UTC’s Dr. David Ross is the 2017 recipient of the Liberty Bell Award for public service.
The award is given by the Chattanooga Bar Association and recognizes “community service that has strengthened the American system of freedom under law,” according to a news release from the Bar Association.
In the UTC Psychology Department, Dr. Ross is a UC Foundation professor and a member of graduate faculty.
During his career, he has conducted research and evaluated eyewitness testimony, consulted lawyers nationwide on trial strategy, written opening and closing statements, and helped attorneys with witness preparation and jury selection, among other tasks.
Through his testimony in 2013, Ross helped exonerate Anthony Williams, who was convicted of first-degree murder in Columbia, Mo., when he was 14 and spent 20 years in jail before being set free.
After evaluating eyewitnesses’ testimony from the trial, Ross believed it was a case of “unconscious transfer.” In such instances, a person has seen the suspect someplace away from the crime scene, then recognizes the suspect in a lineup and decides that’s the person who committed the crime because he knows the face.
According to the news release, criteria for winning the Liberty Bell Award include activities such as:
- Promoting a better understanding of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights;
- Encouraging a greater respect for the law and the courts;
- Stimulating a deeper sense of individual responsibility so citizens recognize their duties as well as their rights;
- Contributing to the effective functioning of our institutions of government;
- Fostering a better understanding and appreciation of the rule of law.