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
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
Date posted: November 29, 2005
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