Technology has significant effect on criminal law

One of the most exciting trends playing out in courtrooms today is the intersection of neuroscience, technology and criminal law, said Luis Chiesa, an internationally known criminal law scholar.

“Changes in neuroscience have led to the presentation of evidence during the course of trial that was the stuff of science fiction,” said Chiesa, director of the criminal law LL.M. program and the director of the Buffalo Criminal Law Center at the University at Buffalo School of Law, The State University of New York.

Technology could have a significant effect on criminal cases of all kinds, Chiesa said, and neurological techniques are being used more often. For instance, an MRI can act as a sophisticated polygraph to help determine if someone is lying, and it can even show his or her capacity for empathy. And neuroscientific evidence can help imply mens rea in shaken baby syndrome cases.

Topics like this, and the increased attention being paid to racial dynamics across the country, are ripe for analysis in LL.M. programs.

“Students who are exposed to this in a more sophisticated way and who have a chance to think about this long and hard in law school will be in a better position for all the possible implications,” Chiesa said.

At UB Law, a colloquium series explores cutting-edge topics being researched by scholars around the world.

Some criminal law LL.M. students are more interested in pragmatic training, while others want theoretical training to prepare them for teaching or work in foreign countries.

Read about more specialties and find out what graduate law programs are available in the 2016 Lawyer & Statesman.