Use of Expert Witness in Court Procedings and Trial - Research Paper Example

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The objective of this research is to acquire a better insight of the advantages and disadvantages of the use of expert witness in court proceedings and trials. The paper tells that expert witnesses possess specialized knowledge that is useful to judges and juries that others do not possess…
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Use of Expert Witness in Court Procedings and Trial
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Download file to see previous pages This research will begin with the statement that experts have become a fixture of the American legal system. Expert testimony is a de jure requirement for some types of lawsuits and a de facto requirement for others. It is widely thought that the use of experts in American courts has increased dramatically in recent decades. The difference between an expert witness and other witnesses of the court is that expert witnesses are permitted and even encouraged to offer opinions and inferences. There are advantages and disadvantages of admitting such testimony, which has been the subject of much controversy and debate. Saferstein related that an expert witness is, "an individual whom the court determines possesses knowledge relevant to the trial that is not expected of the average layperson". Saferstein stated that the knowledge of the expert witness is obtained through training, education, experience or any combination of the three. A problem exists because a judge is making the decision on expert witness qualifications in highly technical fields. Expert witnesses may often testify to issues in forensic psychology, firearms identification, or forensic chemistry to name a few of the disciplines. Any number of other social and natural sciences may be deemed forensic in their application to the law. How is the judiciary to know, if what the expert witness is professing is based on a sound foundation of legitimate social, psychological, and natural sciences? The attorneys on each side of the American Court adversarial system may both profess to have expert witnesses. Those proffered witnesses may interpret the exact same evidence differently.

Expert witnesses are different from other witnesses in several key respects. Witnesses who are called to give testimony about particular events generally are not permitted to state opinions about the meaning of the facts. Only witnesses that have been qualified as experts by the court have that privilege. Unlike other witnesses, experts do not necessarily testify about events they have witnessed personally, nor is it necessary that they offer evidence specific to the matter at hand. They may offer generalizations from their own experience or from data or studies that are not necessarily derived from the particular dispute being litigated (Vollen & Eggers, 2005). For example, a toxicologist may testify about the effect of a certain substance on humans based on previous scientific studies concerning that substance, and the toxicologist need not have examined the injured party.
The expert witness is a teacher who, by virtue of education and experience, educates the court regarding information to which the triers of fact ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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