Evidence; Rule 702; Experts; Federal Rules of Evidence


It is a great privilege and honor to be asked to participate in even a small way in the work of the rules advisory process. The topic today is important, and there is a lot of brain power in the room, so much that we may be able to solve some of the problems posed by forensics. Knowledge is certainly advancing, and generally reliable consensus on some of the issues plaguing the use of forensic experts at trial may be decided in the sense that any issue is decided in a typical scientific field. More or less definitely resolving scientific controversies will have two important consequences in the real world. First, certain issues will not really be the subject of litigation, notwithstanding the conventional but false belief that there can be no directed verdicts, even partial directed verdicts, in criminal cases. In fact, certain issues will already have been decided, such as many issues concerning the scientific foundations of DNA testing. Second, certain other issues will continue to be the foundation upon which qualified experts offer opposing opinions.


Law; Criminal Law; Evidence; Courts; Judges