Donald Shelton

Donald  Shelton
  • Assistant Professor (Fixed-Term)
  • School of Criminal Justice
  • PhD 2010, University of Nevada
  • MS 2007, Eastern Michigan University
  • JD 1969, University of Michigan Law School
  • BA 1966, Western Michigan University


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Judge Donald E. Shelton was a Circuit Judge in Ann Arbor, Michigan for almost 25 years. During his time on the bench, he served as Chief Judge of the Circuit, Juvenile and Probate Courts. The Michigan Constitution requires that judges leave the bench at age 70. Since then, he has been a Professor at the University of Michigan Dearborn where he most recently served as the Director of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Program and Director of the University’s Justice Reform Project.

Born in Jackson, Judge Shelton earned his undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University, his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School, his Masters degree in Criminology from Eastern Michigan University, and his PhD in Judicial Studies from the University of Nevada.

Dr. Shelton is a prolific author, particularly in the field of forensic science evidence His doctoral dissertation was “Criminal Adjudication: The Challenges of Forensic Science Evidence in the Early 21st Century” and his most recent books include “Forensic Science in Court: Challenges in the 21st Century” and “Forensic Science Evidence: Can the Law Keep up with Science?”.

He has published many articles and research papers and was one of the earliest published researchers into the so-called “CSI Effect” and the expectation of jurors for scientific evidence. Judge Shelton is a Fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and is the immediate past Chair of the AAFS Jurisprudence Section. Most recently he served as a member and committee chair of the Michigan Governor’s Forensic Science Task Force.

Selected Publications

Forensic Science Evidence: Can the Law Keep Up with Science?, LFB Scholarly Publishing, June, 2012

Forensic Science in Court: Challenges in the 21st Century, Rowman & Littlefield, September 2010

Juror Expectations for Scientific Evidence in Criminal Cases: Perceptions And Reality About The "CSI Effect" Myth, 27 T. M. Cooley Law Review 1 (2010)

An Indirect-Effects Model of Mediated Adjudication: The CSI Myth, the Tech Effect, and Metropolitan Jurors’ Expectations for Scientific Evidence, by Hon. Donald E. Shelton, Young S. Kim, and Gregg Barak, 12 Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law 1 (2009)

Examining the “'CSI-effect' in the Cases of Circumstantial Evidence and Eyewitness Testimony: Multivariate and Path Analyses, by Young S. Kim, Gregg Barak, and Donald E. Shelton, 37 Journal of Criminal Justice 452-460 (2009).