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The (Near) Irrelevance of Daubert to Criminal Justice and Some Suggestions for Reform


Peter J. Neufeld


Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law - Innocence Project


American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 95, No. S1, pp. S107-S113, 2005
The Coronado Conference: Scientific Evidence and Public Policy Paper

Abstract:     
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. should have an extraordinary impact on criminal litigation, because there is rarely a criminal trial that does not rely on some form of expert testimony. In fact, it is almost irrelevant. Despite the frequency of prosecution-proffered scientific and expert testimony in criminal cases, Daubert is rarely invoked to challenge it. In contrast to civil cases, when expert testimony is challenged in criminal proceedings, the outcome could not be more different. Because most violent crimes are committed by the poor, their court appointed advocates - overworked and underfinanced - are not up to the challenge. In the absence of a system of effective representation, Daubert will not improve scientific evidence in criminal cases. The only way to guard against the misapplication of forensic science is to impose controls and reforms long before the cases come to court.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 7

Keywords: Scientific evidence, Criminal law, Expert testimony, Daubert

JEL Classification: K14, K41

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: November 29, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Neufeld, Peter J., The (Near) Irrelevance of Daubert to Criminal Justice and Some Suggestions for Reform. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 95, No. S1, pp. S107-S113, 2005; The Coronado Conference: Scientific Evidence and Public Policy Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=849567

Contact Information

Peter J. Neufeld (Contact Author)
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law - Innocence Project ( email )
100 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
United States
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