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Down by Law: Police Officers as Gang Sociology Experts

Criminal Law Bulletin, Vol. 52, Issue 4, 2016, Forthcoming

Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2015-16

43 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2015 Last revised: 18 Aug 2015

Magdalena Ridley

University of San Francisco, School of Law, Students

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

Are police officers experts in sociology? In California gang trials, they are. Their opinion testimony, as experts in gang sociology, is the only context in California criminal trials in which sociological expert testimony is frequently admitted into evidence. This comment analyzes the commonplace admission of police officer expert testimony in criminal gang trials, and finds several violations of the California Evidence Code. It argues that police officers are not qualified to offer sociological opinions, their methods are unreliable, and their testimony serves as a vehicle to place prejudicial and otherwise inadmissible evidence before the jury.

Keywords: California criminal law, California criminal procedure, California evidence, gang trials, expert testimony, police officer testimony, sociological expert testimony

Suggested Citation

Ridley, Magdalena, Down by Law: Police Officers as Gang Sociology Experts (2015). Criminal Law Bulletin, Vol. 52, Issue 4, 2016, Forthcoming; Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2015-16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2623694

Magdalena Ridley (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco, School of Law, Students ( email )

San Francisco, CA
United States

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