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Oregon Law Professor named Fulbright Scholar

Carrie Leonetti to research criminal law in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Oregon Law Professor Carrie Leonetti recently was awarded a 2011-12 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award. The prestigious award will allow the criminal law expert to spend a year in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she will engage in active research and teaching in the areas of forensic science, police investigations, and criminal adjudication. The focus of her research will be on eyewitness identification.

Her focus is particularly relevant in Bosnia and Herzegovnia because DNA identity testing has been the primary means of establishing the identities of Bosnian/Herzegovnian war-crimes victims, and eyewitness identification has been the primary means of establishing the identities of the perpetrators of those alleged crimes. The relevance of DNA testing to eyewitness identification is that, in the United States, DNA analysis has led to numerous exonerations of innocent people who were convicted, at least in part, on the basis of faulty eyewitness identification.

“Eyewitness proof has been a crucial element of proof at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), but recent social-science research has demonstrated that such evidence gives rise to serious accuracy concerns,” Leonetti noted about her research. “Particularly in light of what is known about the ways in which memories are stored and received and the influence that identification procedures can have on the accuracy of eyewitness identification.”

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Michael Moffitt said Leonetti’s research will bring together theory and practice for the benefit of the academic and legal communities.

“Professor Leonetti’s cutting-edge research is an outstanding example of engaged scholarship,” Moffitt noted. “Her comparative work bridges the worlds of theory and practice in a way that enriches the scholarly conversation, the legal community, and the classroom. We are enormously proud of her accomplishments, and we look forward to welcoming her back to Oregon after her time in Sarajevo.”

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends approximately 1,100 American scholars and professionals per year to approximately 125 countries, where they lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields.

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