Dr. Robert Leonard – who has been described as “A Sam Spade of semantics” by the New Yorker and “Think Professor Henry Higgins meets Sherlock Holmes” by Newsday – will deliver the Fall 2013 Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series, on Wednesday, October 9, during Common Hour (11:15 a.m.-12:40 p.m.). The lecture, presented by the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, will take place at the Guthart Theater, located on the first floor of the Axinn Library.
Dr. Leonard is one of the world’s foremost forensic linguists: a scientist who solves crimes by analyzing language. His lecture, “Language as Evidence: Scientific Linguistic Analysis in Criminal, Civil and Intelligence Cases,” will discuss theoretical approaches to language and how the application of these theories helps serve the cause of justice by allowing a more objective analysis of linguistic evidence such as death threats, purported confessions, wire taps, suicide notes and contracts.
Dr. Leonard is professor of linguistics at Hofstra and founding director of the Graduate Program in Forensic Linguistics. He is also founding director of the Institute for Forensic Linguistics, Threat Assessment and Strategic Analysis; and professor of Swahili.
Dr. Leonard’s clients have included Apple, Inc., Facebook, the Prime Minister of Canada, the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force, and the U.S. Dept. of Justice. His testimony has been pivotal in investigating and prosecuting several high profile cases, including the JonBenet Ramsey case, and the triple homicide of the Coleman family in Illinois.
He has consulted for the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force, the FBI, Apple Inc., Federal Public Defenders offices, and the prime minister of Canada. He was recruited by the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI to train its agents in forensic linguistic analysis at Quantico, and he has trained special British law enforcement units in London.