There has been a long-existing history of expert scientific witnesses serving in court. The late eighteenth century gave rise to what people see as a modern expert witness, which was something awkward and contentious. In the early days of the eighteenth century, our modern eyes would recognize the English court, but barely. The judge could actively question the witnesses, but for the attorneys, they were marginally involved. For the accused, they had to represent themselves. Toward the end of that century, there were some changes as judges saw their power reduced to a neutral referee, and the new stars of the courts were the attorneys as they took control of the trial processes. At that time, scientists were regarded as gentlemen and active members of elite groups who concentrated much on grooming their image as opposed to making some ridiculous sums of money. Perhaps, this could be the reason why scientists were allowed to make testimonials even in the proceedings that did not concern them, and by then, any slight mistake automatically disqualified someone as a witness. Scientists we regarded as both independent and disinterested body who took their time to find out who considered themselves to be above the law. What surprises me is how those scientists were deemed to be righteous. They, too, are human beings, and they can make mistakes and, at the same time, hold some conflict of interest.
Expert witnesses take part in pleadings and discovery preparation. They may also review the completeness and technical consistency based on requests and integrity. Before trial, experts help in the development of demonstrative charts, exhibits, tests, among others. It is a prerequisite before the hearing to test any demonstration. During the trial or hearing, the expert witnesses are examined their credentials through summoning by the court attorneys. In essence, experts are required to present their academic qualifications, training, and relevant experiences as a prerequisite to qualify to obtain the right to speak on your examined evidence authoritatively. Considering all the parties involved during a court trial, the expert witnesses are the only ones under oath. It means that anyone could lie to them intentionally or unintentionally on the basis that they promised to be truthful. At the trial, testimonials are always crucial and should be taken with much emphasis, more precisely, the inconsistent testimonies between deposition and trial. As an expert witness, one is reprimanded only to speak the truth and organize trial testimonials by analyzing the case and your work effort. One speaks naturally, clearly, and slowly, and by any chance, experts should not be overwhelmed by their emotions. What comes as a surprise for me is the fact that too much is expected from the expert attorneys.
A person or group values are referred to as ethics. It often sounds preachy or strident whenever statements of ethical behavior arise. The bottom line, what grooms or ruins a reputation, is the response toward ethical behavior. The criminal justice system serves to improve the quality of services it offers to the society at large as opposed to tricking expert witnesses serving to try to help in resolving the disputes. Some unethical expert witnesses may cook report and present it to the court based on what ought to be professional findings and research. Still, in the real sense, the work represented is not their findings. At times, courts always have to deal with manipulated or somewhat falsified data supporting the presupposed expert evidence. In the emergence of crucible cross-examination in the court, the most appropriate decision is to exclude the expert testimony. On numerous occasions, expert witnesses show their lack of professional knowledge and competence in rendering the opinions that are sought. In such situations, the expert testimonials are discounted on the basis that they lack sufficient weight to be regarded as persuasive.
Houck, M. M., Funk, C., & Feder, H. (2018). Successful Expert Testimony. CRC Press.
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