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Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert

Court-Appointed Experts and Witnesses

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National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

According to the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE), the court can call witnesses or appoint experts either on its own motion or at the request or suggestion of a party. Court-appointed experts may be cross-examined by either party. [FRE 614(a)].

Any witness may be interrogated by the court [FRE 614(b)]. Parties may object to the calling of a court witness or to interrogation by the court, but such objections must be made outside the presence of the jury [FRE 614(c)].

A district court has the power and discretion to call any witness as the court's witness. If neither party has subpoenaed a witness to testify, the court may still call that person to testify without the agreement of the parties.1

Estrella-Ortega v. U.S., 423 F.2d 509 (9th Cir. 1970).

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