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Race, Gatekeeping, Magical Words, And The Rules Of Evidence, Bennet Capers -- Professor Of Law Nov 2023

Race, Gatekeeping, Magical Words, And The Rules Of Evidence, Bennet Capers -- Professor Of Law

Vanderbilt Law Review

Although it might not be apparent from the Federal Rules of Evidence themselves, or the common law that preceded them, there is a long history in this country of tying evidence-what is deemed relevant, what is deemed trustworthy-to race. And increasingly, evidence scholars are excavating that history. Indeed, not just excavating, but showing how that history has racial effects that continue into the present.

One area that has escaped racialized scrutiny-at least of the type I am interested in-is that of expert testimony. Even in my own work on race and evidence, I have avoided discussion of expert testimony. In …


The Consensus Rule: A New Approach To Scientific Evidence, Edward K. Cheng Jan 2022

The Consensus Rule: A New Approach To Scientific Evidence, Edward K. Cheng

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Founded on good intentions but unrealistic expectations, the dominant Daubert framework for handling expert and scientific evidence should be scrapped. Daubert asks judges and jurors to make substantively expert determinations, a task they are epistemically incompetent to perform as laypersons. As an alternative, this Article proposes a new framework for handling expert evidence. It draws from the social and philosophical literature on expertise and begins with a basic question: How can laypersons make intelligent decisions about expert topics? From there, it builds its evidentiary approach, which ultimately results in an inference rule focused on expert communities. Specifically, when dealing with …


Proving Copying, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Peter S. Menell Jan 2022

Proving Copying, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Peter S. Menell

Faculty Scholarship

Proof that a defendant actually copied from a copyrighted work is a critical part of a claim for copyright infringement. Indeed, absent such copying, there is no infringement. The most common method of proving copying involves the use of circumstantial evidence, consisting of proof that a defendant had “access” to the protected work, and a showing of “similarities” between the copy and the protected work. In inferring copying from the combination of such evidence, courts have for many decades developed a framework known as the “inverse ratio rule,” which allows them to modulate the level of proof needed on access …


Junk Evidence: A Call To Scrutinize Historical Cell Site Location Evidence, Victoria Saxe Nov 2020

Junk Evidence: A Call To Scrutinize Historical Cell Site Location Evidence, Victoria Saxe

The University of New Hampshire Law Review

Historical cell site location information (CSLI) has been offered as objective, scientific location evidence in criminal trials, but is far less precise than the claims it is used to support. Not only is there no way to pinpoint a cellphone’s precise geographic location from historical CSLI, but there are also no known validation or error rates for the methodologies used to collect and analyze this data. A 2019 telecommunications scandal in Denmark revealed gross inadequacies in the cellphone data and software used by law enforcement to analyze this type of evidence. The scandal sent shockwaves through the country’s legal community …


The Acquisition Of Scientific Evidence Between Frye And Daubert. From Ad Hominem Arguments To Cross-Examination Among Experts, Lorenzo Zoppellari Jun 2020

The Acquisition Of Scientific Evidence Between Frye And Daubert. From Ad Hominem Arguments To Cross-Examination Among Experts, Lorenzo Zoppellari

OSSA Conference Archive

The Frye and Daubert rulings give us two very different ways to intend the relation between law and science. Through the contributions of Wellman and Walton, we will see how the main method to question the expert’s testimony before a judge deferent to science is to question her personal integrity by using ad hominem arguments. Otherwise, using Alvin Goldman’s novice/expert problem, we will investigate if other manners of argumentative cross-examinations are possible.


The Truthsayer And The Court: Expert Testimony On Credibility, Michael W. Mullane Apr 2020

The Truthsayer And The Court: Expert Testimony On Credibility, Michael W. Mullane

Maine Law Review

The purpose of this Article is to analyze the admissibility of expert testimony on credibility. State v. Woodburn serves as a lens to focus on the broader issues. The primary issue is an examination of expert testimony on credibility in light of the Federal Rules of Evidence and their progeny. The Rules of Evidence mandate admission or exclusion of expert testimony based on certain criteria. How are these criteria applied to expert testimony on credibility? How should they be applied? The surprising survivability of other criteria discarded by the Rules is also considered.


Conference On Best Practices For Managing Daubert Questions, Daniel J. Capra, David G. Campbell, Debra A. Livingston, James P. Bassett, Shelly Dick, Traci L. Lovitt, Thomas Marten, Kathryn N. Nester, Thomas D. Schroeder, Elizabeth J. Shapiro, Timothy Lau, Vince Chhabria, John Z. Lee, William H. Orrick Iii, Edmund A. Sargus Jr., Sarah A. Vance, Edward K. Cheng Jan 2020

Conference On Best Practices For Managing Daubert Questions, Daniel J. Capra, David G. Campbell, Debra A. Livingston, James P. Bassett, Shelly Dick, Traci L. Lovitt, Thomas Marten, Kathryn N. Nester, Thomas D. Schroeder, Elizabeth J. Shapiro, Timothy Lau, Vince Chhabria, John Z. Lee, William H. Orrick Iii, Edmund A. Sargus Jr., Sarah A. Vance, Edward K. Cheng

Faculty Scholarship

This article is a transcript of the Philip D. Reed Lecture Series Conference on Best Practices for Managing Daubert Questions, held on October 25, 2019, at Vanderbilt Law School under the sponsorship of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules. The transcript has been lightly edited and represents the panelists’ individual views only and in no way reflects those of their affiliated firms, organizations, law schools, or the judiciary.


Standards Of Review In Texas, W. Wendell Hall, Ryan G. Anderson Nov 2019

Standards Of Review In Texas, W. Wendell Hall, Ryan G. Anderson

St. Mary's Law Journal

Abstract forthcoming


The "Damned" In A Flashover State: Arson And The Use Of Scientific Methods And Expert Testimony In West Virginia, Christopher W. Maidona Dec 2018

The "Damned" In A Flashover State: Arson And The Use Of Scientific Methods And Expert Testimony In West Virginia, Christopher W. Maidona

West Virginia Law Review Online

The fire moved quickly through the house as Cameron Todd Willingham screamed for his children from the front porch. Inside the blaze were his three children. Firefighters arrived, uncoiled hoses, and aimed water at the raging fire. However, all three Willingham children died that night from smoke inhalation.

News of the December 23, 1991, tragedy spread throughout Corsicana, Texas. Meanwhile, investigators sought to determine what caused the fire. The investigators “toured the perimeter of the house, taking notes and photographs, like archeologists mapping out a ruin.” In the kitchen, they found smoke and heat damage—signs the fire had not originated …


Introduction, Shari S. Diamond, Richard O. Lempert Oct 2018

Introduction, Shari S. Diamond, Richard O. Lempert

Articles

Experts bedeviled the legal system long before seventeenth-century Salem, when the town's good citizens relied on youthful accusers and witchcraft experts to identify the devil's servants in their midst. As in Salem, claims of expertise have often been questioned and objections raised about the bases of expert knowledge. Expertise, then and now, did not have to be based on science; but the importance of science and the testimony of scientific experts has since medieval times been woven into the fabric of the English jurisprudence that Americans inherited. In cases as long ago as 1299 we find examples of courts seeking …


"Dirty" Experts: Ethical Challenges Concerning, And A Comparative Perspective On, The Use Of Consulting Experts, David S. Caudill Jul 2018

"Dirty" Experts: Ethical Challenges Concerning, And A Comparative Perspective On, The Use Of Consulting Experts, David S. Caudill

St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

U.S. attorneys often hire consulting experts who potentially never get named as testifying experts. The same practice is evident in Australia, where the colloquial distinction is between a “clean” and a “dirty” expert, the latter being in the role of a consultant who is considered a member of the client’s “legal team.” A “clean” expert named as a witness is then called “independent,” signaling that he or she is not an advocate. In contrast to the U.S. discourse concerning consulting and testifying experts, focused on discovery issues, the conversation in Australia betrays immediate ethical concerns that both (i) explain why …


Life After Daubert V. Merrell Dow: Maine As A Case Law Laboratory For Evidence Rule 702 Without Frye, Leigh Stephens Mccarthy Apr 2018

Life After Daubert V. Merrell Dow: Maine As A Case Law Laboratory For Evidence Rule 702 Without Frye, Leigh Stephens Mccarthy

Maine Law Review

In reaching its recent decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the United States Supreme Court grappled not with case law but with fundamental questions about the nature of science and its role in law. The court in Daubert addressed the problematic issue of admissibility of expert scientific testimony. In the end the Court rejected as an exclusionary rule the venerable standard set in 1923 by Frye v. United States. Frye held that scientific testimony was to be excluded unless it had gained “general acceptance” in its field. Daubert held that Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence …


Expert Testimony And Professional Licensing Boards: What Is Good, What Is Necessary, And The Myth Of The Majority-Minority Split, Timothy P. Mccormack Feb 2018

Expert Testimony And Professional Licensing Boards: What Is Good, What Is Necessary, And The Myth Of The Majority-Minority Split, Timothy P. Mccormack

Maine Law Review

Defendants regularly argue that a Review Board's decision must be overturned because it is not supported by expert testimony. Boards counter that they are qualified, by virtue of their role as the guardians of the standards for their profession, to determine the appropriateness of a defendant's conduct without the assistance of expert testimony. When courts address these arguments, they routinely ask if expert testimony is necessary to establish the standard of care in disciplinary hearings before a professional licensing board. Courts answer this question differently. In fact there is a seeming schism among the states about the importance of expert …


Debunked, Discredited, But Still Defended: Why Prosecutors Resist Challenges To Bad Science And Some Suggestions For Crafting Remedies For Wrongful Conviction Based On Changed Science, Aviva A. Orenstein Jan 2018

Debunked, Discredited, But Still Defended: Why Prosecutors Resist Challenges To Bad Science And Some Suggestions For Crafting Remedies For Wrongful Conviction Based On Changed Science, Aviva A. Orenstein

Articles by Maurer Faculty

Flawed science has significantly contributed to wrongful convictions. Courts struggle with how to address such convictions when the mistaken science (such as bogus expert claims about the differences between accidental fires and intentionally set ones) significantly affected the guilty verdict but there is no DNA evidence to directly exonerate the accused. My short piece explores why prosecutors often defend bad science. Mistakes in science tend to serve the prosecution, but there are other more subtle factors that explain prosecutors’ reluctance to address flawed forensic testimony. Such reluctance may arise from fondness for the status quo and a resistance to subverting …


How Sound Is The Science? Applying Daubert To Biomechanical Experts’ Injury Causation Opinions, Loren Peck Apr 2016

How Sound Is The Science? Applying Daubert To Biomechanical Experts’ Injury Causation Opinions, Loren Peck

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


The Science Of Gatekeeping: Using The Structure Of Scientific Inference To Draw The Line Between Admissibility And Weight In Expert Testimony, Christopher Slobogin, David Faigman, John Monahan Jan 2016

The Science Of Gatekeeping: Using The Structure Of Scientific Inference To Draw The Line Between Admissibility And Weight In Expert Testimony, Christopher Slobogin, David Faigman, John Monahan

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Fundamental to all evidence rules is the division of responsibility between the judge, who determines the admissibility of evidence, and the jury, which gauges its weight. In most evidentiary contexts, such as those involving hearsay and character, threshold admissibility obligations are clear and relatively uncontroversial. The same is not true for scientific evidence. The complex nature of scientific inference, and in particular the challenges of reasoning from group data to individual cases, has bedeviled courts. As a result, courts vary considerably on how they define the judge's gatekeeping task under Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and its state equivalents.

This …


New Rules Of War In The Battle Of The Experts: Amending The Expert Witness Disqualification Test For Conflicts Of Interest, Nina A. Vershuta Jan 2016

New Rules Of War In The Battle Of The Experts: Amending The Expert Witness Disqualification Test For Conflicts Of Interest, Nina A. Vershuta

Brooklyn Law Review

In civil litigation, the big business of retaining experts has raised concerns about the integrity of the adversarial process and undermined the role that expert testimony plays at trial. Due to a rising demand for expert testimony, it is common for the same expert to testify for opposing clients. When a client hires an expert who has been previously retained by that client’s adversary, a conflict of interest arises. Such experts may share confidential information with their new client to the detriment of the former client—triggering the expert disqualification test for conflicts of interest. Most state and federal courts do …


Amicus Brief: Kumho Tire V. Carmichael, Neil Vidmar, Richard Lempert, Shari Diamond, Valerie Hans, Stephan Landsman, Robert Maccoun, Joseph Sanders, Harmon Hosch, Saul Kassin, Marc Galanter, Theodore Eisenberg, Stephen Daniels, Edith Greene, Joanne Martin, Steven Penrod, James Richardson, Larry Heuer, Irwin Horowitz Dec 2015

Amicus Brief: Kumho Tire V. Carmichael, Neil Vidmar, Richard Lempert, Shari Diamond, Valerie Hans, Stephan Landsman, Robert Maccoun, Joseph Sanders, Harmon Hosch, Saul Kassin, Marc Galanter, Theodore Eisenberg, Stephen Daniels, Edith Greene, Joanne Martin, Steven Penrod, James Richardson, Larry Heuer, Irwin Horowitz

Robert MacCoun

This brief addresses the issue of jury performance and jury responses to expert testimony. It reviews and summaries a substantial body of research evidence about jury behavior that has been produced over the past quarter century. The great weight of that evidence challenges the view that jurors abdicate their responsibilities as fact finders when faced with expert evidence or that they are pro-plaintiff, anti-defendant, and anti-business.

The Petitioners and amici on behalf of petitioners make a number of overlapping, but empirically unsupported, assertions about jury behavior in response to expert testimony, namely that juries are frequently incapable of critically evaluation …


Economic Authority And The Limits Of Expertise In Antitrust Cases, John E. Lopatka, William H. Page Nov 2015

Economic Authority And The Limits Of Expertise In Antitrust Cases, John E. Lopatka, William H. Page

William H. Page

In antitrust litigation, the factual complexity and economic nature of the issues involved require the presentation of economic expert testimony in all but a few cases. This dependence on economics has increased in recent years because of the courts' narrowing of per se rules of illegality and the courts' expansion of certain areas of factual inquiry. At the same time, however, courts have limited the scope of allowable expert testimony through the methodological strictures of Daubert and its progeny and through heightened sufficiency requirements. In this Article, Professors Page and Lopatka make four important points about these judicially imposed constraints …


The Increasing Use Of Challenges To Expert Evidence Under Daubert And Rule 702 In Patent Litigation, Douglas G. Smith Oct 2015

The Increasing Use Of Challenges To Expert Evidence Under Daubert And Rule 702 In Patent Litigation, Douglas G. Smith

Journal of Intellectual Property Law

No abstract provided.


Cross-Racial Identifications: Solutions To The "They All Look Alike" Effect, Laura Connelly Oct 2015

Cross-Racial Identifications: Solutions To The "They All Look Alike" Effect, Laura Connelly

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

On a late summer evening in August of 1997, Nathan Brown was in his apartment rocking his young daughter to sleep when the police knocked on his door. The police sought Brown, one of a few Black men in his apartment complex, after a young White woman said she had been assaulted by a shirtless Black man wearing black shorts with strong body odor walking through the complex’s courtyard. Minutes later the police took Brown outside and put him in the patrol car for a one-on-one “showup.” They brought him out by himself to see the victim wearing black shorts …


Polygraph Admission Through Compulsory Process, Timothy J. Walsh Jul 2015

Polygraph Admission Through Compulsory Process, Timothy J. Walsh

Akron Law Review

Polygraph evidence is included within the broad category of expert testimony, yet it is treated quite differently from other forms of expert testimony. If admissible at all for the defense, polygraph evidence almost always requires the stipulation of the prosecution for it to be admitted into court. Such a requirement vests solely, within the hands of a prosecutor, the ability to eliminate that proof which may be necessary for the defendant to effectively prove his innocence. Furthermore, in some jurisdictions a defendant cannot even place his faith in the sympathy of a prosecutor. Instead, a rule bars him from proving …


The Trial Judge As Gatekeeper For Scientific Evidence: Will Ohio Rule Of Evidence 102 Frustrate The Ohio Courts' Role Under Daubert V. Merrell Dow?, Michael Lepp, Chrisopher B. Mcneil Jul 2015

The Trial Judge As Gatekeeper For Scientific Evidence: Will Ohio Rule Of Evidence 102 Frustrate The Ohio Courts' Role Under Daubert V. Merrell Dow?, Michael Lepp, Chrisopher B. Mcneil

Akron Law Review

This article considers the role of the trial court in responding to the changes wrought by scientific innovation. Particular consideration is given to the impact likely to be realized in Ohio trial courts from the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

[...]In order to appreciate the significance of Ohio Evidence Rule 102 in this context, it is helpful to first examine some of the events leading to Daubert, especially the application (and in some instances, the rejection) of Frye both in Ohio and at the federal level. Following that, this article will …


Get On Board For The Ride Of Your Life! The Ups, The Downs, The Twists, And The Turns Of The Applicability Of The "Gatekeeper" Function To Scientific And Non-Scientific Expert Evidence: Kumho'sexpansion Of Daubert, Leslie Morsek Jul 2015

Get On Board For The Ride Of Your Life! The Ups, The Downs, The Twists, And The Turns Of The Applicability Of The "Gatekeeper" Function To Scientific And Non-Scientific Expert Evidence: Kumho'sexpansion Of Daubert, Leslie Morsek

Akron Law Review

This Comment examines the history of scientific and non-scientific expert evidence, its current status, and the future of scientific and non-scientific evidence based on recent court decisions. Part II explores the background of these issues by examining the earlier standard for admitting expert testimony, the effect of Congress’ promulgation of the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the influential cases in this area. Part III analyzes the importance of subjecting nonscientific expert testimony to the same rigors as scientific expert testimony. Lastly, Part IV predicts the future of expert evidence.


Jurors' Evaluations Of Expert Testimony: Judging The Messenger And The Message, Sanja Kutnjak Ivkovic, Valerie P. Hans Jun 2015

Jurors' Evaluations Of Expert Testimony: Judging The Messenger And The Message, Sanja Kutnjak Ivkovic, Valerie P. Hans

Valerie P. Hans

Jurors are laypersons with no specific expert knowledge, yet they are routinely placed in situations in which they need to critically evaluate complex expert testimony. This paper examines jurors' reactions to experts who testify in civil trials and the factors jurors identify as important to expert credibility. Based on in-depth qualitative analysis of interviews with 55 jurors in 7 civil trials, we develop a comprehensive model of the key factors jurors incorporate into the process of evaluating expert witnesses and their testimony. Contrary to the frequent criticism that jurors primarily evaluate expert evidence in terms of its subjective characteristics, the …


Science On Trial, Valerie P. Hans Jun 2015

Science On Trial, Valerie P. Hans

Valerie P. Hans

The increasing complexity of both criminal and civil jury trials raises a host of issues for lawyers and judges. For the litigator, the first question is whether a jury can be trusted with a case that turns on highly technical evidence. For the trial judge, there are decisions about the admissibility of expert testimony, whether it is based on sound science, and whether a jury is likely to be misled by scientific claims. Should the judge permit jury innovations such as note taking, question asking, and juror discussions of evidence during the trial, hoping to increase jury comprehension of the …


Can Jury Trial Innovations Improve Juror Understanding Of Dna Evidence?, B. Michael Dann, Valerie P. Hans, David H. Kaye Jun 2015

Can Jury Trial Innovations Improve Juror Understanding Of Dna Evidence?, B. Michael Dann, Valerie P. Hans, David H. Kaye

Valerie P. Hans

A single spot of blood on a pink windowsill will tell investigators who broke a windowpane, turned a lock, and kidnapped 2-year-old Molly Evans from her bedroom in the middle of the night. An expert witness will testify that the DNA profile of the blood evidence recovered from the windowsill was entered into CODIS, an electronic database of DNA profiles. That process yielded a “hit,” identifying the defendant as the most likely source of the blood inside Molly’s room. But will jurors be able to understand the expert’s intricate analysis and use it to reach a verdict? And what—if any—steps …


Testing Jury Reforms, Valerie P. Hans, B. Michael Dann, David H. Kaye, Erin J. Farley, Stephanie Albertson Jun 2015

Testing Jury Reforms, Valerie P. Hans, B. Michael Dann, David H. Kaye, Erin J. Farley, Stephanie Albertson

Valerie P. Hans

DNA evidence has become a key law enforcement tool and is increasingly presented in criminal trials in Delaware and elsewhere. The integrity of the criminal trial process turns upon the jury's ability to understand DNA evidence and to evaluate properly the testimony of experts. How well do they do? Can we assist them in the process?


Statistics In The Jury Box: How Jurors Respond To Mitochondrial Dna Match Probabilities, David H. Kaye, Valerie P. Hans, B. Michael Dann, Erin J. Farley, Stephanie Albertson Jun 2015

Statistics In The Jury Box: How Jurors Respond To Mitochondrial Dna Match Probabilities, David H. Kaye, Valerie P. Hans, B. Michael Dann, Erin J. Farley, Stephanie Albertson

Valerie P. Hans

This article describes parts of an unusually realistic experiment on the comprehension of expert testimony on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequencing in a criminal trial for robbery. Specifically, we examine how jurors who responded to summonses for jury duty evaluated portions of videotaped testimony involving probabilities and statistics. Although some jurors showed susceptibility to classic fallacies in interpreting conditional probabilities, the jurors as a whole were not overwhelmed by a 99.98% exclusion probability that the prosecution presented. Cognitive errors favoring the defense were more prevalent than ones favoring the prosecution. These findings lend scant support to the legal argument that mtDNA …


Judges, Juries, And Scientific Evidence, Valerie P. Hans Jun 2015

Judges, Juries, And Scientific Evidence, Valerie P. Hans

Valerie P. Hans

The rise in scientific evidence offered in American jury trials, along with court rulings thrusting judges into the business of assessing the soundness of scientific evidence, have produced challenges for judge and jury alike. Many judges have taken up the duty of becoming “amateur scientists.” But what about juries? Surely they too could benefit from assistance as they attempt to master and apply complex testimony about scientific matters during the course of a trial. Concerns about the jury’s ability to understand, critically evaluate, and employ scientific evidence in deciding complex trials have led to many suggestions for reform. This article …