Whether one party or the other prevails in a court is often dependent upon expert testimony that is provided. Experts are often given great weight in such matters, and not everyone questions this individual’s credentials.
In light of the recent matter of 1,700 lab samples being botched that were to be used to convict suspects in DUI cases, attorneys defending accused individuals may want to pay more attention to testimony that is delivered. As it has turned out, the credentials of an expert witness – who is at the center of the lab sample controversy and who has testified in more than 1,000 DUI cases – may also be brought into question.
For example, this particular expert has testified at many trials that she had a major in chemistry, and it may turn out that at best she only has a minor degree in that subject. It also appears that opinions that she has given at trial may have been lifted from educational materials that earlier had been distributed.
The expert’s testimony has been anything but consistent. She’s testified at one point that she performed 150,000 urine tests. She later increased the number to 300,000. Still later, she suggested that she must have performed over a million such tests. This dramatic increase in the claimed number of urine tests performed by her apparently occurred in a little more than a year.
This woman cannot be considered a typical example of how experts operate. However, every expert should be cross examined at trial in order that inflated opinions or exaggerations are not admitted into evidence.
No conviction should be allowed if based upon testimony that is unreliable.
Source: Colorado Springs Independent, “Questioning the witness,” by Chet Hardin, August 29, 2012