July 21, 2011
Contemporary Expert Witness In the usual court procedure, the testimony or opinion of the expert witness is the link which connects the probability of a fact. The judge and the jury allow the expert witness to testify in court in order to prove or negate the evidence presented and to determine whether it is admissible or not. With the aid of testimony of an expert witness, the judge and the jury shall be guided on the relevance evidence at hand. The U. S. Supreme Court decision in of the case Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals (509 US 579), the court ruled that “federal trial court judges were obligated to evaluate the basis of expert testimony in order to determine its reliability and value to the jury” (Becker, 2009). In a similar case entitled Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael (526 US 137), the Supreme Court has applied the doctrine laid down in the first case of Daubert as the established criteria or standard of admissibility of expert witness testimony as against non-scientists. These two cases have strengthened the admissibility of expert testimony in federal and state courts. Problems Encountered on the Expert Testimony
According to Walton (1997), “the main problem with the credibility of the expert witness and the authority of science, lies on how the results of the research is communicated to a wider community of users who are not experts on the discipline”. The manner on how the scientific researched is used within a discipline in order to arrive at a conclusion is immaterial and does not require too much attention. But rather, focus is given on the scientific reasoning that was applied in such investigative research as the medium used in order to derive a conclusion. However, the conflict arises when the scientific expert conveys his testimony to the audience, while applying his knowledge and expertise in a particular discipline. This is...