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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

Scholarly Works

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 ...


Daubert & Danger: The "Fit" Of Expert Predictions In Civil Commitments, Alexander W. Scherr Jun 2003

Daubert & Danger: The "Fit" Of Expert Predictions In Civil Commitments, Alexander W. Scherr

Popular Media

Never make predictions, especially about the future. But in civil commitments, courts predict future behavior all the time. Judicial action here has severe results for the individual: deprivation of liberty, potentially unwanted and intrusive treatment, and the stigma of mental illness. Judicial inaction can also do harm: erroneous release can lead to injury of the person or others. Resolving these risks requires courts to find the person poses a danger to him/herself or others because of a mental illness.