About the presenter
Bicka Barlow acts as counsel in cases across the U.S. that involve forensic DNA evidence. Her experience covers all types of cases and includes STR-based DNA testing, mitochondrial DNA testing, and Y-STR based testing. She also offers consulting services on DNA cases including case assessment and brainstorming, selection and preparing of expert witnesses, preparation of cross examination of government witnesses, and preparation of motions to challenge DNA evidence.
She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics from the University of California, Berkeley; her Master of Science degree in the fields of Genetics and Developmental Biology, with minors in Plant Molecular Biology and Cellular Biology, from Cornell University; and her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law, graduating magna cum laude.
After graduating from law school, Atty. Barlow worked as a research attorney for the Criminal Division of the San Francisco Superior Court. She then opened a private criminal law practice focused on DNA cases, in which she acted as an attorney/consultant on over 100 DNA cases at all stages of the proceedings, from trial to post conviction, in federal and state courts.
In 1998, Atty. Barlow, along with lead counsel Michael Burt, conducted the first successful challenge in the U.S. of the admissibility of STR evidence in the case of People v. Bokin. In 2000, Ms. Barlow was DNA counsel in a capital case that resulted in a life verdict. In re Dennis Lawley, a capital post-conviction case, Ms. Barlow served as co-counsel and was responsible for the handling of toolmark evidence. This evidence was the only physical evidence linking Lawley to the homicide. Later, the evidence that suggested the gun found in Lawley’s possession was the murder weapon was disproven by the discovery of the actual gun, found buried in a field over 20 years after the crime.
From 2004-2013, Ms. Barlow served as a DNA attorney for the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. In this role as an in-house expert, she consulted with attorneys on cases involving DNA evidence and acted as co-counsel primarily on homicide and serious felony cases. In 2013, she returned to private practice.