Monday, February 13, 2012

ABA Resolution regarding expert testimony

Urges Judges’ Consideration Presenting Expert Testimony to Jurors

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges judges and lawyers to consider the following factors in determining the manner in which expert testimony should be presented to a jury and in  instructing the jury in its evaluation of expert scientific testimony in criminal and delinquency proceedings:

1.      Whether experts can identify and explain the theoretical and factual basis for any opinion given in their testimony and the reasoning upon which the opinion is based.

2.      Whether experts use clear and consistent terminology in presenting their opinions.

3.      Whether experts present their testimony in a manner that accurately and fairly conveys the significance of their conclusions, including any relevant limitations of the methodology used.

4.      Whether experts explain the reliability of evidence and fairly address problems with evidence including relevant evidence of laboratory error, contamination, or sample mishandling.

5.      Whether expert testimony of individuality or uniqueness is based on valid scientific research.

6.      Whether the court should prohibit the parties from tendering witnesses as experts and should refrain from declaring witnesses to be experts in the presence of the jury.

7.      Whether to include in jury instructions additional specific factors that might be especially important to a jury’s ability to fairly assess the reliability of and weight to be given expert testimony on particular issues in the case.