Normative and Empirical Issues About the Role of Expert Witnesses



The position of an expert on the witness stand, who does not testify either to what he has observed or knows as fact but expresses merely his opinion as to a situation or on facts which have been established by other witnesses, is anomalous in Anglo-Saxon law. It was to be expected that former generations of judges and lawyers, trained in older precedents and practices who recognized the appearance in the courts of an expert witness as an innovation would look with suspicion and doubt on such testimony. While the principles on which such evidence is introduced have come to be well recognized and while the [legal] profession no longer has any reservations in approving theoretically of the use of expert testimony, yet, on the other hand, there is a constant complaining and mistrust on the part of judges, juries and lawyers of the expert witness. (Friedman, 1910, p. 247)


Procedural Justice American Psychological Association Legal Process Expert Testimony Expert Witness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ager v. Jane C. Stormont Hospital & Training School for Nurses, 622 F.2d 496, 10th Cir. (1980).Google Scholar
  2. American Academy of Forensic Science. (1989). Code of Ethics. Colorado Springs, Co: AAFS.Google Scholar
  3. American Law Institute (1965). Restatement of Torts 2d, Volume 2. New York: ALLGoogle Scholar
  4. American Psychological Association. (1990a, June). Draft ethical principles. American Psychological Association Monitor, 28–32.Google Scholar
  5. American Psychological Association. (1990b). Ethical principles of psychologists (as amended June 2, 1989). American Psychologist, 45, 390–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S. 880 (1983).Google Scholar
  7. Chesler, M.A., Sanders, J., & Kalmuss, D.S. (1989). Social science in court: Mobilizing experts in the school desegregation cases. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  8. Cleary, E.W. (Ed.). (1984). McCormick on evidence (3rd ed.). St. Paul, MN: West.Google Scholar
  9. Craig v. Maryland, 110 S. Ct. 3157 (1990).Google Scholar
  10. Day, D.S. (1988). Expert discovery in the eighth circuit: An empirical study. Federal Rules Decisions, 122, 35–61.Google Scholar
  11. Day, D.S. (1987). A judicial perspective on expert discovery under Federal Rule 26(b) (4): An empirical study of trial court judges and a proposed amendment. John Marshall Law Review, 20, 377–414.Google Scholar
  12. Edwards, W., Guttentag, M., & Snapper, K. (1975). A decision-theoretic approach to evaluation research. In E.L. Struening & M. Guttentag (Eds.), Handbook of evaluation research (pp.Google Scholar
  13. ). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  14. Faigman, D.L., & Baglioni, A.J. (1988). Bayes’ theorem in the trial process: Instructing jurors on the value of statistical evidence. Law & Human Behavior, 12, 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (1990). 28 United States Code Annotated. St. Paul, MN: West.Google Scholar
  16. Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (1990). 28 United States Code Annotated. St. Paul, MN: West.Google Scholar
  17. Federal Rules of Evidence (1990). 28 United States Code Annotated. St. Paul, MN: West.Google Scholar
  18. Friedman, L.M. (1910). Expert testimony, its abuse and reformation. Yale Law Journal, 19, 247–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923).Google Scholar
  20. Gardner, W., Scherer, D., & Tester, M. (1989). Asserting scientific authority: Cognitive development and adolescent legal rights. American Psychologist, 44, 895–902.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goodman, G.S., Levine, M., Melton, G.B., & Ogden, D.W. (1991). Child Witnesses and the Confrontation Clause: The American Psychological Association Brief in Maryland v. Craig. Law & Human Behavior, 15, 13–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Graham, M.H. (1977). Discovery of experts under Rule 26(b)(4) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Part Two, An empirical study and a proposal. University of Illinois Law Forum, 1977, 169–220.Google Scholar
  23. Greene, E., & Loftus, E. (1985). When crimes are joined at trial. Law & Human Behavior, 9, 193–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Guerrant, G.O., & Hall, C.T. (1977). Drug abuse proficiency testing. Clinical Toxicology, 10, 209–219.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hans, V. (1989). Expert witnessing. Review of Chesler, M.A., Sanders, J., & Kalmuss, D.S. (1989), Social science in court: Mobilizing experts in the school desegregation cases. Science, 245, 312–313.Google Scholar
  26. Hans, V., & Vidmar, N. (1986). Judging the jury. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  27. Herschel, C. (1887). Services of experts in the conduct of judicial inquiries. American Law Review, 21, 571–577.Google Scholar
  28. Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495 (1947).Google Scholar
  29. Imbler v. Craven, 298 F. Supp. 795 (1969).Google Scholar
  30. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409 (1976).Google Scholar
  31. In re Imbler, 387 P.2d 6 (1963).Google Scholar
  32. Inspirational Consol. Copper Co. v. Lumbermens Mut. Cas. Co., 60 F.R.D. 205, S.D.N.Y. (1973).Google Scholar
  33. Joughin, L., & Morgan, E.M. (1976). The legacy of Sacco and Vanzetti. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Kline v. State, 444 So.2d 1102, Fla. Dist. Ct. App. (1984).Google Scholar
  35. LaFave, W.R., & Israel, J.H. (1985). Criminal procedure. St. Paul, MN: West.Google Scholar
  36. Lind, E.A., & Tyler, T.R. (1988). The social psychology of procedural justice. New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Loftus, E. (1979) Eyewitness testimony. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Lucas, D.M. (1989). The ethical responsibilities of the forensic scientist: Exploring the limits. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 34, 719–729.Google Scholar
  39. McCloskey, M., & Egeth, H.E. (1983). Eyewitness identification: What can a psychologist tell a jury? American Psychologist, 38, 550–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Melton, G., Petrila, J., Poythress, N., & Slobogin, C. (1987). Psychological evaluations for the courts. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  41. Monahan, J. (1981). Predicting violent behavior: An assessment of clinical techniques. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  42. National Society of Professional Engineers (1990). Code of Ethics for Engineers. Alexandria, VA: NSPE.Google Scholar
  43. Note (1982). Civil procedure—Ager v. Jane C. Stormont Hospital: Discovery of a non-testifying expert. North Carolina Law Review, 60, 695–705.Google Scholar
  44. Peterson, J.L., Fabricant, E., Field, K., & Thornton, J. (1978). Crime laboratory proficiency testing research program. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  45. Putnam, W.H. (1979). Hypnosis and distortions in eyewitness memory. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 27, 437–448.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rice, F.S. (1898). The medical expert as a witness. The Green Bag, 10, 464–467.Google Scholar
  47. Risinger, D.M., Denbeaux, M.P., & Saks, M.J. (1989). Exorcism of ignorance as a proxy for rational knowledge: The case of handwriting identification “expertise.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 137, 731–792.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Saks, M.J. (1989). Prevalence and impact of ethical problems in forensic science. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 34, 772–793.Google Scholar
  49. Saks, M.J. (1990). Expert witnesses, nonexpert witnesses, and nonwitness experts. Law & Human Behavior, 14, 291–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Saks, M.J., & Hastie, R. (1978). Social psychology in court. New York: Van Nostrand.Google Scholar
  51. Saks, M.J., & Kidd, R.F. (1981). Human information processing and adjudication: Trial by heuristics. Law and Society Review, 15, 124–160.Google Scholar
  52. Saks, M.J., & Van Duizend, R. (1983). The use of scientific evidence in litigation. Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts.Google Scholar
  53. Saks, M.J., & Wissler, R.L. (1984). Legal and psychological bases of expert testimony. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 2, 435–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sanford Constr. Co. v. Kaiser Aluminum & Chem: Sales, Inc. 45 F.R.D. 465, E.D. Ky. (1965).Google Scholar
  55. Saxe, L., Dougherty, D., & Cross, T. (1985). The validity of polygraph testing: Scientific analysis and public controversy. American Psychologist, 38(3), 355–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Scheppele, K.L. (1988). Legal secrets: Equality and efficiency in the common law. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  57. Sears v. Rutishauser, 466 NE.2d 210, 111. (1984).Google Scholar
  58. Smith, M. C. (1983). Hypnotic memory enhancement of witnesses: Does it work? Psychological Bulletin, 94(3), 387–407.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Starrs, J.E. (1987). Mountebanks among forensic scientists. In R. Saferstein (Ed.), Forensic science handbook (Vol. 2). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  60. Symposium (1989). Ethical conflicts in the forensic sciences. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 34, 717–793.Google Scholar
  61. Tagatz v. Marquette University, 861 F.2d 1040 (1988).Google Scholar
  62. Tanford, S., & Penrod, S. (1982). Biases in trials involving defendants charged with multiple offenses. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 12, 453–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Thibaut, J., & Walker, L. (1978). A theory of procedure. California Law Review, 66, 541–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Thompson, W.C., & Ford, S. (1989). DNA typing: Acceptance and weight of the new genetic identification tests. Virginia Law Review, 75(1), 45–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Thompson, W.C., & Schumann, E.L. (1987). Interpretation of statistical evidence in criminal trials, the prosecutor’s fallacy and the defense attorney’s fallacy. Law and Human Behavior, 11(3), 167–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Tracy Peerage, 10 Clark & F. 154 (1839, 1843).Google Scholar
  67. Wigmore, J.H. (1979). Wigmore on Evidence, Volume (Chadbourne Rev.). Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  68. Wissler, R.L., & Saks, M.J. (1985). On the inefficacy of limiting instructions: When jurors use prior conviction evidence to decide on guilt. Law & Human Behavior, 9, 37–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Worley v. Massey-Ferguson, Inc., 79 F.R.D. 534, N.D. Miss. (1978).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations