Chapter 2 Notes

Chapter 2 Section 1: Legal Methods Legal Methods Frye v. U.S. (1923) FRE 702 (1975) Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993) Legal Methods Frye v. U.S. The admissibility of a lie detector test "... while courts will go a long way in admitting expert testimony deduced from a well recognized scientific principle ror discovery, the thing from which the deduction is made must be sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs." FRE 702 Scientific evidence should be admitted if it "assists the trier of fact" Daubert The U.S. Supreme Court agreed that the Frye test was superseded by the FRE 702 "Nothing in the text of the Rule establishes "general acceptance" as an absolute prerequisite to admissibility." "To the contrary, under the rules the trial judge must ensure that any and all scientific testimony or evidence admitted is not only relevant, but reliable" "The adjecive 'scientific' implies a grounding in the methods and procedures of science" "Similarly, the word knowledge connotes more than subjective belief or unsupposrted speculation." "... the requirement that an expert's testimony pertain to 'scientific knowledge' estbalishes a standard of evidentiary reliability Daubert Test - Three ways to demonstrate that expert testimony is scientifically valid 1. Show that it grows out of pre-litigation research 2. Show that it is based on research that has been subjected to peer review 3. Have experts explain what was done and point to an objective source that indicates that the scientific method was followed Justice Breyers Concurrence (agreement): Raises possibility of using court-appointed expert witnesses, special masters, or specially-trained law clerks to help judges deal with complex scientific evidence General Electric Company v. Joiner (1997)
The standard that an appellate court should apply in reviewing a trial court's decision to accept or admit expert testimony is "abuse of discretion" Kumho Tire Company v. Carmichael (1999) Daubert's gate keeping function applied to all expert testimony, not just "scientific" expert testimony (Rule 702 has now been amended to reflect this ruling) Chapter 2 Section 1: Methods of Asking Questions Social Science Methods: Methods of Asking Questions Ask the right question Make reference to the empirical world Call for an explanation of the cause of some state of affairs Measure or quantify what is observed Empirical Approach Observable Verifiable Repeatable Objective Rational Approach Intuitive Argumentative Ad hoc Subjective
Social Science Methods: Methods of Asking Questions Causal Explanation Prediction Control Understanding General Causal Account = Theories Good theories yield hypotheses Hypotheses are testable or verifiable
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