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Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert

Philosophical Differences

The forensic witness should consider the following philosophical and attendant procedural questions to help facilitate the most effective testimony:   

  • If forensic investigation suggests a result that is scientifically, technically or factually irrefutable, why can't experts simply gather around a table and resolve the dispute in a spirit of collegiality and fraternity? 

  • Why must an expert be subjected to grueling and rigorous cross-examination when the facts are so clear? The expert is confident of his or her expertise and has studied the facts and tested the evidence. The expert is educated and trained in the applicable specialty and can provide answers to most questions about the scientific evidence.  

  • How can another expert witness study the same facts, data or evidence and reach a different conclusion?  

  • How can the attorney know the results of the expert's research and testing in advance without preparing adequate groundwork to arrive at those conclusions? An attorney who draws conclusions without the evidence hinders the expert's role in providing accurate testimony, or it may appear that the expert's integrity is being challenged

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