Free Essay About Preparing For Daubert Challenge Testimony

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Expert, Professionalism, Science, Education, Crime, Criminal Justice, Testimony, Evidence

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/10/23

Expert witnesses have tremendous influence on the decision of jurors. Hence, Daubert experts who specialize in promotion of individuals with little scientific knowledge or junk-science are dangerous because, their reasoning is not based on the limitations and uncertainties of true science. The certainty and simplicity they ooze is enjoyed by the jurors, since it results in easier tasks. Many trials exclude testimonies given by Daubert expects for this reason and that is why this article will critically examine the influence of Daubert testimonies. Analysis will be thoroughly done using a case example of Andrea Yates to create a refined understanding.
A resident of Texas, Andrea Yates confessed in court, to the drowning of her children in a bathtub. Andrea born on July 2, 1964, committed this crime on June 20, 2001. The defendant had been ailing from severe postpartum psychosis and depression for some time. Due to her condition, she had to undergo psychological tests from a forensic psychologist, for example, Irresistible Impulse test and M’ Naighten Rules, both of which are legal sanity examinations. The State did not charge her with a death penalty. Instead they convicted her for capital murder though this verdict was challenged later (Ewing, 2008).
The jury in her appellate case found her not guilty because of insanity and admitted her to the Texas State Penitentiary. A Daubert challenge testimony can be used to challenge the verdict of the jury in this case. The Daubert criterion recommends the jury and the judge to evaluate the expert’s testimony to verify if it consists of scientific information and whether it is relevant to the case. To establish if an expert’s testimony is real science the following techniques must be followed: Whether the analysis can be verified or tested, it has been published or peer-reviewed, a potential error has been identified or accepted and the acceptance is supported by the science community. A Daubert expert’s main aim is to challenge expert testimony. In this case, he or she would challenge the verdict based on insanity (Gutheil, Dattilio & Dattilio, 2008).
The factors stated above are standards used in evaluating scientific evidence. In Andrea’s case, an expert involved was erroneously prosecuted by Daubert experts from the defense counsel. There are also various steps to prepare for a Daubert challenge. First, provide information on where expert testimony was rendered. Give your opinion on the report that contains the information. Follow professional and technical standards. Always portray integrity and character when administering your duties. Use accepted procedures and supply arguments for the assumptions in your work. Finally, review and test the findings to provide reasonableness.
In a case that involves expert witnesses like Andrea Yate’s, there is a high likelihood of a Daubert challenge erupting. The courts can nullify an expert’s testimony if it does not conduct testing to promote the conclusions. Lack of testing and peer-review makes the court decide that the expert’s evidence is created out of personal opinions. However, Daubert challenges do not always apply. The case under discussion used Daubert testimony to will convict the defendant for her actions. The challenge revokes mental expert’s testimony used in defending the actions of Andrea Yates (Turvey, 2011).
The first trial held, purely depended on the confession she made out of her mental condition. The use of Daubert hearing poses a great threat to forensic psychology professionals because it focuses on scientific falsifiability, reliability, validity and empirical testability. Admissibility of scientific knowledge has been combated by the Frye’s test. The purpose for the test is to prevent unfounded scientific evidence based on certain principles. The Daubert standard can be insufficient in this case, since, there is efficient scientific knowledge based on the tests carried out on Andrea to prove that she was indeed mentally unstable at the time of the crime (Matson, 2012).
Andrea thought she was doing the right thing by relieving her children from the stresses of the world. The mental disease she suffered from made her believe she was defeating Satan. In a case involving Daubert, it may be difficult to protect the expert from being challenged. Therefore, it is important to prepare him or on how to face Daubert experts. When working with an expert, one must focus on two areas: The deposition and the report. The attorney must not assume that he has capability to make a report that is Daubert-proof or has a deposition that can counteract Daubert. The attorney needs to educate the expert on what a Daubert entails.
This is one of the preparation methods that I will apply in preparation for this case if turns out to a Daubert hearing. Education is essential providing all the relevant facts that are required to prepare for a Daubert challenge. This helps in protecting an expert’s credibility before the courts. The attorney should also be ready to protect me against a Daubert motion in order for it not to sabotage the law-suit. As an expert witness, I am not expected to assume that the conclusions made in my area of expertise will be accepted by the court. It is, therefore, important that I provide additional references to argue out my conclusions in the report and the deposition (Gutheil, 2009).
A well-supported and detailed report is a basic tool to win against a Daubert challenge. It is a requirement to incorporate the defendant’s documents, which state the results for each test taken to prove insanity. The tests include scientific testing, litigation testing and academic testing. With a detailed deposition and report, they should be no worry when facing a Daubert hearing. To avoid questions intended to prove that a conclusion was made out of my experience, I should give scientific evidence to reference each conclusion. The main focus should be on the questions to ensure that the defense counsel does not get any chance to use my answers to raise a Daubert motion.


Ewing, C. P. (2008). Insanity: Murder, Madness, and the Law. London: Oxford University Press.
Gutheil, T. G. (2009). The Psychiatrist as Expert Witness. Arlington: America Psychiatric Pub..
Gutheil, T. G., Dattilio F. D., & Dattilio, F. M. (2008). Practical Approaches to Forensic Mental
Health Testimony. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Matson, J. V. (2012). Effective Expert Witnessing, Fifth Edition: Practices for the 21st Century.
London: CRC Press.
Turvey, B. E. (2011). Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis. New
York: Academic Press.

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