Federal Rules of Evidence: Expert Witness Testimony

The justice system is an integral element of any society as it helps to protect citizens and ensure the preservation of order. The functioning of the given sphere is an extremely complex process as multiple laws limit people in their actions and create a legal framework that is needed to ensure successful cooperation between individuals and the following evolution of a state. The modern legal system can be characterized by multiple attempts to find the best possible way to provide appropriate punishments for offenders and control the wave of crime.

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One of the possible ways to achieve success in this field is the improvement of evidence collection and testimony, which are the fundamental elements of modern courts. The concept of an expert witness can be taken regarding the goal of better results’ achievement as it helps to clarify complex cases and observe the existing rules.

The need for the discussed concept can be explained by the fact that in many cases, testimonial evidence cannot be trusted completely because of multiple aspects influencing witnesses and the credibility of their statements. As far as these facts might play a critical role in the whole trial and precondition its outcomes, there is a demand for a tool or approach that will help to improve the situation and guarantee relevance and verity of information provided by third persons.

Moreover, there are multiple situations presupposing the use of terminology or factors that are unclear to the court and other participants of the process. Thus, in accordance with Rule 702, in cases when scientific, technical, or other specific information is demanded to understand the offered evidence, a witness qualified as an expert can help to testify all data pieces (Bernstein & Lasker, 2015). This regulation introduces the idea of an expert witness that is nowadays used in many courts.

Analyzing the term and the whole idea, the following definition can be provided. An expert witness is an individual who possesses a level of knowledge, training, experience, or skills appropriate enough for him/her to be called an expert in a particular field and invited to the court to determine the character of offered facts. Accepting the competence and trustworthiness of this very person, the judge can take his/her statement into consideration to give an appropriate sentence or resolve a dilemma (Bernstein & Lasker, 2015).

In such a way, the expert opinion becomes an essential source of knowledge needed for all members of the process to acquire the improved image of a case and come to a particular conclusion. An expert witness is a part of the justice system as he/she ensures the correct understanding of multiple aspects impacting any situation and preconditioning various outcomes.

The fundamental role qualified expert witness plays in lawsuits and the whole justice system also means that there is a set of specific demands to avoid misunderstandings of poor data analysis. In accordance with the Federal Rules of Evidence, a person who has knowledge, skill, education, training, and experience in the demanded field can be invited to provide the expert commentary to clarify some complex issues (Bernstein & Lasker, 2015).

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These basic qualifications are required from a person to become an expert witness in the majority of state courts. In other words, only people who are taken as reliable and respected specialists in their fields and have extensive knowledge about the discussed point can provide their professional opinion and impact the decision-making process. These requirements are needed to avoid false explanations or data corruption.

Additionally, to guarantee the high credibility of expert witness’ statements, there are several limits presupposed by the existing rules of evidence. First, the agency, organization, or employer can introduce some restrictions as a person acts on behalf of the USA or a particular state (“Rule 702,” n.d.). Moreover, another barrier is the need for confidential relationship through the first party to ensure the relevance of provided data (“Rule 702,” n.d.). Finally, an expert witness is not protected from being charged after the trial (“Rule 702,” n.d.). The existence of these barriers serves as the guaranty of the absence of maleficent intentions and, at the same time, ensures that the invited specialists will be able to improve the understanding of the discussed problem.

Revolving around the issue, it is critical to remember about the existence of fundamental differences between a law witness and an expert witness. The fact is that all witnesses possess first-hand knowledge that can be helpful while analyzing a particular case or relevant to it (Ryskamp, 2018). From this perspective, a law witness is a common person who testifies resting on his/her personal experience, knowledge, and qualification (Ryskamp, 2018). This aspect differentiates this concept from expert testimony, as persons use their professionalism and expertise in their fields to provide an opinion on a certain event.

The functioning of the discussed concept is also impacted by the Frye and Daubert standards. The first one states that any expert opinion is admissible only if it rests on the use of techniques or approaches that are generally accepted as reliable and relevant (Cappellino, 2018).

At the same time, the second paradigm offers a list of factors that should be considered while inviting a person to provide his/her conclusion. These include the reliability of expert’s technique, its being the subject to peer review of the publication, potential rate of error, and the existence of various standards in this field (Cappellino, 2018). These factors significantly broadened the concept of an expert witness and, at the same time, introduced a set of aspects needed to increase the credibility and relevance of provided facts or research. Analyzing these both approaches, one can say that the paradigm introduced by Frye can result in the identification of expert witnesses more effectively because of the ability to involve more professionals in it.

In general, the existence of the concept of an expert witness can be taken as one of the important elements of the modern justice system, and its admissibility should not be doubted. It helps to analyze various data portions and provide an expert opinion useful for better case analysis and decision-making. The involvement of specialists who possess the high level of skills and knowledge in demanded fields will have a positive impact on the whole legal system because of the court’s ability to acquire the complete image of a situation and introduce appropriate punishments.

The existence of certain requirements to expert witnesses and restrictions can also ensure the achievement of better outcomes because of their improved functioning within the existing legal framework. Finally, the Frye and Daubert standards also help to regulate the given aspect by outlining factors that should be considered when inviting specialists to provide their opinion or investigate various cases.

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References

Bernstein, W., & Lasker, E. (2015). Defending Daubert: It’s time to amend Federal Rule of Evidence 702. William and Mary Law Review, 57(1), 1-48. Web.

Cappellino, A. (2018). Daubert vs. Frye: Navigating the standards of admissibility for expert testimony. The Expert Institute. Web.

Rule 702. Testimony by expert witnesses. (n.d.). Web.

Ryskamp, D. (2018). The differences between expert witness and lay witness testimony. The Expert Institute. Web.

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