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University of Georgia School of Law

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Daubert & Danger: The "Fit" Of Expert Predictions In Civil Commitments, Alex Scherr Nov 2003

Daubert & Danger: The "Fit" Of Expert Predictions In Civil Commitments, Alex Scherr

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The opinions of experts in prediction in civil commitment hearings should help the courts, but over thirty years of commentary, judicial opinion, and scientific review argue that predictions of danger lack scientific rigor. The United States Supreme Court has commented regularly on the uncertainty of predictive science. The American Psychiatric Association has argued to the Court that "[t]he professional literature uniformly establishes that such predictions are fundamentally of very low reliability." Scientific studies indicate that some predictions do little better than chance or lay speculation, and even the best predictions leave substantial room for error about individual cases. The ...