November 30, 2007

Computers and Technology Expert Witnesses Deal With Serious Criminal Cases

WebWire writes that computer forensic expert witnesses:

...deal with some of the most grave and serious of criminal cases that involve digital evidence. However it may be surprising to hear that currently there is no regulatory body to ensure the quality of their work, their security, and the expert’s individual’s background.

It is a different case for those forensic companies who work for prosecuting bodies such as police forces and law enforcement agencies, as they are normally independently regulated by the instructing body and undergo rigorous vetting. Forensic companies working solely for the defence however, have the same access to the same evidence involved in these cases, yet nobody is actively monitoring their activities. In theory a one man band with a computer and the appropriate software could take on criminal defence cases which range from fraud, terrorism and drugs offences, to indecent images of children and grooming charges.

The majority of criminal cases now include at least one form of digital evidence, whether it is a mobile phone, an iPod, or a computer, and where there is a prosecution there must be a defence. Computer Forensic companies providing defences are becoming involved with seriously high profile criminal cases on a regular basis and should undergo the same monitoring and regulation that the prosecuting bodies receive.


November 29, 2007

Expert Witnesses' Crucial Role in Litigation #13

In Utilizing Experts In An Expert Way, Kelli Hinson and Tesa Hinkley describe the crucial role expert witnesses have at trial and give advice on how best to use them. In this excerpt, Hinson and Hinkley give tips on ensuring an effective audit process.

Extensive work goes into producing reports in litigation. The case team supporting the experts should have an audit process in place that ensures that all analyses were performed correctly and that factual statements can be verified from orignial source documents. In addition, the audit process should make certain that no information in the report is the result of only one person's input or review.

Excerpted from the ABA Expert Witness Alert, Summer/Fall 2007

November 28, 2007

Expert Witnesses' Crucial Role in Litigation #12

In Utilizing Experts In An Expert Way, Kelli Hinson and Tesa Hinkley describe the crucial role expert witnesses have at trial and give advice on how best to use them. In this excerpt, Hinson and Hinkley give tips on agreeing on an outline and defining the scope of the analysis.

Experts can often help attorneys better define the questions that will advance their case, as well. From an expert's standpoint, the goal is to define questions that are sufficiently narrow to fall within his or her specialty, while also being broad enough to be useful to the client. Some experts are comfortable defining an expansive scope of research, whereas ohters prefer defining a narrow scope. Equally important as defining the questions effectively is defining them early. The expert and their support team should discuss the questions as soon as practicable, and the attorneys should provide their insights to get the team headed in the right direction with the right information. This significantly reduces the likelihood of spending time on research that ultimately does not become part of the expert's opinion.
Excerpted from the ABA Expert Witness Alert, Summer/Fall 2007

November 27, 2007

Expert Witnesses' Crucial Role in Litigation #11

In Utilizing Experts In An Expert Way, Kelli Hinson and Tesa Hinkley describe the crucial role expert witnesses have at trial and give advice on how best to use them. In this excerpt, Hinson and Hinkley give tips on agreeing on an outline and defining the scope of the analysis.

In some cases, a significant initial stumbling block is defining the question or questions you want the experts to address. Choosing the right questions and establishing the scope of the analysis have obvious implications for your budget; they are also relevant to determining how many experts you retain. Experts may be helpful in guiding you on which questions they think they can answer. Expect the outline to change over time, but ensure that the experts do not stray from their area of expertise. While experts should provide the most rigourous analysis of the facts of the case, they should also know when certain matters are better addressed by other witnesses, be they fact witnesses or experts in other areas.
Excerpted from the ABA Expert Witness Alert, Summer/Fall 2007

November 26, 2007

News Of Entertainment and Media Expert Witness Fund Spreading Fast

As reported at p2pnet.net:

Word of the new Expert Witness Defense Fund is getting around online fast, and not only on English language sites. Vivendi Universal (France), Sony BMG (Japan and Germany), EMI (Britain), and Warner Music (US), the members of the Big 4 organised music cartel, are engaged in a vicious and bitter battle with their own customers to force them into becoming compliant consumers, just as they were in the heady pre-Net days...

The fund has been created so RIAA victims can hire their own (entertainment and media) experts in what Recording Industry vs the People’s Ray Beckerman believes is a “cataclysmic event in the history of the RIAA’s litigation campaign”. Free Software Foundation Expert Witness Defense Fund will, “go a long way to at least partially levelling the playing field for the men, women and even young children currently under attack by Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG,” we posted yesterday. So far, among others, it’s been reported by:

Wired, Slashdot, Hard OCP, Ars Technica, TechDirt and Slyck(US)
The Inquirer (UK)
tweakers.net (Holland)
Linux.org.ru (Russia)
ZDNet.Be (Dutch)
Ratiatum (French)
Afterdawn (Finland)
Punto Informatico, (Italy)
OS News (Poland)
Tom’s Hardware (France)
p2pnet - (Canada)

November 25, 2007

Legal Fees Expert Witness Angers Judge

Debra Cassens Weiss reports Attorney Fee Expert Angers Judge, ABA Journal, 11/19/07.

A Philadelphia judge has chastised an expert witness for his testimony challenging attorney fees in two cases, including the class action case against Wal-Mart for unpaid overtime. In opinions issued last Wednesday, Judge Mark Bernstein criticized the defense witness, John Marquess of Legal Cost Control Inc., for testimony in the Wal-Mart case and in a successful class action suit against Kia Motors America Inc., the Legal Intelligencer reports. Bernstein awarded $45.7 million in attorney fees and $3.6 million in expenses in the Wal-Mart case.

In the Kia case, Bernstein said Marquess gave a biased review that was 'intentionally factually restricted.' Bernstein had awarded $4.125 million in fees in the suit, which had contended brakes on 1995 to 2001 Kia Sephias needed to be replaced about every 5,000 miles. The jury ordered Kia to pay $5.6 million, or $600 each, to the 9,402 class members. Bernstein had been ordered by a Pennsylvania superior court to write an opinion justifying the fees.

'The professional witness testifying without integrity, saying whatever their masters pay them to say, makes a mockery of the integrity of our system of justice,' Bernstein wrote. 'The court rejects the concept that an expert is nothing more than a hired gun who applies 'expertise' to whatever material is provided by counsel without any responsibility to request available information reasonably required to render an honest, valid opinion.'


November 24, 2007

Child Sex Abuse Expert Witness Speaks On AP Investigation

Kansas State University Professor and expert witness Bob Shoop has been writing about teacher sex abuse cases since 1984. The child sex abuse expert witness says that "consistently most studies have indicated that between 5 and 10 percent of the students in a high-school setting have had an inappropriate relationship with an adult." An AP investigation has found that more than 2,500 educators have been accused of misconduct and victims were 80% students.

Jeff Kuhner, communications director for the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, said there are many reasons why most of the abuse goes unreported, but underneath is a bureaucracy looking out for its own. “You have public school unions who are very deeply entrenched, who are more interested in protecting the interests of their members and teachers than they are in serving students," he said.

Roy Einreinhofer, spokesman for The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, operates a voluntary database to track offenders and says the list is long. “The clearinghouse contains around 37,000 names," he said, "and that increases at a rate of about 2,500 or so a year.”

As reported in citizenlink.org.

November 23, 2007

Expert Witnesses' Crucial Role in Litigation #10

In Utilizing Experts In An Expert Way, Kelli Hinson and Tesa Hinkley describe the crucial role expert witnesses have at trial and give advice on how best to use them. In this excerpt, Hinson and Hinkley give tips on selecting the attorney to communicate with experts.

In large cases, designating a point person whose responsibilities include communicating with the experts avoids unnecessary work and ensures coordination of expert research and legal strategy. The point person should be quanitatively skilled and have some decision-making authority or direct access to a senior case manager.
Excerpted from the ABA Expert Witness Alert, Summer/Fall 2007

November 22, 2007

Expert Witnesses' Crucial Role in Litigation #9

In Utilizing Experts In An Expert Way, Kelli Hinson and Tesa Hinkley describe the crucial role expert witnesses have at trial and give advice on how best to use them. In this excerpt, Hinson and Hinkley give tips on managing documents.

On smaller cases, sending all documentation to the experts and spending time reviewing the materials with them is often most efficient. On the other hand, ten boxes of documents accompanied by a two-sentence cover note - something we've experienced - is not an effective way to proceed. On the largest cases, direct access to the document management system is by far the best way to manage the process effectively.

In one recent case, the law firm we were working with installed its proprietary document management system and database program on our computers to provide us with electronic access to all documents. In real time, we could query the fully text-searchable database for documents or keywords. This saved considerable time and money (and trees) despite the initial investment. If such a system cannot be made available to the expert, try at least to provide documents in a searchable format on CDs.


Excerpted from the ABA Expert Witness Alert, Summer/Fall 2007

November 21, 2007

Expert Witnesses' Crucial Role in Litigation #8

In Utilizing Experts In An Expert Way, Kelli Hinson and Tesa Hinkley describe the crucial role expert witnesses have at trial and give advice on how best to use them. In this excerpt, Hinson and Hinkley give tips on managing the information flow in your case.

When massive amounts of documents and facts are involved, it is tempting to restrict the amount of information flowing to experts. However, because the expert is independent and must consider all relevant information, such an approach can backfire, leading to surprises in deposition or testimony and potential amendments to a report. Providing access to all documents and fact witnesses while assisting the expert in the selection of relevant documents is the safer way to proceed, and can be done efficiently. Costs can be minimized by relying on those working under the expert's direct supervision (and at lower rates). Such staff can pre-screen client personnel for discussions with the expert, review documents, and develop factual summaries that consist of quoted excerpts and are devoid of opinion.

Excerpted from the ABA Expert Witness Alert, Summer/Fall 2007

November 20, 2007

Violent Crime Expert Witness Speaks Out On Proposed Wal-Mart

The Sun Times reports: An Ontario Municipal Board hearing into a proposed Wal-Mart in Port Elgin was suspended as lawyers and OMB officials went behind closed doors for most of the day Thursday. One of those witnesses was Laura Robinson, who was introduced as an violent crime expert witness speaking on violence against women. Robinson supports FOSS's stand that any large development on the land in question will compromise the safety of recreational trail users. "It's a story that needs to be told," she said. "As an athlete I understand that you're already taking a risk due to the inherent danger of sport . . . there is a responsibility to reduce other risks. Not knowing who is around the corner is a danger. Wal-Mart's own expert witness called the trail curve an ambush site. That's frightening."


November 19, 2007

Entertainment and Media Expert Witness Fund Created For RIAA Defendents

An Expert Witness Defense Fund was established today by the Free Software Foundation and the Recording Industry vs The People blog (run by copyright attorney Ray Beckerman) to help defendants cover the costs of entertainment and media expert witnesses used to defend themselves against file-sharing lawsuits brought by the recording industry. "This could be a real catalyst in the file-sharing litigation," Beckerman said. If you agree and want to contribute to the fund, the FSF has a page set up for contributions. If you've found yourself on the wrong end of a file-sharing lawsuit, you can e-mail Beckerman with the subject "Technical Expert Funding Request."

Ars Techica reports that cases will have to meet certain criteria to benefit from the fund including the defendant's willingness to see the case through to conclusion, the importance of the case to critical legal issues, the amount of money spent by the defendant and/or the attorney fighting the infringement claims, the need for assistance and technical expertise, and the competing needs of other cases.

November 18, 2007

Barry Bonds Defense Will Use Pharmacology Expert Witnesses

A San Francsico federal grand jury has indicted Barry Bonds on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction alleging that he "knowingly and willfully" made material false statements regarding his use of performance-enhancing substances during his grand jury testimony in the into the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative. Bonds had a grant of immunity during his 2003 testimony with one exception: If he committed perjury or made a false declaration, he could be charged.

Columbia University law professor John C. Coffee Jr., a white-collar crime specialist, said it will be hard to prove that Bonds knowingly made a false statement with the intent of misleading the grand jury. "You can imagine the defense putting on expert witnesses about how Bonds could have believed this was some of exotic" but legal product, Coffee said, reports LATimes.com.

November 17, 2007

Neurosurgery Expert Witness Testimony to Stand

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled that Ohio Circuit Judge Arthur Recht improperly excluded neurosurgery expert witness Peter Sheptak in a trial over a car crash. The decision means Sheptak can to testify for Lambert Jones II, whose Ford Probe rear ended a Lincoln driven by George Naum in 2003. Naum claims the collision caused a concussion, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and memory problems but the expert witness said "this was an extremely low level impact with no significant discernible damage to either vehicle. I find it highly unlikely that the patient suffered a concussion during the impact," he wrote. "I also feel it highly unlikely that he struck his head on the roof as he reported to several physicians."

Naum's attorney had argued that Sheptak could not testify about any change in velocity that Naum experienced because Sheptak was not a biomechanics expert witness.

As reported in the WVRecord.com

November 16, 2007

WV Supreme Ct Opines On Urology Expert Witness Testimony

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals recently held that although a medical expert witness does not use the medical tools alleged to have caused harm does not mean he or she may not testify to the standard of care needed while using them. The court found the fact that urology expert witness Dr. Robert Lewis "uses a different method to perform a urethral dilation procedure does not disqualify him from giving testimony on the standard of care to be employed when performing this type of procedure." LegalNewsline.com also reports:

"What this case demonstrates is how this Court's decision to abandon the locality rule in medical malpractice cases in favor of a standard of care more national in approach is often misemployed to prevent qualified physicians from offering testimony in cases brought under the (Medical Professional Liability) Act," Justice Joseph Albright wrote.

"As we observed in Paintiff (v. City of Parkersburg, 1986), the need for employing a locality rule in medical malpractice cases was no longer present due to the omnipresence of medical information relative to the treatment of diseases and injuries."

November 15, 2007

Should Defense Sanity/Trial Competency Expert Witnesses See Police Reports in Cop's Death?

The murder trial of Wilson Santiago could cause Ohio to reconsider its controversial rule forbidding defendants from seeing all of the state's evidence against them. Santiago is accused in the 2006 shooting death of Cleveland Detective Jonathan "A.J." Schroeder. Defense lawyers want the police reports in order for sanity/trial competency expert witnesses to evaluate Santiago's sanity and psychological competence to stand trial.

The prosecution argues that case law and the state's court-procedure rules explicitly state that a defendant isn't entitled to police reports but Common Pleas Judge Janet Burnside declared "Fundamental fairness compels the disclosure. The obvious means to protect a capital defendant in his trial is to provide copies of the police reports and witness statements to defense counsel so that they can be as prepared as their possible expert witnesses and can discern for themselves what exculpatory information is contained in those police reports," she asserted, according to Cleveland.com.

November 14, 2007

Turning the Defense Medical Expert Witness Into The Plaintiff's Witness

In Defense Medical Expert: Turning the Defense Advocate Into the Plaintiff's Witness, R. Rex Paris advises on the cross-examination of a defense doctor. Paris writes that often the defense medical expert witness creates a "mountain of rubbish" which mesmerizes the jury. Because jurors do not have the benefit of court experience, they often become confused about the severity and/or cause of the client's injuries.

The simplest way to handle this problem is by subpoenaing the defense doctor and calling them as an adverse witness. Any designated expert whose deposition was taken can be called as a witness by any party. (You have to pay them but it is worth it.)... It is essential that the defense doctor be discredited before the jury becomes convinced of their infallibility. In order to diffuse the defense doctor's testimony, we must first recognize that we are afraid of the expert. We know that if the jury believes the defense expert, the best we can hope for is a lower verdict.
More to follow...
Excerpted from Consumer Attorneys of California, October 2007

November 13, 2007

Education and Schools Expert Witnesses Defend South Dakota State Funding

South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long has hired the firm of Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP to defend the state in a lawsuit over the school-aid formula. Long described the case as countering education and schools expert witnesses from the parents and schools challenging the adequacy of the state-aid formula. "There are these pods of experts who go around the country assisting people who bring lawsuits in these matters," Long said. "This firm has experience in dealing with those experts and defending states in these kinds of cases." ArgusLeader.com also reports:

Long said the firm was brought to the case because of its experience in handling similar lawsuits in other states. The firm will help examine and cross-examine expert witnesses in the case, he said. Most recently, the firm worked with state officials in Missouri in a school-funding case, and the state won that case, Long said.

November 12, 2007

Dogs Expert Witness Testifies In Military Court Trial

Ex-drill instructor Sgt. Jerrod Glass is standing trial in military court for allegedly hitting, slapping, and abusing dozens of recruits. Expert witness Gunnery Sgt. Rogerio De Leon, one of the depot's most experienced drill instructors, testified that even "incentive training" has strict guidelines. The military expert witness said recruits in the first weeks of training can be ordered to do push-ups as incentive training for only three minutes at a time, followed by a 30-second break. The prosecution argued that Glass treated Marine canines better than soldiers. LA Times.com also writes:

Gunnery Sgt. James Cobb, who was kennel master at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot here when Glass was assistant kennel master, testified as a dogs expert witness that Glass followed one of the cardinal rules of dog-handling: Never hit a dog...'Are you trying to argue that he treated his dogs better than his recruits?' (defense attorney) Meeks asked in an angry tone. 'Yes,' said Capt. Christian Pappas, the prosecutor.

November 11, 2007

Expert Witnesses' Crucial Role in Litigation #7

In Utilizing Experts In An Expert Way, Kelli Hinson and Tesa Hinkley describe the crucial role expert witnesses have at trial and give advice on how best to use them. In this excerpt, Hinson and Hinkley give tips on planning ahead when drafing confidentiality / protective orders.

Confidentality / protective orders take many forms. In their most extreme, but not uncommon, incarnation, CPOs must be signed by every individual working on the team (expert and support staff alike) and must be sent to the other side for approval. Such an arrangement has several drawbacks. First, it requires you to disclose your experts (testifying and consulting) and support team long before expert reports are due. In addition, it creates delay and coordination costs that are often burdensome and can slow the process at critical times (e.g. when auditing must be completed quickly and requires additional "fresh eyes", to review statistical programs and exhibits). A convenient way to proceed is to have the CPOs require signatures from one representative per entity, rather than every member of the team, though this approach must be balanced aganist the value of knowing the size of the opposing group.
Excerpted from the ABA Expert Witness Alert, Summer/Fall 2007

November 10, 2007

Toxicology Expert Witness Opines On Death of Ex-Pakistan Cricket Coach

Jamaican expert witness Fitzmore Coates testified Thursday at the inquest into the death of ex-Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer. Woolmer, 58, was found unconscious in his Kingston hotel room on March 18 and Coates, acting chief forensic officer at the Government Forensic Science Laboratory, said tests showed traces of the potentially deadly pesticide cypermethrin. The toxicology expert witness said 3.4 milligrams per millilitre of the deadly pesticide was found in Woolmer's stomach. "The final calculation of cypermethrin in the stomach content which I analyzed would be significant. It could cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and death," Coates. He also found cypermethrin in samples of blood and urine taken from Woolmer and the substance was also seen in a straw-coloured liquid taken from Woolmer's room at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. AFP.com also reports:

Last month, the government's pathology expert witness Dr. Ere Sheshiah, who performed the post-mortem in Woolmer's body, told the court the cause of death was "asphyxia, associated with cypermethrin poisoning."

November 9, 2007

Pulmonary Medicine Expert Witness Persuasive in Black Lung Appeal

On Wednesday the US Court of Appeals 4th District ruled against a West Virginia coal company with a yearly capacity of one million tons in Sewell Coal Company v. Gerald Triplett, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 25921. Triplett had been awarded black lung benefits in 2006 by the Benefits Review Board of the Department of Labor. Sewell argued that Triplett had an 18-pack year smoking history and that pneumoconiosis substantially contributed to his disability.

The Board had found pulmonary medicine expert witness Dr. Ramussen's testimony persuasive in the case. Rasmussen reviewed Triplett's x-rays, pulmonary function studies, arterial blood gas studies, medical records, and earlier expert witnesses' reports. He concluded that Triplett's pulmonary impairment is severe, disabling, and attributable to coal mine dust exposure. Dr. Rasmussen also noted that coal mine dust exposure can produce chronic obstructive lung disease including bronchitis and emphysema. Thus, he explained that it was completely impossible to exclude coal mine dust exposure as a major contributing factor to Triplett's disability.

November 8, 2007

Oceanography Expert Witnesses Plead For Marine Sanctuaries

Eight marine science expert witnesses were called to testify before the Congressional Subcommittee hearing at UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. The expert witnesses spoke before the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Oceans at a field hearing that was the first of several the subcommittee expects to hold in various parts of the nation before introducing a bill to re-authorize the National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP). SantaBarbaraIndependent.com also wrote:

Witnesses told the subcommittee that the NMSP’s mission needed to be clearly defined as resource management primarily, and that the sanctuaries need more money for research and monitoring. They said that sanctuary managers needed the authority to more easily declare portions of the sanctuaries off-limits to fishing, in order to replenish diminishing species and the ecosystems of which they are part. They all agreed...that the Bush administration’s de facto moratorium on declaring new sanctuaries, by withholding money, needs to be lifted.

November 7, 2007

Expert Witnesses' Crucial Role in Litigation #6

In Utilizing Experts In An Expert Way, Kelli Hinson and Tesa Hinkley describe the crucial role expert witnesses have at trial and give advice on how best to use them. In this excerpt, Hinson and Hinkley give tips on how to agree with opposing parties on what is discoverable.

Judicial rulings on discoverability remain in flux. Given the uncertainty of this environment, agreement with the opposing parties on document discoverability will result in clearer testimony and reduced costs as the process is streamlined. For example, you might agree not to produce draft reports and to limit discovery to material 'relied upon' rather than merely 'considered' by the testifying expert. In the absence of such argreement, careful document management including emails and voice mails (which are now often digital files similar to emails) will avoid confusion as well as lengthy and expensive e-discovery.

Excerpted from the ABA Expert Witness Alert, Summer/Fall 2007

November 6, 2007

Jury or Trial Research As Crucial As Expert Witnesses?

In All Things Jury: Jury research as standard practice? R. Robert Samples discusses due diligence and preparation as the the most important responsibility that counsel owes to his or her client. Samples writes:

Law firms don't hesitate to bring in an expert witness if they believe their testimony is crucial to winning the case. The hiring of expert witnesses is routine and accepted, and it is understood that the cost will be passed along to the client. If counsel is asked if failure to contract with a qualified expert witness could result in legal malpractice, the answer would be a resounding "Absolutely!" However, law firms and their clients may not be as accepting of the need for jury or trial research (nor the cost associated with conducting the research)...

Obviously, the services of jury/trial consultants are not essential in all cases. But as the complexity of the case, and exposure to damages increases, the need for trial research becomes more pronounced. In these cases, the types of trial research services that jury consultants provide becomes part of the counsel's due diligence to ensure adequate representation of his/her client.

Samples is president of RMS Strategies (www.rmsstrategies.com), a communications and opinion research agency headquartered in Charleston.

November 5, 2007

Forensics & Laboratory Expert Witness On Mack Trial

Darren Mack has pled guilty to the stabbing death of his estranged wife, Charla, on June 12, 2006. He agreed to an Alford plea concerning the intent-to-kill portion of the attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon in the sniper shooting of his divorce judge. Victor Ruvalcaba, a forensics and laboratory expert witness with the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, said that the bullet cut into the skin and clothing of Family Court Judge Chuck Weller and his secretary after traveling 515 feet from a downtown Reno parking garage and through a courthouse window. The expert witness is a forensic investigator with the Washoe County Sheriff's Office. Prosecutors had offered testimony from crime scene investigators Wednesday and a pilot who said he saw Mack in Mexico after the crimes. The Reno Gazette Journal reports:

“I do understand right now in my state of mind that shooting at the judiciary is not a proper form of political redress,” Mack said.

November 4, 2007

Technology Expert Witness Speaks at House Committee on Science and Technology

Vicki Colvin, executive director of the International Council on Nanotechnology, told the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology Wednesday that nanotechnology holds great promise for the future of cancer therapy and water treatment. Colvin, also director of Rice University's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology, said however, that concerns about the safety of nanoproducts may limit important technological developments. Colvin was an expert witness at the hearing "Research on Environmental and Safety Impacts of Nanotechnology." The hearing relates to the current direction of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). The technology expert witness also said:

'There is an urgency to nano-EHS research that affects the entire NNI investment," she said. "Innovation in nanotechnology is being threatened by the uncertainty about its risks. We need this innovation more than ever right now.' She called on the National Nanotechnology Initiative to release a detailed strategy for nano-EHS research no later than fall 2008.

To read the full text of Colvin's remarks, visit http://icon.rice.edu.


November 3, 2007

Expert Witnesses' Crucial Role in Litigation #5

In Utilizing Experts In An Expert Way, Kelli Hinson and Tesa Hinkley describe the crucial role expert witnesses have at trial and give advice on how best to use them. In this excerpt, Hinson and Hinkley give tips on how to control costs.

Include expert costs in your budget. Consulting and testifying experts can be significant expenses, and you should ensure from the outset that your budget includes line items for this purpose. In all cases, agreeing early on a scope of tasks and requesting regular updates is the best way to avoid surprises and manage costs. Mid-course changes as well as last minute rushes are costly. If it is not initially clear which tasks are to be completed, hiring consulting experts may help to bring focus to the right topics once the issues are better understood. In large cases wilth significant ramp-up costs, you can minimize the costs associated with document management, learning curves, and coordination among testifying experts by relying on consulting experts for all phases of the engagement, with testifying experts assigned to specific tasks.

Excerpted from the ABA Expert Witness Alert, Summer/Fall 2007

November 2, 2007

Expert Witnesses' Crucial Role in Litigation #4

In Utilizing Experts In An Expert Way, Kelli Hinson and Tesa Hinkley describe the crucial role expert witnesses have at trial and give advice on how best to use them. In this excerpt, Hinson and Hinkley give tips on how deal with the timing of expert witness reports.

Because clients often want to review reports prior to filing, experts must complete their reports well in advance of the actual deadline. Depending on the complexity of the report, up to two weeks may be needed for auditing to ensure an error-free analysis and preparation of backup material. Planning to substantially complete the report several weeks prior to the deadline will leave sufficient time for you to review it, for your expert to address client comments, for the expert's support team to resolve last minute concerns, audit the report, and complete backup material.

Excerpted from the ABA Expert Witness Alert, Summer/Fall 2007

November 1, 2007

Criminal Law Expert Witness On Bali Nine

Three of the six Australians charged with the Bali Nine heroin smuggling ring challenged the constitutional validity of the death penalty and lost on Tuesday. Indonesia's Constitutional Court rejected the challenge, saying the right to life could be limited by Indonesian laws. Expert witnesses argued that executions breach Indonesia's constitution and international obligations. Indonesia is a signatory on an international treaty supporting abolition of capital punishment. The treaty calls for executions against only the "most serious crimes," which does not include drug trafficking.

If the Bali Nine had prevailed, criminal law expert witness Rudy Satrio from the University of Indonesia, predicted the court could retain capital punishment but endorse a new draft of the national criminal code, to avoid creating chaos in the justice system.

For more, see The Age.com.