In any criminal case, a careful investigation is critical, where there should be evidence, witnesses, and evidence. The court, in turn, is responsible for identifying a fair solution for both the victim and the perpetrator. Evidence and witnesses are indispensable assistants for deciding for the court. In addition, if such a witness is an expert witness who does not take sides. Such witnesses are professionals in their field and express their objective opinion without trying to defend or accuse someone. Expert witnesses, under their competence, give evidence that does not exceed their area of activity. Based on this, this paper discusses the three standards used by courts when taking the testimony of an expert witness.
The first and most important standard when deciding on the validity of expert witness testimony is their qualifications. The court, first of all, should take into account the professionalism of the witness since an objective opinion should come only from a person’s qualifications. In this case, it will be easier for the court to trust the witness, and accordingly, it will be much more reliable to make a decision (Ryan et al., 2018). Otherwise, the witness should not be considered an expert because it is likely that he will go beyond his professionalism. For example, an experienced doctor will provide more compelling facts based on his medical analyses. In contrast, a newly minted doctor may not have any information about his or her medical activities.
The following and essential criterion for taking the testimony of an expert witness into account will be the reliability of the witness. In this case, the credibility of the witness’s testimony is evaluated the most. After giving evidence, the words of the expert witness are analyzed, and reliability is checked. First, the question of whether the witness’s testimony coincides with reality and the generally accepted laws of a particular sphere is evaluated. The reliability of the facts provided is the most frequently used criterion in which the judge considers the testimony of a witness (Shapiro et al., 2015). Therefore, reliability is one of the important aspects when giving evidence.
The last thing the judges pay attention to is the competence of the testimony. That is, the question here is whether the testimony of experts is relevant to the case being considered. Various difficulties may arise in the decision of the judges, which causes a dilemma. In this case, expert witnesses with neutral and unbiased testimony come to the rescue. For this reason, the facts presented must be relevant to the judges’ questions. In this case, the testimony of expert witnesses will be a crucial point in making a decision. Rule 702 of the Federal Law states that a person can testify in court when his or her testimony will help in identifying a decision regarding the defendant (Kaye, 2019). Therefore, the court must make sure that the testimony of an expert witness is necessary and whether it is worth wasting time on this.
In conclusion, professionals in their field who are connected with science can be great helpers when considering a court case. For their testimony to be considered, the judge follows specific standards. Such criteria are the qualifications of the person acting as an expert witness. Also, the reliability and helpfulness of this person’s testimony. Only if the criteria mentioned earlier exist, the court is able to accept the testimony of a witness.
Kaye, D. H. (2019). Statistical Science, Daubert, Rule 702, and the PCAST Report. ABA Tenth Annual Prescription for Criminal Justice Forensics.
Ryan, N., & Westera, N. (2018). The effect of expert witness testimony and complainant cognitive statements on mock jurors’ perceptions of rape trial testimony. Psychiatry, psychology and law, 25(5), 693-705.
Shapiro, D. L., Mixon, L., Jackson, M., & Shook, J. (2015). Psychological expert witness testimony and judicial decision-making trends. International journal of law and psychiatry, 42, 149-153.