The 20 chapters in Courts, Law, and Justice cover a wide range of sharply contested topics, including drug and gun control laws as well as the ins and outs of the criminal justice system as encountered by arrested suspects, during the trial process, and during the sentencing phase. This volume looks closely at Miranda rights and the impact of polygraphs and DNA testing; legal and procedural issues during prosecution, including exclusionary rules and double jeopardy; and sentencing and punishment for crimes, including for offenses such as DUI and sex offenses. The role of the victim during the prosecutorial process is also examined. Addressing such engaging topics as asset forfeiture, DNA evidence, double jeopardy, expert witnesses and “hired guns,” eyewitness testimony and accuracy, insanity defense, the jury system, mandatory sentencing, plea bargaining, polygraphs, three-strikes laws, and more, the authors of this volume all closely examine the development of the justice system and consider the key opinions supporting or contesting the laws and policies used during investigation, prosecution, and sentencing. The SeriesThe five brief, issues-based books in SAGE Reference’s Key Issues in Crime & Punishment Series offer examinations of controversial programs, practices, problems or issues from varied perspectives. Volumes correspond to the five central subfields in the Criminal Justice curriculum: Crime & Criminal Behavior, Policing, The Courts, Corrections, and Juvenile Justice. Each volume consists of approximately 20 chapters offering succinct pro/con examinations, and Recommended Readings conclude each chapter, highlighting different approaches to or perspectives on the issue at hand. As a set, these volumes provide perfect reference support for students writing position papers in undergraduate courses spanning the Criminal Justice curriculum. Each title is approximately 350 pages in length.
Chapter 7: Expert Witnesses and Hired Guns
Expert Witnesses and Hired Guns
To obtain a conviction of a person for committing a crime, the state, through the prosecutor, must present sufficient evidence to convince the jury of the guilt of the suspect beyond a reasonable doubt. Evidence to support a conviction can take many forms, such as testimonial evidence of witnesses; physical evidence, such as the weapon used in the commission of the crime; and documentary evidence, such as the ransom note employed during a kidnapping. In almost all criminal proceedings, witnesses are the primary source of evidence against the accused. Almost all criminal convictions hinge upon the testimony of the witnesses presented by the prosecution. It is uncommon for criminal convictions to rest solely on physical evidence. ...