenses in serious homicide/felony cases involving firearms
  • Materials will include samples of direct and cross-examinations of firearm experts, firearm and gunshot residue certificates of analysis, and standard jury instructions in homicide/firearm cases.

VIDC Recertification Credit: 2.0

Firearm, toolmark, and gunshot residue evidence plays a significant role in many homicide and serious felony cases. It can be the key evidence tying a defendant to a crime or have significant exculpatory value in supporting a self-defense or mistaken-identity claim. This course is designed to provide attorneys practical information on how firearm, ammunition, and gunshot residue evidence is forensically analyzed and identified and its use and value as evidence during trial.

To illustrate the use of this evidence in actual trials, sample certificates of analysis, sample direct and cross-examination of experts, and other documentary materials from actual cases will be provided to participants. Jay Mason, one of the presenters, is recently retired from the Virginia Department of Forensic Science and has over 30 years of experience as a firearm expert. He is a fantastic well of knowledge about firearm and ammunition forensic analysis and has testified in numerous serious cases involving firearms, including capital murder. Criminal defense attorneys Joseph King and Emily Beckman are both experienced trying homicide and serious felony cases involving firearms and will provide case examples of the use of this evidence at trial and how to challenge it.





Emily Beckman, King, Campbell & Poretz, PLLC / Alexandria

Emily Beckman is an experienced trial attorney who has defended clients facing a wide range of criminal charges in Virginia and Maryland.  She has won acquittals on charges as serious as rape and robbery, but recognizes that misdemeanor charges can also have significant consequences to clients’ lives and deserve a vigorous defense. Ms. Beckman earned her juris doctorate from Yale Law School where she was a Senior Editor of the Yale Law Journal.  After graduating she worked as a judicial law clerk to Hon. Leonie M. Brinkema in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Ms. Beckman clerked for Hon. Judge Brinkema during the sentencing hearing for alleged 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. After her clerkship, Ms. Beckman joined the Alexandria, Virginia, Office of the Public Defender.  As an Alexandria public defender Ms. Beckman tried hundreds of misdemeanor cases as well as litigating complicated felony cases.  Ms. Beckman served as lead counsel in the case of Commonwealth v. Bashir, in which she defended a client charged with attempted capital murder.  Her client was found not guilty by reason of insanity.  Ms. Beckman successfully defended clients in multi-day jury trials requiring consultation with expert witnesses.  She has worked with DNA analysts, forensic psychologists, and forensic nurse examiners, among other experts. 

Joseph  King, King, Campbell & Poretz, PLLC / Ale xandria

Joseph King’s criminal defense portfolio includes defending murder cases (including Commonwealth v. Charles Severance and Commonwealth v. Craig Patterson) as well as defending federal white collar matters, federal and state drug offenses, and DUI/DWI allegations.  His work in criminal defense has been recognized by top regional publications The Washingtonian and Northern Virginia magazine as well as Virginia Super Lawyers. Prior to establishing his private legal practice in 2008, Mr. King worked as an attorney at the Alexandria Office of the Public Defender (2004–2008), which has a number of alumni recognized among the Washington, DC, metro area’s top trial lawyers. During his time as a public defender, he diligently worked on behalf of his indigent clients.  Mr. King received his juris doctorate cum laude from The University of Michigan Law School in 2003.  He earned a master‘s degree in History from George Mason University in 1996 and a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Mary Washington College in 1992.

Julien  J.  Mason  Jr., Independent Forensic Consultant / Elkton

Jay Mason has over thirty-six years of experience in the field of firearm and toolmark identification.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Tech in 1978.  He began his career with the Virginia Department of Forensic Science working at the Central Laboratory in Richmond.  He later transferred to the Northern Regional Laboratory in Merrifield, then Fairfax, and finally in Manassas as the supervisor of the Firearm and Toolmark Section.  He has been involved in many high-profile cases, including two featured on Forensic Files and Dateline NBC.  Mr. Mason has testified as an expert witness well over 500 times, for both prosecution and defense, in state and federal courts throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and New York.  He is a published author with articles in the Journal of Forensic Sciences and the Journal of the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE).  Mr. Mason holds the position of Distinguished Life Member in AFTE.

Under the Clinton Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice requested that Mr. Mason conduct an independent review of the documents related to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., court proceedings involving James Earl Ray, and the civil case of King v. Jowers.  The purpose of which was to determine the merits of further scientific analysis and to evaluate the work and opinions of forensic scientists at the FBI laboratory (1968), those on a panel convened by the House Select Committee on Assassinations (1977–1978), those on behalf of James Earl Ray (1997), and testimony given by television personality Judge Joseph B. Brown (1999), who presided over Ray's attempt to get a retrial and testified as an expert witness in the later civil suit.

Since his retirement from state service in 2015, Mr. Mason has made himself available as an independent consultant on matters pertaining to forensic science.

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