Testimony Preparations for Expert WitnessesBy HG.org
Before an expert witness presents testimony in the courtroom, he or she will need to prepare by completing various steps beforehand that give him or her the edge necessary to engage the courtroom judge or jury. Knowing these steps may help the professional accomplish his or her goals in informing the court of the necessary subject matter.
The Initial ProcessesBefore the expert has the chance to testify in the courtroom, he or she will need to complete all the initial processes. Sometimes, this includes a report. Others require testing before the courtroom drama commences. However, one of the first tasks is for the expert to understand the evidence and rules of the jurisdiction. Some courts demand a full report that includes possible testimony, testing results and opinions the expert has over the evidence and connected factors. The very first steps also include passing the interview with the opposing lawyer and the judge. Some experts may need to explain and clarify educational backgrounds and connection to the subject matter of the case.
Admissibility of TestimonyThe opposing lawyer may have various objections about the testimony, testing results or a challenge with reliability with methods or relevance to the case subject matter. These objections or later challenges could cause issues with the admissibility of the expert’s testimony. If the professional is unable to conquer the objections initially or succeed with a Daubert challenge, he or she may have inadmissible evidence or face a full disqualification. Preparations are often necessary for these possible situations to include working with the lawyer to answer any questions that may cause problems with the admissibility of the testimony.
The ReportBefore the expert witness is able to testify about the evidence, the scene of the crime, the injury or justifiable and reasonable compensation, he or she usually must write and complete a report for criminal cases and sometimes for civil claims. This report generally starts out with the important relevant details of the case such as involved parties, the defendant, the lawyers and other relevant facts. Then, the evidence is the next important step in the report. The document may contain the testing methods, results and error rates that provide the data about the results. These details are of significance to the expert and require explanation to the courtroom.
Some experts will provide opinions and further details about testing and results in the report. The professional’s conclusion about the case is often the end part of the document based on the facts of the case and supported by reliable and confirmed results from his or her testing methods. The opinion may provide a better understanding of the confusing connections between the evidence and the crime. Some experts form a fully useable testimony through the report, so they are able to explain the confusing aspects of the incident and how it connects to the defendant.
Testing and EvidenceMany experts will need to test items and connect evidence to different individuals or to a chain of events. This requires time. However, many professionals are able to test the evidence and other objects before testifying about anything in the courtroom. This is usually necessary to create the report and base his or her testimony on before speaking about the subject matter. The results of testing methods may provide a different outlook than what the expert originally thought. This could change his or her entire testimony due to the facts of the case. A foundation for the information, the tests could require a different way of thinking or connect a different party to a crime or injury.
The evidence may remain confusing without applying critical thinking or different testing methods. This could take a criminal case and draw the expert into another path than he or she originally thought. Some cases have little evidence to begin with only to uncover additional items through testing or putting the matter through a reconstruction. By discovering new information and data, the expert may help the courts understand and become aware of various issues that exist with the incident.
TestimonyBefore the expert gives the testimony for the case, he or she may need to set up equipment, create visual aids and use software to show a series of events. Many of these processes take only a little time but preparing for the case generally is possible through steps the professional takes before entering the courtroom. This could include speaking to other professionals or the lawyer to ensure everything is ready.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.