Books Magazine

Guest Blogger: Lisa Black: Expert Witness Testimony

By Dplylemd

My guest today is Latent Print Examiner and CSI Lisa Black. She will discuss some of the rules for expert witness testimony in the courtroom.

 

EXPERT WITNESS TESTIMONY IN THE COURTROOM

How does a judge decide which expert witnesses should be allowed to present evidence to a jury? Fingerprint identifications are admitted; lie detector tests are not. What is the basis for this decision?

 

Guest Blogger: Lisa Black: Expert Witness Testimony

For any body of knowledge to be accepted in court it has to pass either Frye or Daubert standards. Frye vs. U.S., (1923) held that expert testimony must be based on scientific methods which are sufficiently established and accepted to have gained general acceptance in its particular field. About 21 states use the Frye standard. The remaining states have adopted the 1993 Daubert vs. Merrell Dow (1995) suggestions (not requirements, though they are treated as such): Has the technique been tested in actual field conditions (and not just in a laboratory)? Has the technique been subject to peer review and publication?  What is the known or potential rate of error? Do standards exist for the control of the technique’s operation? Has the technique been generally accepted within the relevant scientific community?

Fingerprint science easily satisfies all these factors except for one possible sticking point — the error rate. Examiners say there is no error rate, which sounds to non-examiners as if we’re insisting upon our own infallibility, but we say that because as mentioned before, the methodology always corrects the errors, so there might be errors by people but not by the methodology. In a more basic sense an error rate is impossible to concoct, and not only because we can’t agree on what an error would be. Do clerical errors count? Do non-identifications count, where the prints really did match but the examiner didn’t want to say so, either because they rushed through too fast to see it or because they didn’t feel comfortable testifying to it? We encourage examiners not to go out on a limb if they’re not willing to put their job on the line for a statement made in court, but should this considered an error just as saying the prints match when they don’t? And would the number of any errors be divided by the number of identifications—in which case the error rate would be miniscule—or by the number of comparisons, in which case the rate would be incomprehensibly infinitesimal. And the only times we know that an examiner has said prints match when they don’t is when another examiner catches this error—and therefore the methodology works, therefore it’s not an error of the methodology. And we certainly can’t base an error rate on assumed errors that we didn’t catch, because we have no proof that they exist. Hence, no error rate.

So if your manuscript revolves around evidence presented in court, you might want to check out whether you live in a Daubert state or a Frye state!

 

Guest Blogger: Lisa Black: Expert Witness Testimony

Lisa Black’s fourth book Defensive Wounds was released by Harper Collins on September 27. Forensic scientist Theresa MacLean battles a serial killer operating at an attorney’s convention. Lisa is a full time latent print examiner and CSI for a police department in Florida.

 

Guest Blogger: Lisa Black: Expert Witness Testimony


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • “This Diet Has Been Nothing Short of Life Changing for Me and My Family”

    Tyler has been able to truly turn his life around with a low-carb diet. Here's how he massively increased his energy levels and lost 100 lbs (45 kg) in only... Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • New Keto Meal Plan

    Our popular low-carb meal-plan tool gives you everything you need to succeed on low carb. Meal plans, recipes and shopping lists - no planning required! Adjust... Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • Vegan Rocket Pesto Pasta!

    Vegan Rocket Pesto Pasta!

    I harvested a lot of wild rocket in our garden hey, what to do with it? I knew that I made a previous non-vegan rocket pesto that was so delicious. Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Sophies Foodie
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES, VEGETARIAN & VEGAN
  • Party Saturday

    According to the calendar, summer started this past week. According to Tajikistan, summer started last month. And so by now, a month into summer, it is hot. Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Sherwoods
    FAMILY, PARENTING
  • Sunday Bliss Is..

    Sunday Bliss Is..

    ..baking these adorable red berry and almond blondies in this understated sunlit kitchen. Join the Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Myparadissi
    HOME, INTERIOR DESIGN
  • 5 Reasons NOT To Start With A Non-Profit Business

    Reasons Start With Non-Profit Business

    A common misconception I often hear in the startup world is that non-profits are easy and safe, since they don’t have to pay taxes, and they don’t have to make ... Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Martin Zwilling
    BUSINESS, CAREER
  • A Day at the Marvellous West Woodhay Gardeners' Fair

    Marvellous West Woodhay Gardeners' Fair

    I received an invitation the other day to go to the West Woodhay Gardeners' Fair; a quick check on the map and I thought it would make a nice day trip. I happil... Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Ozhene
    GARDENING, HOME