First and foremost, one must distinguish between a “fact witness” and an “expert witness.” A fact witness only provides testimony regarding direct knowledge of the facts related to the issue at hand (e.g., an “eye witness” account of things). In contrast, an expert witness can provide facts but can also offer opinions and report hearsay. Since the decision rendered in Jenkins v. United States (1962), psychologists have been allowed to offer expert witness testimony in civil and criminal proceedings. Still, the admissibility of expert witness testimony is a critical issue. This determination is guided by a series of rules from the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE) Article VII (“Opinions & Expert Testimony”). Specifically, FRE rule 702 states, “If scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education,...
References and Readings
- Daubert v. Merrell Dow, 509 U.S. 579 (1993).Google Scholar
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- Jenkins v. U.S., 307 F. 2d 637 (1962).Google Scholar