Dr. William Crozier has permanently joined the Duke Center for Science and Justice as the new Research Director after working for about two years as a post-doctoral fellow.
Dr. Crozier received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Penn State before earning a PhD in experimental psychology from The City University of New York’s Graduate Center. With expertise in cognitive psychology, he investigates how people learn, remember, and use information in decision-making – with a particular focus on those processes in the legal system.
Such topics include juror decision-making for forensic and eyewitness evidence; understanding and evaluating bodyworn camera footage; assessment of interrogation practices and confession evidence; and misinformation in the court room. Since coming to Duke in 2018, he has applied his empirical research and statistical skills to investigating and improving the justice system more broadly, including driver’s license suspensions, failures to appear, plea bargaining, and bail practices.
“I am very excited to continue working with the Center and its great team, because it exemplifies what science should be: an ongoing process with different perspectives and methods, with a real impact that helps people,” said Dr. Crozier. “It’s a privilege to continue working with some of the best students, graduate students, postdocs, scholars, and practitioners in the field – and I look forward to being able to continue researching, advocating, and mentoring.”
Dr. Crozier has mentored law students and undergrads as part of the Center’s JustScience Lab. He has also collaborated with CSAFE on projects concerning forensic science. He said the Center’s first year saw a great number of research projects, policy recommendations, and scholarly and community collaboration.
“I see my job as a Research Director to foster this growth going forward, ensuring that we are strategically accomplishing all of the Center’s goals,” he said. “This means producing research on a variety of topics, but also more than just academically publishing that work. I plan to seek interdisciplinary approaches to the Center’s work, connecting scholars and practitioners from different backgrounds with different methods, data, topics, and policies, to foster a space in which we can investigate, evaluate, and improve the criminal justice system.”
Some of Dr. Crozier’s current projects include learning about the failure to appear in court processes in North Carolina and how to improve appearance rates, developing plea bargaining data collection tools and understanding how district attorneys offer pleas to defendants, and testing courtroom methods for improving the accuracy of forensic examiner testimony.
“We are so excited to benefit from Will’s talents in his new role as Research Director at the Center,” said Brandon Garrett, the Center’s Director. “Will’s thoughtful mentoring of our Duke students, his analytical skills, curiosity about legal problems, and his deep commitment to open science and to justice, make him a remarkable partner in all of our work.”