Bringing Better Science to the Courtroom

By Kristopher A. Nelson in

Twitter Facebook

The Expert WitnessesImage by maveric2003 via Flickr

As long as I’m following the lead of Lawrence Solum at the Legal Theory Blog, I want to recommend the following new article: Judicial Analysis of Complex & Cutting-Edge Science in the Daubert Era: Epidemiologic Risk Assessment as a Test Case for Reform Strategies by Andrew Jurs. From the abstract:

One way to bring more science back into the courthouse, or to the judge’s chambers, is to permit the appointment of a science consultant under a modified Federal Rule of Evidence 706. For an even smaller subset of more complicated cases, advanced science procedures are needed. A science panel approach, using a modified arbitration panel format, or a centralized court of scientific jurisdiction would offer significant advantages to the current Daubert system. Other discrete individual reforms solve other weaknesses in current Daubert analysis.

This is one I need to read through more carefully, because I think the issue of brining better scientific understanding into the judicial system is an important one. After all, even the most scientifically-literate judge cannot really be expected to have a full understanding of all areas of science. I also believe that, when it comes to expert testimony, our adversarial system (with “dueling experts”) can let the court down. Thus, a different, more independent process for evaluating science would be beneficial.

Related articles by Zemanta