ST. LOUIS (May 28, 2014) — Judge Zel Fischer of the Missouri Supreme Court has presented Judge Steve Ohmer and Judge Edward Sweeney of the St. Louis Circuit Court with certificates as fellows of the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource (ASTAR).
The status of fellow is given to judges who successfully complete 120 hours of court-related science and technology training and have acquired skills to preside over trials that have complex issues related to science or technology.
Fischer presented the awards during a ceremony today at the Civil Courts Building.
Fischer said, “ASTAR judges are evidence gatekeepers. They assure that valid methodology underscores the evidence and assure evidentiary fitness in all trials involving complex or novel scientific or technical information.”
Judges who have earned this award will take case assignments as well as help plan and develop educational programs for other judges. They will help train non-ASTAR judges, serve as a resource about various scientific topics in cases, and act as liaisons to law schools, bar associations and the public. ASTAR judges are trained in scientific and technological topics, including addiction treatment technologies, neuroscience evidence, advanced genetic technologies, computer forensics and cybercrime, DNA science, and advanced forensic technologies.
“This training will not make judges experts in these fields,” Fischer said, “but it will allow judges to be more sensitive to the nuances of complex scientific issues and help them to better perform judicial duties as it relates to admissibility of evidence.”
Ohmer, appointed circuit judge in 2000, presides in Division 13 of the St. Louis Circuit. Sweeney, appointed circuit judge in 2005, presides in Division 20