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The Science and Admissibility of Drug Evaluation and Classification Evidence in Drug-Impaired Driving Cases

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 92 minutes
Recorded Date: July 31, 2018
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  • Drug use in America
  • Overview of Impaired Driving Laws
  • What is Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Testimony?
  • Validation Studies & Peer Reviews
  • Drug Influence Evaluation Steps (1-12)
  • Admissibility of DRE Testimony
  • Case Studies
Runtime: 1 hour and 32 minutes
Recorded: July 31, 2018


This program will address the basics of drug recognition expert testimony in the trial of a drug-impaired driving case, how courts around the country have addressed its admissibility, and the applicability of Frye and Daubert to drug recognition evidence.

The increase in drug-impaired driving cases on our highways has led to new investigative techniques and trial testimony including the use of drug recognition experts.

This program was recorded on July 31st, 2018.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Robert Duckworth

Impaired Driving Training Coordinator
Indiana Criminal Justice Institute

Mr. Robert Duckworth is currently serving as the Impaired Driving Training Coordinator for the State of Indiana, coordinating both the Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) and Drug Evaluation Classification Programs (DECP) through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

Entering law enforcement in 2000 throughout his law enforcement career Mr. Duckworth served as the Traffic Safety Grants Coordinator, Investigations Supervisor, as a member of the Clandestine Lab Team with the Indiana State Police Methamphetamine Suppression Unit, Administrative Commander coordinating all support services such as jail management, property room management, records management coordination, communications, training, as well as fleet services and as a Patrol Deputy. With the combined experience of 15 years sworn law enforcement attaining the rank of Captain and 18 years as a certified Paramedic this diversified background aids instruction on a variety of law enforcement, public safety, and medical related topics. Certified as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) in 2005 and as an instructor since 2006, Mr. Duckworth has provided instruction in Drug Evaluation and Classification for the States of Indiana, Ohio, and Louisiana.

In 2012, Mr. Duckworth was selected by the Indiana State Police Crime Lab Section to participate in the Marijuana Leaf Identification Program in which he was certified in the forensic method for evidentiary based evaluation and determination of suspected marijuana plant material. Mr. Duckworth is a regular adjunct instructor with the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Academy, holding certification as a Senior Instructor with the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board.

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Hon. Neil E. Axel

Judge (Retired), Judicial Outreach Liaison
District Court of Maryland for Howard County

Although born and raised in New York, Neil Edward Axel has been a Maryland resident throughout his professional career and has lived for the past 34 years in Jim Rouse’s planned community of Columbia in Central Maryland. He graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration before attending law school at American University’s Washington College of Law. Following 22 years in private practice, Judge Axel was appointed to the bench as an Associate Judge of the District Court of Maryland where he served from 1997 until 2013. During his tenure on the Bench, Judge Axel presided over a variety of cases including criminal misdemeanors, traffic and alcohol-related offenses, domestic violence, and civil actions where the amount in controversy less than $30,000.00.

In addition to his regular judicial duties, Judge Axel served for more than 6 years as the Judge-In-Charge of a Drug Treatment Court and DUI Court program. These problem-solving court programs were developed as more effective judicially coordinated, treatment-focused programs to help reduce the adverse impact of repeat drug and/or alcohol offenders on the court system and on the Howard County community. Judge Axel continues to sit as a retired judge on the District Court of Maryland and serves as Co-Chair of Maryland’s Judicial Conference Committee on Problem Solving Courts which is responsible for promoting and overseeing the development, implementation and operation of problem-solving courts throughout Maryland. In 2005, Judge Axel was recognized by the Maryland State Bar Association with its Judge Anselm Sodaro Judicial Civility Award presented annually to one judge whose courtroom demeanor best exemplifies the highest ideals of civility and courtesy.

For the past 12 years, Judge Axel has served on the Board of Directors of Maryland’s Judicial Institute which is responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of all in-State continuing education for the Maryland Judiciary. In addition to serving on the Board, Judge Axel has been actively involved as coordinator and lecturer at numerous programs on topics involving substance abuse, sentencing, domestic violence, the law of contracts, and perceptions of bias in the courtroom.

Throughout his legal and judicial careers, Judge Axel has been actively involved in Bar Association activities on State and local levels and community non-profits including Maryland Special Olympics. He served as Chair of both the Howard County and State of Maryland Drug Abuse Advisory Councils and was a member of Maryland’s Special Committee to Review the ABA Revised Code of Judicial Conduct from 2007 to 2009. He is a member of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

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