The Structure of Expertise in Criminal Cases

18 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2003


This essay, part of a two-issue symposium on the implications of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals and its progeny, is built around three propositions about expert testimony and criminal cases. First, the "Daubert trilogy's" focus on verifiability as the threshold for expert testimony pushes the criminal justice system away from the notion that knowledge is socially constructed and toward a positivist epistemology that assumes we can know things objectively. Second, in the long run, that development will be good for prosecutors and bad for criminal defendants, given the different types of expertise on which they rely. Third, the consequence of this differential impact will be a criminal justice system that is not only less fair, but also less reliable.

Keywords: Daubert, Kumho Tire, expert testimony, false confessions, eyewitness testimony, psychiatric testimony

Suggested Citation

Slobogin, Christopher, The Structure of Expertise in Criminal Cases. Available at SSRN: or

Christopher Slobogin (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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