Loyola University Chicago

Forensic Science Program

Upcoming Seminars

The field of Forensic Science faces continual challenges and responds by developing new investigative techniques. Our Forensic Science Program at Loyola University Chicago strives to meet this rapidly changing environment by educating our students in innovative ways. To this end, we present our Forensic Experts Seminar Series featuring professionals who will present their work on current topics, ranging from DNA and drug analysis to the investigation of digital evidence.

We enthusiastically invite interested students, faculty and staff to join us for these events.

Please contact Dr. James DeFrancesco, jdefrancesco@luc.edu, for additional information.  


 Forensic Science and Law: Deconvoluting the Mixture

Amy M. Watroba

Assistant State’s Attorney

Forensic Science Unit

Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Chicago

 Advancements in forensic science have led to the regular use of forensic evidence in all types of criminal cases.  Because the use of forensic evidence in criminal prosecutions is the new norm, it is crucial that forensic scientists and lawyers learn to communicate effectively and stay current on the science and the law related to forensic evidence to ensure that they are utilizing such evidence correctly, ethically, and persuasively.  With that goal in mind, this presentation will discuss the intersection of forensic science and criminal law, provide practical tips to forensic scientists for dealing with lawyers and the judicial system, and outline recurring and developing legal issues related to the use of forensic evidence in criminal prosecutions.

Amy Watroba is a career appellate and trial prosecutor in the Forensic Science Unit of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Ms. Watroba concentrates on trying criminal cases involving complex DNA or forensic science issues, providing legal support and training for colleagues, developing policies and procedures related to forensic evidence, and acting as a liaison between the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and forensic testing laboratories and law enforcement agencies.   Ms. Watroba has prosecuted high-profile and serious felony bench and jury trials involving complex DNA (RFLP, PCR/STR, Y-STR, MtDNA, parentage), serology, microscopy, firearms identification, bloodstain pattern analysis, forensic pathology, historic cell tower analysis, and fingerprint evidence.  Additionally, she has litigated six cases in the Illinois Supreme Court and over 100 Illinois Appellate Court cases and has supervised other attorneys in over 350 Illinois Appellate and Supreme Court cases.  Ms. Watroba prosecuted serial sex offender Sandy Williams in the Illinois Appellate Court, Illinois Supreme Court, and United States Supreme Court in Williams v. Illinois, and assists prosecutors from other jurisdictions on Confrontation Clause and forensic evidence issues. 

Ms. Watroba is a member of the National District Attorneys Association’s DNA Advisory Committee, four of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences’ Consensus Bodies, and the FBI’s Rapid DNA Crime Scene Technology Advancement Task Group.  She instructs prosecutors from across the country for the NDAA and the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute, presents training programs for law enforcement agencies, forensic scientists, forensic testing laboratories, and students, and has served as a volunteer trial team coach and guest instructor for law school courses at several Chicago law schools. Ms. Watroba received her law degree from Loyola University-Chicago School of Law in 2001. She graduated with Honors from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 1998 with a B.A. in Creative Writing.

Download a one page flyer of this event.

Date and Time: October 18, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Location: Cuneo Hall, Rm 002, Lakeshore Campus


DEA Investigations into Drug Cryptomarket Operations

Jim Crotty

Group Supervisor

Drug Enforcement Administration

Chicago Field Division

 Drug traffickers are increasingly transacting business online and through marketplaces on the “dark web,” where they erroneously believe they are anonymous and beyond the reach of law enforcement.  As the drug trade continues to shift and adapt into cyberspace, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other partner agencies are adapting along with it.  This presentation will provide an overview of DEA’s cyber program, followed by a brief introduction to the dark web, and finally a discussion of how law enforcement targets and dismantles dark web vendors and marketplaces.

Jim Crotty is an Intelligence Group Supervisor at the United States (U.S.) Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Chicago Field Division.  Jim previously served as a liaison officer at the DEA London Country Office at the U.S. Embassy in the United Kingdom, where he supported complex international drug trafficking and money laundering investigations, and assisted with a wide range of bilateral and multilateral enforcement activities.   Prior to his posting in London, Jim was assigned to DEA Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, where he conducted strategic, all-source intelligence analysis on drug trafficking trends in South America.  While assigned to DEA Headquarters, Jim deployed to Afghanistan with DEA’s Foreign Advisory and Support Team (FAST), where he coordinated and deconflicted counterdrug operations between U.S. and allied partners throughout Afghanistan. 

Jim also has prior work experience within the private sector and U.S. intelligence community (IC).  Before joining DEA, Jim worked at PRTM Management Consultants in Washington D.C. (now part of PwC), where he was a member of the firm’s National Security practice group.  At PRTM, Jim provided strategic and operational advice to clients in the IC and helped transform business processes in the areas of policy, governance, and performance management.   Jim earned a JD from the University of Alabama School of Law, an MA in Political Science from Boston College, and a BA in Political Science from Auburn University, with honors.  He is a former Presidential Management Fellow.

Download a one page flyer for this event.

Date and Time: October 25, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Location: Cuneo Hall, Rm 002, Lakeshore Campus