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 :

  • Big Food Giants Manipulate Public Health Policy in China

    Food Giants Manipulate Public Health Policy China

    Coca-Cola is at it again. As soda sales decline in the United States and Europe, beverage companies look to emerging economies like China for growth. And, it... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • Jewellery for a Precious You

    Jewellery Precious

    Jewellery is always close to a woman’s heart. It completes her look and boost confidence. Considering the changing trends in jewellery fashion, it becomes... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Dr.jenifer Sayyed
    LIFESTYLE
  • Rajshri Productions’ Next Is A Film On Friendship | Hum Chaar | Trailer

    Abhishek Dixit’s debut feature film Hum Chaar is a Bollywood film made under the banner of Rajshri’s film. Hum Chaar is written and directed by Abhishek Dixit. Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Themoviean
    ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES
  • Saint Paul the First Hermit

    Saint Paul First Hermit

    Today is the feast day of Saint Paul the hermit. This is a sweet and delicate Oatmeal Bread topped with rolled oats and naturally sweetened with agave. Saint... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Veronica46
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • Irupathiyonnaam Noottaandu | Teaser | Pranav Mohanlal | Arun Gopy

    Arun Gopy’s Irupathiyonnaam Noottaandu is an upcoming Malayalam action-drama feature film starring Pranav Mohanlal and Zaya David in the lead roles. Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Themoviean
    ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES
  • A Year Of Body Positivity

    Year Body Positivity

    Last January, as I sat there on New Years eve all set to make the same old resolutions I've made year after year for as long as I can remember, I realised how... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Sparklesandstretchmarks
    DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – Jan 2019

    Garden Bloggers Bloom 2019

    Euphorbia rigidaWhen I went out to take the photos for this blog post I was surprised at how much was in flower dotted around the garden. Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Patientgardener
    GARDENING, HOME