Experts in Court: Reconciling Law, Science, and Professional Knowledge
Experts in Court examines the use of expert testimony across the legal system, including the unique issues faced by mental health professionals when they are called upon to serve as expert witnesses. Lawyers and judges often fear that mental health professionals' testimony is purely experiential and not based on objective criteria or a demonstrable scientific foundation.
Through the use of ground-breaking court rulings, Sales and Shuman explain the scrutiny that psychologists will need to use to survive admissibility determinations under new and evolving rules of evidence. Their skillful and detailed analysis of these rulings show how the standards of admissibility for expert testimony have changed and how they have altered the relationships among judges, juries, experts, and lawyers.
The book carefully reveals the evolution of laws regarding evidence admissibility, the requirements established by specific court rulings for scientific and non-scientific expert testimony, and the new rules for the submission of psychological expertise in court. It also explains how the law can use experts more effectively and how their behavior serves or complicates the goals of the rules of evidence. Finally, the authors propose a research agenda, designed to foster a better understanding of the attitudes and practices of trial courts concerning rules of evidence and expert testimony.