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Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert

Methods of Challenging Forensic Fraud and Unethical Behavior

Photo of a forensic analyst talking to a jury in a courtroom
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Surveys have established that jurors rely heavily on forensic testimony in a high percentage of cases. In many cases, jurors report that forensic witnesses were very persuasive in the ultimate outcome of the case.

For the forensic witness to continue in this posture of pre-eminence in the legal process, it is essential for the witness's expert testimony to be able to withstand the challenges of rigorous cross-examination.

Effective cross-examination is often an objective technique to attack or impeach the testimony of a fraudulent or unethical forensic witness. Cross-examining attorneys can challenge forensic testimony based upon:

  • Fraud.
  • Unethical behavior.
  • Incomplete or inadequate investigation.
  • Lack of preparation.
  • Inexperience.

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