Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 14, 2018

Peter Martini

Professor of criminal justice and sociology, Peter Martini is interested in mock trials, enjoys reading and traveling to visit family and friends.

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New Professor Brings Criminal Justice Expertise to MU

Tiffany Williams

When Peter Martini was still an undergraduate student engaging in mock trials against Manchester University, he never expected the university to become his future home.

Martini is a new assistant professor of criminal justice and sociology at Manchester University, a small liberal arts college like he had been searching for. He has a degree in interdisciplinary social psychology that has prepared him in many different subjects from medicine and law to criminology and sociology.

When Martini was doing his doctoral work, he was involved with a research arm at the University of Nevada called Th e Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies (GSCJC) that conducted research on a wide variety of subjects related to social and criminal justice. This includes a project he spearheaded on how prison reentry programs work and how to make them more effective so that fewer people return to prison upon release. Additionally, he studied how judges interpret scientific evidence, and was also able to work at the National Judicial College to help teach sitting judges how to do their jobs more effectively by deepening their understanding of statistics, research methodology and which experts to trust and why.

Another research project Martini worked on for the GSCJC was for a forensic science program studying the forgery detection of handwriting analysts compared to that of the average person. In this project, he utilized a robot that follows a person’s pupil within the eye and tracks what a person is looking at to empirically determine if their justification on the forgery matched what they were looking at during their analysis. Martini and his colleagues’ results suggest that handwriting experts found similar results to those of the average person, even though they looked at different parts of a signature. These projects gave him a wide range of backgrounds with which to assist his students.

When not in the classroom, Martini advises students, so they have the best opportunities when they leave Manchester even if he understands they won’t like a certain subject.  “I really see my job as helping [students] get jobs,” he said. “What are the tools that a criminal justice graduate should have or should leave with to be able to get good jobs, and not just get them, but move and be promoted in those jobs?”

He hopes to help with Manchester’s mock trial team this year, now that he has finished his dissertation. In addition to participating in mock trial as an undergraduate, he also coached mock trial before going to graduate school. “That’s something that I’ve been itching to get back into,” he said. “I’m finally ready to do fun stuff again.”

Although Martini has fun with his job, he also enjoys a multitude of other activities, including reading and traveling. He’ll visit his brother’s family in St. Louis, in conjunction with other family members in northern Michigan, and visit friends on the west coast in places such as San Francisco, Reno and Seattle.