The testimony of expert witnesses to inform courtroom decisions is critical if intelligent and just verdicts are to be reached. Few judges, jurors or lay witnesses possess the necessary knowledge to adequately understand the complexities of human behaviour as they relate to acts of interpersonal violence. While lay witnesses can testify to actual incidents or observations, it is the expert witness who can provide forensic significance to such evidence. This volume clearly defines the need for and role of expert witnesses in litigation. The author demystifies the process, and provides practical guidance on preparing and presenting expert testimony. In so doing, he will assist courts to more accurately assess and weigh eviden
Chapter 7: Cross-Examining the Irresponsible Expert Witness
Cross-Examining the Irresponsible Expert Witness
Experts whose opinions are available to the highest bidder have no place testifying in a court of law.
As wise as Judge Higginbotham's words are, they have not become universally accepted. Instead of barring questionable expert testimony, most trial judges admit this evidence and permit jurors to assign to it whatever value they deem appropriate. This “let it all in” philosophy is based on the belief that jurors can properly assess the credibility of expert witnesses and will give their testimony the weight it deserves.
This posture creates enhanced responsibilities for the attorney: If jurors' evaluation of expert testimony is to be meaningful, attorneys bear ...