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NCJ Number: 63962 Find in a Library
Title: EXPERT TESTIMONY IN COURT (FROM DEMONSTRATIVE EVIDENCE IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS, 1979 - SEE NCJ-63957)
Author(s): H LEITHOFF
Corporate Author: Internationale Studien
Bundesinstituts Fuer
Ostwissenschafliche und
West Germany (Former)
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 6
Format: Document
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: THE POSSIBILITIES FOR ERROR IN EXPERT TESTIMONIES, ESPECIALLY IN THE FIELD OF FORENSIC MEDICINE, ARE EMPHASIZED.
Abstract: FORENSIC SCIENCE HAS CONSIDERABLY ENLARGED THE INVESTIGATIVE POWERS OF THE COURTS, AND THE EXPERT WITNESS HAS BECOME AN INDISPENSIBLE FACTOR IN THE JUDGE'S DECISION. MANY EXPERT WITNESSES, HOWEVER, CANNOT LIVE UP TO THE GREAT EXPECTATIONS THE COURT PLACES ON THEM. ALTHOUGH THE EXPERT WITNESS IS IN MANY WAYS SUPERIOR TO THE EYEWITNESS, HE IS NOT INFALLIBLE. THE FACTUAL EVIDENCE IS USUALLY NOT NEARLY AS OBJECTIVE AS IS ASSUMED, AND EXPERTS, INFLUENCED BY THEIR PARTICULAR SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT, MAY FURNISH BIASED TESTIMONY. IN ATTEMPTING TO INTERPRET THE FACTS, EXPERTS SOMETIMES EVEN FALSIFY THE EVIDENCE. IN MEDICAL REPORTS, EXPERTS MANY TIMES PRESENT THEIR HONESTLY FELT OPINIONS AS THE ONLY POSSIBLE INTERPRETATION. IN ORDER TO MINIMIZE THE POSSIBILITIES FOR ERROR, THE JUDGE SHOULD KNOW THE EXPERTS HE USES, SUPPLY THEM WITH COMPLETE INFORMATION, AND ASK CLEAR QUESTIONS. THE EXPERT, ON THE OTHER HAND, SHOULD STATE OPENLY WHETHER HIS TESTIMONY REPRESENTS A WIDELY ACCEPTED INTERPETATION OR AN OUTSIDER'S POINT OF VIEW, HOW CERTAIN HE IS OF HIS CONCLUSIONS, HOW HIS DIAGNOSIS CAN BE VERIFIED, AND WHETHER HE IS AWARE OF DIFFERENT POSSIBILITIES OF INTERPRETING THE EVIDENCE. IN PARTICULARLY SERIOUS CASES, THE POSSIBILITY OF INCLUDING SEVERAL EXPERT WITNESSES SHOULD BE CONSIDERED. THE ARTICLE CONTAINS NO REFERENCES. --IN GERMAN. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--SAJ)
Index Term(s): Accountability; Criminal proceedings; Evidence; Evidence identification; Expert witnesses; Forensic medicine; Trial procedures
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63962

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