Reflections of a First-Time Expert Witness

3 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2014

Date Written: September 2, 2013


This Essay offers reflections of my first experience as an expert witness in a child pornography sentencing hearing. I contemplate the worth of sentencing experts, and ultimately conclude that experts should be used more often, especially in advisory guideline systems like the federal system. Certainly, a sentencing expert can relay valuable information uncovered through her sentencing research. More importantly, though, a sentencing expert can, perhaps, inspire the court to explore appropriate sentences outside of Guidelines ranges. Consciously or unconsciously, judges may desire support before stepping out on such a journey. I think this is a hugely important function, and counsel in criminal cases should seriously consider this option.

Keywords: Sentencing, expert witness, child pornography

JEL Classification: K14, K19

Suggested Citation

Exum, Jelani, Reflections of a First-Time Expert Witness (September 2, 2013). Federal Sentencing Reporter, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2013. Available at SSRN:

Jelani Exum (Contact Author)

University of Toledo College of Law ( email )

2801 W. Bancroft Street
Toledo, OH 43606
United States

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