Judges and Lawyers Work to Understand Courtroom Science

, New York Law Journal


In an era when science is bombarding civil and criminal courts and judges are frequently asked to ponder theories posited by expert witnesses, more jurists are going back to school for crash courses in genetics and other sciences.

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  • Appellate Squawk

    It‘s true that judges aren‘t scientists, but they‘re not gatekeepers either. Under the Frye standard, their job is to determine whether the expert testimony is based on a methodology accepted by reputable scientific professionals. The merit of the Frye test is precisely that it doesn‘t allow judges to pass on matters they know nothing about. When judges purport to pass on the reliability of scientific evidence - see, e.g., Justice Bernard Fried‘s resoundingly overruled decision precluding expert testimony on eyewitness identification - it merely shows that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

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