Fall 2018

Improving Judge & Jury Evaluation of Scientific Evidence

Authors
Valerie P. Hans and Michael J. Saks
Abstract
The role of the expert witness in trials is a paradox. Judges and jurors need expert witnesses to help with matters beyond their understanding, yet judges are expected to act as gatekeepers to ensure that jurors are not fooled by misleading expert testimony. As gatekeepers, judges might not effectively distinguish sound from unsound expert testimony. Valerie P. Hans and Michael J. Saks suggest a variety of solutions to this issue, ranging from more effective ways of presenting technical information at trial and educational interventions supervised by the court, to more controversial measures, such as replacing conventional juries with special juries and replacing generalist judges with expert judges.
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