Court’s Determination of Admissibility of Expert Witness Testimony
Compare and contrast the tests used by the courts to determine admissibility of expert witness testimony.
An intelligent assessment of facts to establish acceptability of expert witness testimony requires some technical, scientific, or other specialized expertise. One of the commonly used tests is the use of fingerprint since every person’s fingerprints are unique, and so, it is considered to be the most reliable method of testing. However, some courts have argued that this test does not sufficiently meet the scientific standard of testing and that, information of record is not persuasive as to ACE-V does not function under uniformly validated scientific standards (Chapter 11).
As with fingerprints, all firearms have unique features which enable firearm examiners to analyze cartridge casings and bullets to establish if they were discharged from the same firearm. Courts have for a long time acknowledged these kinds of forensic evidence and specialist testimony. Another method used by courts is the bite mark identification, which goes by the theory that each individual’s dentition is different, and can, hence, leave an identifiable mark. When analyzed appropriately, bite mark can not only substantiate the participation of a given person in crime, but also aid in the liberation of the innocent (Chapter 11).
Tool mark is another common test used by courts as the marks left behind for example, on a window or a door by the tool can later be matched with a suspect’s tool to establish if they match or not. Most courts also acknowledge blood spatter analysis and handwriting analysis although some question its reliability. Lastly, there are newer methods of identification which include DNA and voice identification which have been brought about by new technologies (Chapter 11).
What legal challenges have forensic disciplines such as Document Analysis faced since the enactment of the Daubert Standards?
A number of legal challenges have arisen since the court enacted the Daubert Standard. There has been issues as to whether the forensic proof has been or can be tested. Another challenge is whether the technique or theory has been subjected to publication and peer review. There is also an issue of possible rate of error, whether there is presence and maintenance of standards regulating the theory’s operation, and its level of general acceptance in the relevant scientific society (Chapter 10).
Chapter 10. Forensic evidence and testing.
Chapter 11. Admissibility of forensic evidence and …