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Who is Okorie Okorocha, and What Does He Do?
Okorie Okorocha is L.A.’s premier forensic toxicology expert witness, specializing in drug and alcohol testing, but what does that actually mean and what is a forensic toxicologist in the first place? We’ve got the low-down to help you understand the man in the lab and on the witness stand, Okorie Okorocha.
Q: Where Did You Study to Become a Forensic Toxicologist?
A: Studying to become a forensic toxicologist takes a long time, so I have been in and out of university since 1994. To date, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Northridge State (1999), a M.S. in Pharmaceutical Science specializing in Forensic Science and a M.S. in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Florida (2012 and 2014). Other than that, I also have a Juris Doctorate from Whittier College, School of Law (2002) and am a nationally board certified Criminal and Civil Trial Lawyer.
But because of the nature of science, you never stop learning. New things are constantly being discovered and scientific inquiry grows and evolves every day. It’s a fascinating thing to be a part of, and I hope to constantly be able to learn about the latest trends in both science and law.
Question: What Does a Forensic Toxicologist Do?
Answer: Toxicology is the study of the effects chemicals have on living organisms, particularly humans. Forensic toxicologists, however, often combine their knowledge of toxicology, pharmacology and clinical chemistry in order to investigate legal cases involving chemical or substances such as alcohol or drugs. This is done be interpreting lab results for criminal cases, civil cases or administrative hearing such those held by the DMV.
Q: What is an Expert Witness?
A: An expert witness is, of course, someone who is an expert in a particular field. However, you can’t simply be an expert to become an expert witness, because you are applying law to science or science to law, you must have an understanding of both aspects. An expert witness doesn’t reiterate science jargon, but has to actively form an opinion based on the evidence and facts provided to them.
Q: What Makes You Qualified to be an Expert Witness?
A: As mentioned, an expert witness must have extensive training. Not only do I have the required expertise, but I also have extensive experience, as I have assisted courts since 2007 and have been deemed an expert witness in 220 cases to date.
Q: How Many Cases Have You Helped Win?
A: I have helped win over 100 cases using my expertise in forensic toxicology.
Q: Which Case Was Your Most Memorable?
A: When I was assisting a case in Los Angeles, the prosecutor said, “”Isn’t red watery eyes and the odor of an alcoholic beverage consistent with being impaired by alcohol?”
My answer was “I am a black man and I am bald. That is consistent with being in prison but that doesn’t mean I should be arrested”. The judge fell out of her chair laughing.
Q: What Would You Say To Anyone Struggling With A False Drug Or Alcohol Conviction?
A: Obviously the first thing is to try and remain calm, but I know that’s very difficult to do. I would say that false positives can and do happen, and that if you feel you have been falsely convicted it is best to try and contact a forensic toxicology expert as soon as possible.
So, if you do need an expert witness or a forensic toxicologist to assist you, Okorie is the man to call. He is qualified and willing to make a plan to help ensure legal proceedings are as fair and accurate as possible.