Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Project
ASTAR began its life in 2005 as a non-profit consortium of the Judiciaries of Ohio and Maryland, in conjunction with the Einstein Institute for Science, Health and the Courts. It was founded to provide trial and appellate judges with high-level scientific and technological training to better equip them to manage and adjudicate cases (criminal or civil) presenting complex or novel science or technology evidence and issues. The course of training envisioned is not designed to suggest an outcome, but rather is aimed at exposing the judges to relevant options and information.
Participating Judges are recognized as ASTAR Fellows after successfully completing the initial 2-year regimen of 120 classroom hours of course work. ASTAR Fellows become resources for their colleagues, sharing their technological and scientific knowledge in formal continuing education courses, in more informal gatherings, and upon request.Cases that qualify for ASTAR oversight will be assigned to ASTAR Judges as determined by the Court's Administrative Judge, upon motion or request of counsel, and/or as other criteria are met.
ASTAR Judges at the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County Circuit Court are Judge William Mulford II and Judge Ronald A. Silkworth. Additional training has been provided in a week-long program on Nanotechnology and Microbiological Environmental Remediation at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in Berkeley, California. Cases tried before ASTAR judges will be managed and decided according to the evidence admitted through the accepted roles and principles of the traditional trial system. A check-off box on the civil non-domestic case information form will allow filing attorney to indicate his/her belief that the suit may be worthy of special assignment, under Maryland Rule 16-202, to an ASTAR judge.