Federal Rules of Evidence Rule 702

If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise.

So in a post Daubert and Kumho era, the application of testimony of experts has been slightly modified. In part, the new application is as follows: If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, provided that (1) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.

The applicability of the Daubert standard specifically with regard to fingerprints was established in 1999 in U.S. v. Byron Mitchell.

Study Questions

  • 1. What is the purpose of a preliminary hearing or grand jury hearing?
  • 2. Define an expert witness.
  • 3. Who grants the witness expert status to testify?
  • 4. What is voir dire?
  • 5. What are the phases involved in the court process?
  • 6. One cannot communicate. What does that statement mean?
  • 7. Whose responsibility is it to prepare a court exhibit?
  • 8. What equipment and materials are necessary to prepare a fingerprint chart?
  • 9. How many points of identification are necessary to make a fingerprint chart?
  • 10. Why should technical language or jargon be avoided when testifying?
  • 11. Why do witnesses need to be aware of their nonverbal communication?
  • 12. Where a question cannot be answered with a yes or no answer, what should the witness do?
  • 13. Why should the use of adaptors or regulators be avoided?
  • 14. Explain how to present an exhibit in court.
  • 15. _is the key to success.
  • 16. Every time one testifies, one should perceive it as an opportunity to do what?
 
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