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NCJ Number: 157503 Find in a Library
Title: Problems of Applying Daubert to Psychological Syndrome Evidence JCIT Judicature, V 79, N 1 (July-August 1995), P 10-16
Author(s): J T Richardson; G P Ginsburg; S Gatowski; S Dobbin
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 7
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The United States Supreme Court's 1993 decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals dramatically changed the law of scientific evidence by requiring judges to play a more extensive gatekeeper role in determining the admissibility of scientific evidence; the decision raises particular problems in relation to the often-controversial evidence regarding psychological syndromes.
Abstract: Although the Daubert decision, which overturned the 1923 Frye decision upon which courts had come to rely, did not discuss social and behavioral science evidence explicitly, it has significant implications for the admissibility of this evidence. Jasanoff's argument that judges are influenced by their own preferences and prejudices seems particularly relevant to psychological syndrome evidence. The Supreme Court's guidelines rely on criteria such as falsifiability and error rate, which are difficult to apply to psychological syndrome evidence. For example, to assess error rates, judges must evaluate the methodology used in the corroborative testing carried out. Thus, biases, prejudices, and misinformation may interfere with the achievement of justice in cases involving psychological syndrome evidence. Footnotes
Main Term(s): US Supreme Court decisions
Index Term(s): Criminology; Expert witnesses; Judicial activism; Judicial discretion; Psychiatric testimony; Rules of evidence
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