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Judge Benson one of three Minnesota judges to receive an ASTAR fellowship

Fri, Jul 30th, 2010
Posted in Court

District Court Judge Robert Benson recently received an award commemorating his election to a fellowship by ASTAR, a member of the Einstein Institute for Science, Health and the Courts. To earn the fellowship, he completed a rigorous 18-month course, mostly on weekends, at a variety of medical and legal institutions such as Johns Hopkins Medical School and the Ohio Medical and Law schools. The courses were taught by some of the country's top scientists. Some of the courses included: learning about scientific methodology and court-related science and technology evidence on such issues as genetics, molecular biology, biotechnology and genetic engineering as well as studies in forensic medicine and technology.

Only three judges in the state of Minnesota have been elected to fellowships. Also receiving the award were Judge John Scherer of Stearns County and Judge Renee Worke of the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

As part of their work, they helped prepare a science reference desk book that is now available to Minnesota judges handling complex cases involving technology and science. They have also agreed, as part of their participation in the ASTAR (Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource) program, to serve as resources for judges handling cases that involve these complex issues.

"The role of a judge carries many challenges, not the least of which is keeping up with ongoing changes in the law," said Chief Justice Eric J. Magnuson. "But an equally dynamic aspect of our society involves the ever-expanding fields of science and technology. We want to recognize three of our colleagues who have been willing to devote a great deal of their time to become certified as resource judges that all of our courts can draw on when handling cases involving scientific evidence and issues."

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