National Center for Justice and Rule of Law Trains Police, Judges to Catch Cybercriminals

… Program provides training on legal principles regulating use of computer and digital evidence

OXFORD, Miss. – As the number of cybercrimes rapidly increases nationwide, judges and law enforcement officers are charged with knowing the most up-to-date legal principles regulating computer searches and seizures. Yet digital evidence improperly obtained is inadmissible in court and can result in a costly mistrial.

In response, the National Center for Justice and the Rule of Law at the University of Mississippi has received a $120,000 grant from Mississippi State University to develop and conduct judicial and police training conferences at both institutions. Judicial conferences are set for Sept. 9-10 and for Jan. 20-21 and Aug. 25-26, 2011, all at Ole Miss.

Eight police training conferences are set at MSU with NCJRL providing instructors. For more information on these law enforcement training sessions, contact the MSU Computer Forensics Training Center at 662-325-2756.

“This grant continues a relationship that NCJRL has had with Mississippi State for several years,” said Thomas Clancy, center director and UM professor of law. “Judges will have increased knowledge on the legal principles related to the search and seizure of computers. Police officers will be better trained on the legal requirements for obtaining digital evidence.”

Having UM law faculty provide legal instruction for the training program is vital to its success, said David Dampier, associate professor and director of the Forensics Training Center at MSU.

“As computer people, we understand the technical aspect of cybercrime, but we rely on Ole Miss faculty members’ legal expertise to teach what we don’t know about the law,” Dampier said.

NCJRL, housed in the UM School of Law, has years of experience in cybercrime, which includes everything from identity theft and embezzlement to child pornography and terrorism.

“Cybercrime is the up-and-coming crime in the country. It’s growing, and growing very fast,” Dampier said. “More and more law enforcement agencies are being forced to deal with it, and Mississippi is no exception to the trend.”

For example, the number of child pornography convictions rose from zero to 11 in Lee County in a single year, he said.

“The program allows the center to continue to educate professionals in this important area of the law,” said Clancy, noting that the judicial training has attracted judges from across the country.

“Hopefully, the more law enforcement officers we have trained, the more cybercriminals will be caught,” Dampier added.

For more information about the National Center for Justice and the Rule of Law, visit