Mark Denbeaux

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Mark P. Denbeaux)
Jump to: navigation, search
Mark Denbeaux
Born (1943-07-30) July 30, 1943 (age 73)
Gainesville, Florida, U.S.

Mark P. Denbeaux (born July 30, 1943 in Gainesville, Florida) is a law professor at Seton Hall University School of Law in New Jersey[1] and the Director of its Center for Policy and Research.[2]

He is notable for directing numerous studies on the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and its operations, published by the Center for Policy and Research and based on data by the United States Department of Defense.[2] The first was Report on Guantanamo Detainees, A Profile of 517 Detainees through Analysis of Department of Defense Data (February 8, 2006), which provided a summary of data about the detainees, including circumstances of capture and allegations used to justify detention. These reports have contradicted numerous government statements about the detainees and conditions at the camps, based on DOD data. Denbeaux has testified the findings of the Center to Congress. The Center's 15th report, Death in Camp Delta (2009), analyzed the Naval Criminal Investigative Service's report of 2008, which investigated the deaths of three detainees on June 10, 2006, reported by DOD as suicides.

Denbeaux also is a practicing attorney in the family law firm of Denbeaux & Denbeaux in Westwood, New Jersey. He and his son Joshua Denbeaux are the legal representatives of two Tunisian detainees at Guantanamo.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Mark Denbeaux was born in Gainesville, Florida and grew up there. He attended local schools before going to the Commonwealth School.

Denbeaux received his B.A. from College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio) in 1965.[2] An active supporter of civil rights in the 1960s, Denbeaux participated in the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. Following the March on Washington, Denbeaux founded a NAACP chapter in Wooster. He also marched in Selma, Alabama for voting rights in 1965.

He attended New York University School of Law (New York, NY), where he graduated in 1968.[2]


Early career[edit]

After graduating from NYU Law School in 1968, Denbeaux became a founding member of the South Bronx Legal Services.[3] He was appointed as the city-wide coordinator for the Community Action for Legal Services from 1970 to 1972.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, Denbeaux represented Black Panther Party in the Bronx and Manhattan with Jeffrey Brand, now the Dean of the University of San Francisco Law School.[4] He represented the Young Lords in the Bronx during their takeover of Lincoln Hospital.

In the early 1970s, Denbeaux represented a number of U.S. soldiers charged with disobeying orders during the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement. He defended some in courts martial.

Seton Hall University Law[edit]

In 1972, Denbeaux joined the Seton Hall Law School Faculty. He has taught courses including Evidence, Remedies, Uniform Commercial Code, Contracts, Professional Responsibility, Federal Civil Procedure, Torts, and Constitutional Law. He has been an elected member of the American Law Institute since 1980.[5]

In 2006, Denbeaux founded the Center for Policy and Research at Seton Hall University Law School. This work was originally inspired by Denbeaux' pro bono representation of two Guantanamo detainees.[6] He and his son are among more than 100 attorneys who have represented detainees there.[7]

The Center produces analytic reports in three key areas: interrogations and intelligence, national security, and forensics. Under Denbeaux's supervision, students working as research fellows in teams develop skills in pattern recognition, factual evaluation, and data analysis; Seton Hall University has published their original reports on issues concerning law and public policy.[6]

Denbeaux is well known for the Center's Guantanamo Reports, studies of United States operations and policies at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp; by late 2009, fifteen studies had been published in this series.

The law research fellows have systematically analyzed data published by the Department of Defense; they have reviewed more than 100,000 pages of government documents procured through the Freedom of Information Act. The first report was a statistical analysis of characteristics of the 517 detainees held in 2005. The Guantanamo Reports have been widely cited and published globally.[6]


Denbeaux is an expert in forensic testimony. He teaches an upper-level seminar at Seton Hall Law on forensic evidence. The course evaluates the reliability of experts who testify as to handwriting identification, fingerprint identification, ballistics, tool marks, blood spatter, bite marks, and other crime scene forensic evidence and witnesses. The analysis of these areas includes an evaluation of the reliability and validity of each area's conclusions, the value of each area's proficiency testing, and the methodology upon which the conclusions are reached.

In order to fully evaluate forensic evidence, the Center has established a crime laboratory, certified by the requisite proficiency tests. Its representatives have given expert opinions about the methodology used by specific forensic fields in court. Its written reports have been used in court proceedings. A significant part of the seminar includes participating in these projects.

Denbeaux has spoken on the subject of forensic science at dozens of academic gatherings and has testified as an expert witness on the limitations of forensic evidence more than fifty times in state and federal courts as well as in administrative proceedings.[5] His testimony has been cited in published cases in addition to the Third and Eleventh Circuits (U.S. v. Yagman and U.S. v. Pettus).

U.S. v. Yagman

Denbeaux offered testimony questioning the reliability of handwriting analysis in this 2007 trial. His testimony was limited to his observations about the limitations and/or flaws in handwriting analysis generally, not as specifically applicable to the facts in Yagman.[8]

Alexander v. Chapman

289 Ark. 238

U.S. v. Hines

Denbeaux served as an expert witness in U.S. v. Hines, in which the government's motion to exclude Denbeaux's testimony was deemed moot. The government argued that Denbeaux's testimony did not meet the standards of Daubert and Kumho, while Denbeaux concluded that there is no need for expert testimony on handwriting analysis as it has never been proven reliable.[9]

U.S. v. Ruth

In U.S. v. Ruth, the issue in question was whether the military judge abused his discretion by denying production of Denbeaux, who was slated to testify as an expert critic of handwriting analysis.[10]

High-profile cases[edit]

Denbeaux defended Sydney Biddle Barrows, the "Mayflower Madam," in 1984. Barrows ran Cachet, an escort service in New York City, from 1979 until 1984, when the service was shut down. She was charged with promoting prostitution by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. She eventually pleaded guilty.[11]

In 1997 Denbeaux served as a forensic expert for the trial of Timothy McVeigh, charged with bombing the Oklahoma Federal Building.[12]

Private practice[edit]

Denbeaux serves as Attorney of Counsel for the family law firm Denbeaux and Denbeaux.[13]


  • Trial Evidence, (I.C.L.E.), (with Michael Risinger), 1978
  • New Jersey Evidentiary Foundations, Denbeaux, Arseneault and Imwinkelried, The Michie Company, 1995.
  • The Guantánamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison, Outside the Law, edited with Jonathan Hafetz, 2010[7]

Center for Policy and Research, Guantanamo Reports[edit]

<--!keep in chronological order - oldest to most recent-->


  • "Trust, Cynicism, and Machiavellianism Among First Year Law Students, 53 J. of Urban Law 397" (1976).
  • "Restitution and Mass Actions: A Solution to the Problems of Class Actions," 10 Seton Hall L. Rev. 273 (1979).
  • "Questioning Questions: Problems of Form in the Interrogation of Witness," 33 Arkansas L. Rev. 439 (1980) (with Risinger).
  • "The First Word of the First Amendment," Northwestern University L. Rev. (1988).
  • "Exorcism of Ignorance as a Proxy for Rational Knowledge: The Lessons of Handwriting Identification 'Expertise'," U. of Pa. L. Rev. (1989) (with Risinger & Saks).
  • "Brave New 'Post- Daubert World'--A Reply to Professor Moenssens," 29 Seton Hall L. Rev. 405 (1998) (with Risinger and Saks).

Book review[edit]

  • "Resignation in Protest: Political and Ethical Choices Between Loyalty to Team and Loyalty to Conscience in American Public Life," 4 Hofstra L. Rev. (1976).


  • American Bar Foundation, 1974-78. Recipient of a grant, with Professor Alan Katz of Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut, to conduct a longitudinal study on law student attitudes toward politics, law and legal education
  • "Alteration or Elaboration: Does Law School Instill Cynicism?," (with Alan Katz), National Conferences on Teaching Professional Responsibility, Detroit, Michigan, Sept. 1977


  1. ^ "Mark Denbeaux". Seton Hall Law. SHU School of Law. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Mark Denbeaux". Seton Hall Law Faculty Profile. Seton Hall Law. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Mark Denbeaux". Mark Denbeaux: Attorney Biography. Denbeaux & Denbeaux Attorneys at Law. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Jeffrey S. Brand". Jeffrey S. Brand Biography. University of San Francisco School of Law. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Mark Denbeaux". Denbeaux & Denbeaux: Attorney Profile. Denbeaux & Denbeaux Attorneys at Law. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Center for Policy & Research". Seton Hall Law. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Richard Bernstein, Letter from America: "Guantánamo Lawyers Showed Their Moral Fiber", New York Times, 8 October 2010, accessed 10 February 2013
  8. ^ U.S. v. Yagman, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95505, p. 3 
  9. ^ U.S. v. Hines, 55 F. Supp. 2d 62 (1999 U.S. Dist. Lexis 9306), p. 68 
  10. ^ U.S. v. Ruth, 46 M.J. 1; 1997 CAAF LEXIS 15, US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces 
  11. ^ Haden-Guest, Anthony (Dec 10, 1984). "The Story of the Mayflower Madam". New York Magazine. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  12. ^ Jones, Stephen (1998). Others Unknown: Timothy Mcveigh and the Oklahoma Bombing. Public Affairs. ISBN 1-58648-098-7. 
  13. ^ "Denbeaux & Denbeaux". Denbeaux & Denbeaux Attorneys at Law. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 

External links[edit]