Science Café Cleveland presents


"Bending Science: How Science can be Corrupted by Legal Processes"


MAY 9, 2011





Paul Giannelli

(Albert J. Weatherhead III and Richard W. Weatherhead Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law)


along with


Wendy Wagner

(Joe A. Worsham Centennial Professor of Law, University of Texas School of Law)





Professors Giannelli and Wagner will discuss some of the ways that the scientific information used to inform important issues in today’s legal debates can be “bent” or corrupted, with a particular focus on the bending of science used in criminal trials (like fingerprint evidence, ballistics, and DNA profiling) and in environmental and public health regulation.  Science can be bent by those with high stakes in a legal proceeding in innumerable different ways.  The techniques that Giannelli and Wagner will discuss include how advocates have: worked backwards from their preferred results in designing or interpreting a study; suppressed important research findings; or attacked credible research and researchers in illegitimate ways to throw doubt on valid research. Giannelli and Wagner will not only identify the perverse roles that the legal system plays in rewarding and sometimes facilitating this science-bending, but will point fingers at facets of the scientific community, who sometimes allow these practices to continue without sanction or oversight.




Paul Giannelli, Albert J. Weatherhead III and Richard W. Weatherhead Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Recognized by the New York Times as an “expert on scientific evidence,” Paul Giannelli has lectured throughout the country and his work has been cited in hundreds of court opinions and legal articles, including five decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. Some of his articles have appeared in the Columbia, Virginia, Cornell, Vanderbilt, Fordham, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Hastings law reviews, as well as in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, the Criminal Law Bulletin, and the American Criminal Law Review. In addition, he has published in interdisciplinary journals, such as the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Issues in Science and Technology (National Academies), International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis, the New Biologist, and the Journal of Forensic Sciences. He is coauthor of ten books. Prof. Giannelli served as Reporter for the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Standards on DNA Evidence and co-chair of the ABA Ad Hoc Committee on Innocence.


Wendy Wagner, Joe A. Worsham Centennial Professor of Law, University of Texas School of Law. Wagner’s research focuses on the law-science interface in environmental law and her articles have appeared in numerous journals. She has also published two books Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research (with Tom McGarity; Harvard University Press 2008) and Rescuing Science from Politics: Regulation and the Distortion of Scientific Research(co-edited with Rena Steinzor; Cambridge University Press 2006).  Before joining the Texas faculty in 2001, Wagner was a professor at Case Law School and was also a visiting professor at Columbia Law School and the Vanderbilt School of Law.  Wagner also worked as an honors attorney with the environmental enforcement section of the U.S. Department of Justice as and as the pollution control coordinator for the USDA General Counsel’s office. 




WHERE: The Tasting Room at Great Lakes Brewing Company

(Located at 2701 Carroll Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44113)


WHEN: May 9, 2011

Drinks at 6:30 pm, discussion starts around 7:00 pm


WHO: Sponsored by Case Western Reserve University chapter of Sigma Xi, WCPN ideastream, and Great Lakes Brewing Company



Click here to download a pdf of event flyer