Expert Witnesses in Child Abuse Cases: What Can and Should Be Said in Court
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
Psychologists have been increasingly called on to testify in child abuse cases. The rough-and-tumble world of courtroom machinations, however, has left many wondering how they can protect themselves and their science from manipulation and misuse by the court system. In this book, eminent lawyers, psychologists, and social workers discuss the thornier aspects of testimony and provide recommendations on the proper role of the expert witness. In each chapter, one or more current problem areas associated with expert testimony in cases of child abuse are described.
The first of the book's four sections is an overview, comparing the uses of expert testimony both here and abroad as well as the ethical standards to which psychologists serving as experts should adhere. The second section explores the actual experience of providing expert testimony, from a personal glimpse into an author's experience to professional dos and don'ts. The kinds of evidence most often offered in cases of suspected child abuse, the admissibility of such evidence, and the effects of this information on juror decisions are covered in the third section. In the fourth section, commentaries synthesize the conclusions of these chapters and help to move the field toward a consensus of what constitutes ethical testimony.
This softcover edition is a re-release of the 1998 hardcover edition.
List of Contributors
—Stephen J. Ceci and Helene Hembrooke
I. Legal Structure and Professional Ethics
- The Use of Expert Testimony in Child Sexual Abuse Cases
- The Role of Experts in the Common Law and the Civil Law: A Comparison
—John R. Spencer
- Moral Justifications for Limits on Expert Testimony
—Michael Lavin and Bruce D. Sales
II. The Role of Expert Witness
- The Trials and Tribulations of a Novice Expert Witness
- The Expert Witness in Child Sexual Abuse Cases: A Clinician's View
—Richard J. Lawlor
- Psychological and Ethical Considerations in the Preparation of the Mental Health Professional as Expert Witness
—Kyle D. Pruett and Albert J. Solnit
- The Expert as Educator
—Joseph S. Miller and Ronald J. Allen
III. Evidence in Testimony
- How Valid Are Child Sexual Abuse Validations?
—Celia B. Fisher and Katherine A. Whiting
- Expert Scientific Testimony on Child Witnesses in the Age of Daubert
—Margaret Bull Kovera and Eugene Borgida
- Expert Testimony Regarding the Characteristics of Sexually Abused Children: A Controversy on Both Sides of the Bench
—Mary Ann Mason
IV. Commentaries: Toward a Consensus
- The Psychologist as Expert Witness: A Comment
—Peter A. Arnstein and Betty N. Gordon
- Where Researchers Fear to Tread: Interpretative Differences Among Testifying Experts in Child Sexual Abuse Cases
—Thomas D. Lyon and Jonathan J. Koehler
- A Legal Commentary: The Impact of Daubert on 21st-Century Child Sexual Abuse Prosecutions
About the Editors
Stephen J. Ceci holds a lifetime-endowed chair at Cornell University. His numerous awards include a Senior Fulbright-Hayes fellowship and a Research Career Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. He is a past president of Division 1 of APA and the author of several hundred articles, chapters, and books, including Jeopardy in the Courtroom: A Scientific Analysis of Children's Testimony.
Helene Hembrooke received her PhD in psychology from Binghamton University and is presently a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University.