May 31, 2009

Security Expert Witness On Avoiding Security Litigation Part 2

In Security Experts: Litigation and Beyond, security expert witness Robert A. Gardner, CPP, writes:

Regardless of the focus of your practice, there may be a place for a qualified security expert in your legal tool kit. Consider making these suggestions to your client:

• Have a qualified security expert conduct periodic surveys of your client’s property, their management practices and their policies and procedures. This will identify security weaknesses before they create a problem. Include both business and residential locations.

• Before moving to a new business or residential location or committing to any real estate purchase or lease, have a qualified security expert evaluate the safety of the surrounding area and the physical security characteristics of the property.

• If security vendors such as alarm companies or guard services are used, have an independent qualified security expert evaluate their application and periodically audit their effectiveness. An independent qualified security expert should also perform a technical review of all security related bids and contracts.

May 30, 2009

San Diego Medical Expert On Tasers

Despite recent controversy over the use of Tasers, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department says the electroshock weapons have defused hundreds of possibly lethal confrontations and kept deputies and the public safer since deputies began using them in late 2005. Law enforcement officials say the stress exerted by a subject as they are resisting arrest contributes more to such a death than a Taser would. From NorthCountyTimes.com:

The blast from a Taser immobilizes a person within seconds, causing the muscles to contract uncontrollably. Medical and law enforcement studies show, however, that Tasers cause no long-term damage. At least one area medical expert said Tasers rarely, if ever, cause a person's death. "I have not seen anything that would make me think that a Taser actually killed somebody," said Gary Vilke, a professor of clinical medicine and emergency physician at UC San Diego Medical Center.

May 29, 2009

Internet Expert Witness On Company E-mail Part 3

In Managing the Risky Business of Company E-mail Part1 internet expert witness Scott Greene, CEO of Evidence Solutions, Inc., writes that his company has documented, during the examination of electronic systems, employees who frequently say/save things into e-mails or store on a computer, things they would never say anywhere else.

An example of computer message in a court case dates back to the infamous trial of some of the Los Angeles Police being tried in the 1991 beating of Rodney King. One of the officers created a computer message stating, “…….I haven’t beaten anyone that bad in a long time.” This obviously became admissible in court.

A more recent example, is one in which we as a company were hired in a libel case. The libeler was using the internet to post messages on a public bulletin board that were both slanderous and libelous against a competitor in the same field. This person felt that by using “anonymous” e-mails and postings, this would increase their own standing within the same professional community. What the libeler didn’t count on was the traceability of the e-mails to their home, cell phone and company computer systems. We were able to locate the electronic trail, and with this information obtain, on behalf of the client, a court order to confiscate the equipment in order to create image copies of the electronic systems. As a result, in order to keep the issue private, the libeler agreed to a significant out of court settlement.

May 28, 2009

Forensic Engineering Expert Witnesses Part 1

Joseph E. Bonadiman, PhD, PE, writes on Experience versus education in forensic engineering:

Much like the argument for nature versus nurture in determining the outcome of an individual's personality, experience versus education in forensic engineering is a subject of contention when it comes to choosing an expert witness. This article defines education as academic education from study and schooling where bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees are earned. Experience is defined as education derived from persistence in an occupation that has resulted in the accumulation of wisdom gained from observation and insight.

So, what is more important, experience or education, when choosing an expert witness? When considering a bridge failure, for instance, is it more beneficial to know the modulus of elasticity of steel and vector dynamics or why a similar bridge failed 10 years ago under similar conditions? Who is informed? Who would go in the right direction in an investigation? Who would provide the most appropriate testimony for the client?


Excerpted from The Forensic Examiner, Winter, 2007

May 27, 2009

Real Estate Valuation Expert Witness On Real Estate Inventories

In Continental Valuations News, real estate valuation expert witness Robert D. Domini, MBA, MAI, writes:

Inventories are beginning to come down in markets like, say, Fort Myers, Florida. You all remember the good old days when a 250-lot subdivision “sold out” in one day? At the peak, properties were appreciating at 5% per month. Buyers had to offer list price on the day it was listed, or lose the deal. The successful bidder stood to make around $50,000 in a few months, on paper of course. Those were the good old days. Then we entered the hold-em phase which lasted about a year. Finally, those desperate to sell began dropping their prices. If you make the trip down there in up-coming off season to look for your retirement dream home, ignore the asking prices. Most sellers are still holding out for the big bucks. Make an offer where you feel comfortable, and someone probably will take it. The foreclosed, REO properties are another story. Those prices are already low.

May 26, 2009

Security Expert Witness On Avoiding Security Litigation Part 1

In Security Experts: Litigation and Beyond, security expert witness Robert A. Gardner, CPP, writes:

Q. How can a security expert help me? I don’t handle security related litigation.

A. It’s true that security experts are most often retained for litigation. Expert opinions on issues of crime foreseeability, security adequacy, and security standards and practices can make or break a case. As such both plaintiff and defense attorneys are constantly in search of qualified security experts. But while the attorney who prevails for a client in litigation may be appreciated, the attorney that can keep a client out of litigation is a true hero.

Recommend that your client retain a security expert to assess security adequacy and needs before something bad happens. This proactive approach increases your client’s level of security and reduces their liability exposure. Your clients rely on you to protect them. Be proactive; be a hero.


May 25, 2009

Document Examination Expert Witness On Questioned Writing Part 4

Document examination expert witness Ronald N. Morris is a certified forensic document examiner and in this excerpt from Submitting a Handwriting Case for Examination, he writes on working with copies:

Another reason why photocopies are problematic is the ability of a person to create or fabricate a completely fictitious document using photocopy technology. The purpose of fabricated documents is to offer them as proof of a position in a dispute, to justify a position, or taking some action. Increasingly, the authenticity of photocopied documents is being questioned because of the ease with which fictitious documents can be created to make it appear that the original document contained certain text or even a signature.

Assuming that the copy accurately records all of the features found on the original it purports to represent is hazardous at best. The only way to substantiate that a copy is an accurate reproduction of the document it purports to represent is by comparing the copy with the original. Authentication of an original based only on the examination of a purported copy of that document is not possible. Any opinion based on the examination of a copy applies only to the examined copy and cannot be extrapolated to the original the copy purports to represent.

May 24, 2009

Failure To File Medical Expert Witness Report

A. David Tammelleo, JD, a nationally recognized authority on health care law, writes in Caveat To Physicians Having Lasers In Their Offices:

Recently, the development and refinement of the laser has opened a panorama of areas in which laser treatments can be used. However, whenever lasers are used they should only be used by persons skilled in their use and cognizant of harm that can be done if not used properly. As more and more people seek laser treatment for hair removal and other purposes, more and more people are suffering bums, scarring and disfigurement. Ideally, lasers should be used only by those skilled in their use who are cognizant of the damage that lasers can do if they are not used properly. Ideally, they should be used only under the supervision of physicians. Unfortunately, that is not always the case....

In Texas, Emma Alvarez sued Dean Joshua Blount, R.N., and Dr. Tesoro for negligence, claiming that Blount improperly used the MeDioStar HC laser. Dr. Tesoro moved to dismiss Alvarez's suit on the basis that Alvarez had failed to file a medical expert report and that her claim was subject to the requirements of the civil practice and remedies code.

For more, see Tesoro v. Alvarez, 2009-TX-0313.418 (3/12/2009)-TX

May 23, 2009

Internet Expert Witness On Company E-mail Part 2

In Managing the Risky Business of Company E-mail Part1 internet expert witness Scott Greene writes that his company has documented, during the examination of electronic systems, employees who frequently say/save things into e-mails or store on a computer, things they would never say anywhere else.

Either having an employee delete a potentially damaging or inflammatory e-mail or even an employee deleting an e-mail on their own, does not protect anyone. In fact, it could in the end harm everyone involved.

If a complaint or inappropriate conduct of an employee has risen to the level where you as an owner/supervisor, need to consult a Computer and Technology Forensics expert, one of the first areas checked is for deleted documents and/or e-mails. These items cause red flags during an examination of equipment, and the original items can and most likely will be found and/or reconstructed. It is very important to understand that the intentional destruction of evidence is a felony, and if proven, could land one in jail.


May 22, 2009

Researching The Forensic Engineering Expert Witness

Expert witnesses are used in a wide range of litigation and their opinions are often viewed as critical, yet few attorneys take the time to utilize the proper resources to find the right experts, evaluate their credentials, and/or assess the admissibility of their testimony. For example, one step in researching a forensic engineering expert witness thoroughly is to find articles they have written. Here are some sources:

Over ten million full-text articles covering a wide variety of subjects and dating back to 1998 can be found at BNET’s FindArticles.com. For example, a search for "forensic engineering expert" returned 517 results as of this date. Some expert witness directories such as JurisPro provide free access to articles written by experts. Many trade associations publish online newsletters and some provide either full-text or extracts from articles.

May 21, 2009

Real Estate Valuation Expert Witness On The State Of Commercial Real Estate

In Continental Valuations News, real estate valuation expert witness Robert D. Domini, MBA, MAI, writes:

Not only is there a natural fallout from an auto recession, but this time around the domestic auto companies have run out of money, although Ford has survived so far without Government funds. GM and Chrysler are being forced to close dealerships. GM is shedding divisions as we speak.

Commercial real estate owners are facing a double whammy. They are not only fighting higher vacancy, lower rents and higher cap rates, but they are also facing restricted debt options. As the economy continues to shed jobs at a rate of 650,000 to 700,000 per month, investors will face ever greater challenges. According to Deutsche Bank, the conduit lenders are facing 3.5% delinquency and expect the figure to reach 6% by the end of the year. The peak rate during the early 90s was in the 6% to 7% range. So, with 5-year rollovers coming due, investors face much tighter underwriting standards amidst declining prices, cash flow, rents, etc.

The aggregate delinquency rate at the present time is about 1.8%, so if this figure goes to 7% by the end of this year, the number of loans delinquent will more-than triple in the next eight months. I’d say that’s a fairly rapid deterioration. The hotel sector is holding its own better than any other segment at the present time, but most hospitality research firms are predicting 10% to 20% declines in Net Operating Income. Newer, 2006, apartment complexes are experiencing very high default rates while more mature complexes are holding up well thus far. As commercial real estate continues to deteriorate, look for Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities market to experience problems. Let's hope the Government doesn't run out of money.

May 20, 2009

Researching The Bicycle Expert Witness

Expert witnesses are used in a wide range of litigation and their opinions are often viewed as critical, yet few attorneys take the time to utilize the proper resources to find the right experts and evaluate their credentials. Researching the product at issue, e.g. bicycles, will facilitate hiring the right expert witness.

Information about companies and products can be found at the ThomasNet® site (formerly known as Thomas Register®), which has gathered company information from registrations of companies in its “industrial buying guides.” This free online directory provides access to over 600,000 industrial companies, indexed by 70,000 product and service categories. After a free registration, one can search for a product, service, brand name or company name. For example, a search for “bicycle pumps” leads to profiles for manufacturers, including each company’s description, its mailing address, phone number, fax number, website address(es), amount of assets, employees and the name of the parent company.

May 19, 2009

Medical Expert Witness & Standard Of Care

A. David Tammelleo, JD, a nationally recognized authority on health care law, writes in A Suit For Medical Malpractice Can Stand Or Fall On The Testimony Of Expert Medical Witness For Either A Plaintiff Or A Defendant that few cases would illustrate this better than the Missouri case in which the plaintiffs' expert medical witness completely failed to even come close to testifying as to what the applicable standard of care, which the defendant physician and the hospital that employed him were expected to meet.

Not only must both plaintiffs and defendants obtain expert medical witnesses have sterling credentials so that they are eminently qualified to testify as expert medical witnesses, but first and foremost, they must be prepared to state clearly and unequivocally what the applicable standard of care to which a physician accused of medical malpractice is alleged to have breached and that the breach of that standard was, to the appropriate degree of medical certainty, the direct and proximate cause of the alleged victim's injuries, pain, and suffering for which the plaintiff is bringing suit. In this case, the plaintiffs' expert witness failed to testify as to what the applicable standard of care was, ensuring the dismissal of the case.

For more, see Medical Law's Regan Report, June, 2007 by Tammelleo, A. David

May 18, 2009

Internet Expert Witness On Company E-mail Part 1

In Managing the Risky Business of Company E-mail Part1 internet expert witness Scott Greene, CEO of Evidence Solutions, Inc., writes:

As an employer, Human Resources Director, or Risk Management Supervisor, ask yourself this question: “Do our employees think about the legal risk of sending communications over the internet?” If you are like the majority of companies, your answer would be, “It is highly improbable”. It is a very common problem amid the work place, for an employee to believe their electronic communications are transient, temporary and, once deleted, untraceable and therefore, harmless.

The fact is e-mail, faxes and even cellular phones leave a trace. Just one e-mail sent from your employee to the employee of a different company passes through an average of four different computer systems. This creates a trail making e-mail real, traceable, and permanent.

May 17, 2009

What Is A Forensic Engineering Expert Witness?

A forensic engineering expert witness investigates materials, products, structures or components that fail or do not function as intended which may cause personal injury or damage to property. The consequences of failure are dealt with by the law of product liability. The subject is applied most commonly in civil law cases, although may be of use in criminal law cases. Generally the purpose of a forensic engineering investigation is to locate cause or causes of failure with a view to improve performance or life of a component, or to assist a court in determining the facts of an accident.

Methods used in forensic investigations include reverse engineering, inspection of witness statements, a working knowledge of current standards, as well as examination of the failed component itself.

Excerpted from wikipedia.com.

May 16, 2009

Document Examination Expert Witness On Questioned Writing Part 3

Document examination expert witness Ronald N. Morris is a certified forensic document examiner and in this excerpt from Submitting a Handwriting Case for Examination, he writes on working with copies:

The best evidence for examination purposes is always the original document, but frequently only a photocopy is available. If it is necessary to examine a photocopy, the best copy for examination purposes is one made from the original document and not a copy of a copy.
Photocopies typically do not reveal all the evidence found on the original document or document being copied, i.e., significant quality and features of the writing, indentations, outlines, feather strokes, pen stops, alterations, etc. A photocopy can also contain artifacts not on the original. These artifacts may be dirt, dried white-out, or scratches on the glass. There may also be defects on the machine’s drum, or some other cause.
Fax documents, or copies of fax documents, are more problematic and many times are of little to no value for examination. Faxes or copies of faxes should only be submitted for examination purposes as a last resort. The value that any copy has for evaluation purposes is dependent on the quality of the copy, regardless of whether it is a photocopy or fax.

May 15, 2009

Chemistry Expert Witness On Patents Part 5

Chemistry expert witness Edward Funk, Ph. D., presented this short course to senior level chemical engineers on patents:

Fourth, the MOI should stand on its own for judgment. Some inventors include a section on the planned experiments to help define the invention. This often leads to the memo
receiving a low rating and held for the next patent committee meeting. The MOI should
be written when there is sufficient data or the concept is sufficiently complete for an
evaluation.

At most companies, a highly rated MOI has been carefully "lobbied" by the inventor.
This usually means assuring that the key technical people understand the invention, its
significance, and are willing to support it in the meeting. The same background works
well with people from the appropriate business unit. Initial contacts with the patent
attorney works best when the inventor has an established relation with the patent attorney.

May 14, 2009

Pharmacology Expert Witness & Eli Lilly Case

Eli Lilly & Co. won in a ruling to prevent a “critical” pharmacology expert witness from testifying on behalf of plaintiffs in cases involving the company’s Zyprexa drug. Bloomsberg.com reports:

U.S. District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein in Brooklyn, New York, said he will exclude the expert testimony of Dr. Stephen Hamburger. The doctor has offered testimony in some 20 individual Zyprexa cases, seven of which now have pending summary judgment motions before Weinstein, the judge said in a decision issued yesterday.

The Indianapolis-based drugmaker had moved to prevent Hamburger from testifying as an expert witness in the cases. Zyprexa is approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The plaintiffs claim Lilly urged doctors to prescribe Zyprexa for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

May 13, 2009

Chemistry Expert Witness On Patents Part 4

Chemistry expert witness Edward Funk, Ph. D., presented this short course to senior level chemical engineers on patents:

Now, a few things that should not be in the MOI.
First, the potential inventor should not express legal opinions concerning the potential
invention. Attorneys are superb at sternly warning that such opinions can come back to
haunt the inventor at a deposition or, more traumatically, on the witness stand.
Second, the MOI sho uld be written in technical language and not sprinkled with legal
language. The MOI should be written as a clear technical paper.
Third, the MOI should not contain proposed claims. Many inventors with some track
record have a tendency to do this. They kno w the difference between “comprise” and
“consist” and have some ideas concerning multiple dependent claims. In my opinion, it
very much annoys the patent attorney to see proposed claims.. This is his area of
expertise. You don’t write the prescriptions at the doctor’s office.

May 12, 2009

Document Examination Expert Witness On Questioned Writing Part 2

Document examination expert witness Ronald N. Morris is a certified forensic document examiner and in this excerpt from Submitting a Handwriting Case for Examination, he answers the question:

What is known, sample, or specimen writing?
Regardless of what it is called, this is the known and verifiable writing of an individual that is to be compared to the questioned writing to try and determine whether the writer of the known wrote the questioned writing. Known writing falls into one of the following categories:
a. Requested—Writing by an individual that is specifically written on request for comparison purposes and written while being witnessed. Writing in this category usually consist of material repeating the questioned writing and some containing the same letters and letter combinations while not exactly repeating the questioned writing.
b. Nonrequest or collected—This is writing usually done during the normal course of business, rarely witnessed, and not knowingly prepared for comparison purposes. Its authorship is frequently verified by its writer, and his acknowledgement is believed to be true and/or can be substantiated or confirmed by circumstances surrounding the writing’s preparation. It is important for comparison purposes that most of this writing repeats the questioned material or has the same letters and letter combinations as the questioned writing.

There is no single amount of submitted known writing that is correct in every case. The most important thing to remember is that the submitted writing should be naturally written and representative of the writers writing habits. As a general guideline, if the questioned writing is a signature, it is desirable to have about 30 to 50 sample signatures written around the time of the questioned signature. If the questioned writing is an extended writing such as a letter or note, it is desirable to have all of the questioned writing repeated at least 10 to 20 times. Special handwriting specimen forms and assistance in determining whether sufficient known writing is being submitted are available. Please contact the forensic document examiner (FDE).

May 11, 2009

Chemistry Expert Witness On Patents Part 3

Chemistry expert witness Edward Funk, Ph. D., presented this short course to senior level chemical engineers on patents:

Third, the MOI should include a reasonable summary of the prior art. This gives the
reviewers a warm feeling that the writer of the memo has some reasonable appreciation
concerning the novelty of the invention. In many cases, the inventor knows the prior art
quite well. Some arguments why the MOI isn’t obvious in light of the prior art can be
very helpful to a patent committee.

Fourth, the memo should have the correct administrative details such as references to lab
books and the names of the inventors. Including a colleague who did not contribute to the
invention raises a flag indicating possible future problems and undermines the credibility
of the MOI as a legal document. An easy reason to lower the priority; someone will need
to straighten out the inventors.

May 10, 2009

Child Abuse Expert Witnesses On Shaken Baby Syndrome

While there are many cases of child abuse each year, Shaken Baby Syndrome is a hot topic right now and child abuse experts are taking a second look at cases that put people in prison for shaking a baby. Some medical professionals and lawyers say there's just not enough known about Shaken Baby Syndrome to make convictions.

Audrey Edmunds was accused of shaking seven month old Natalie Beard on October 16, 1995. In 1996, Edmunds was sentenced to 18 years in prison. She always maintained her innocence. The expert witnesses in her case later said the child's symptoms could be linked to other causes. The Wisconsin District IV Court of Appeals granted Edmunds a new trial in March 2007, after she'd been incarcerated for ten years. Edmunds walked free in February of 2008 after a decade behind bars.
Excerpted from Komu.com.

May 9, 2009

Chemistry Expert Witness On Patents Part 2

Chemistry expert witness Edward Funk, Ph. D., presented this short course to senior level chemical engineers on patents:

There are some criteria for high-quality MOIs’.
First, is this something of current or potentially future business interest to the company?
An MOI can get a high rating if the invention appears to be something that could affect a
core business. A very small improvement in a large-scale process can be critical.

Second, the MOI should sell the invention. It should show how the invention improves
the technical state of the art. It is usually very persuasive when the MOI includes
unexpected effects. The classic example is the discovery of teflon; an experimental
problem led to production of a polymer that wasn’t just an annoying“goo” but had truly
unexpected properties. Most inventions are not "bolts out of the sky" of radically new
technology, but incremental discoveries that solve a problem known to the experts in the
field. Highlighting this solution is an important part of a good MOI. The MOI should
also include the three keys parts required in the PTO specification: (1) a clear written
description of the invention, (2) information to enable a reasonably astute colleague to
practice the invention and (3) the best mode of operation. While these may be
significantly revised in discussions with the patent attorney, they do provide a starting
point for the patent application.

May 8, 2009

Document Examination Expert Witness On Questioned Writing

Document examination expert witness Ronald N. Morris is a certified forensic document examiner and in this excerpt from Submitting a Handwriting Case for Examination, he answers the question:

What is questioned writing?

A questioned writing is any writing written by an unknown writer whose identity must be determined. The questioned writing may consist of a single or multiple signatures, numerals, cursive, or hand printing in the form of letters, forms, etc.
Questioned writing can have one or more of the following characteristics that will effect its suitability for comparison purposes:
a. Naturally written
b. Un-natural and/or disguised writing
c. Writing written in more than one style
d. Limited in quantity and quality
e. Written by one or more writers
f. A tracing or simulation of another’s writing

May 7, 2009

Chemistry Expert Witness On Patents Part 1

Chemistry expert witness Edward Funk, Ph. D., presented this short course to senior level chemical engineers on patents:

Scientists and engineers are taught to maintain laboratory notebooks as an important first step in the invention process. They know, but often don’t follow carefully, the rules of including a reasonable description of an experiment and the data, an idea with a diagram, or a possible new process or device. The lab book usually has some coffee stains that
give some authenticity. The book is signed by a colleague who usually signs about 100
pages with a single date. More on this later, but this is the beginning, even if somewhat
flawed, beginning of the invention process.

At a certain point, the scientist may decide to submit a "memo of invention" (MOI). This
is the basic request to have a patent application filed. The form of this is quite different
from company to company but the purpose is the same. Most companies have a patent
committee of technical people, and at times a patent attorney and business people, who
rate the MOI’s. Typically the rating is 1 to 5, with 5 being for important cases for
immediate attention. The rating of 1 usually means "no interest to the company"—release
to the inventor. Some MOIs are not rated for various political or technical reasons, and
are held for review at the next meeting.


May 6, 2009

Structural Engineering Expert Witness & Summit Structures Case

OSHA has inspected the Cowboys indoor practice facility that collapsed Saturday and has up to six months to conclude an investigation. Summit Structures LLC of Allentown, Pa., built the $4 million facility in 2003. A Pennsylvania court ruled in 2007 that Summit was negligent in the design and construction of a membrane-covered warehouse that collapsed when a major snowstorm struck Philadelphia in 2003.

The building was constructed for the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, which brought the lawsuit. In his ruling, Judge Allan Tereshko wrote that structure came down “under the weight of the (year’s) first significant snowfall.” Those conditions, Tereshko wrote, “would have been easily tolerated by the building had it been properly designed and constructed.” Pennsylvania-based structural engineering expert witness Charles Timbie testified that the reasons for the collapse included miscalculating how much snow the roof could hold and a failure to install the required number of “king pins.”

Excerpted from MySACowboys.com.

May 5, 2009

Illinois Bill Could Tighten Expert Witness Rules

Bills seeking to reform expert witness standards and prevent "venue shopping" will be heard today at a joint hearing of the Illinois General Assembly's Senate and House Judiciary Committees. The expert witness bill would align Illinois' expert witness qualifications with those used in the federal court systems. These rules are tighter than those the state currently applies.

Under the venue reform bill, plaintiffs would no longer be able to sue companies that do business in a county but who don't have an office there. If the bill passed out of committee as is and became law, plaintiffs would no longer be able to sue a company in Illinois unless at least one defendant has an office or headquarters in that county. "If we are going to attract new jobs and opportunities, then we need to make reforming our legal system a priority," said Travis Akin, executive director of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch. "It is time we put the brakes on out-of-state personal injury lawyers from targeting Illinois as a great place to file their junk lawsuits."

For more, see MadisonRecord.com.

May 4, 2009

Forensics Expert Witness On Military Evidence Kits

A military forensic expert witness testified at a recent court-martial that kits used by the military to collect evidence in sexual assault cases do not have enough equipment or the necessary paperwork for investigators. Furthermore, those using the kits might not be receiving the proper training, she said. Navy Cmdr. Lovett Robinson, senior sexual assault forensic examiner for the National Naval Medical Center, was called to testify as a sexual abuse expert witness at the recent court-martial of Sgt. Vince Jahalal.

During questioning from Jahalal’s defense attorney, Robinson testified that she believes the three pages of paperwork included in the kits don’t supply enough information on the evidence collected and circumstances surrounding the case.

May 3, 2009

Computer Expert Witness & Breathalyzer Code

viralMeme writes that the Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld the right of drunk-driving defendants to request the source code for the breathalyzer machines used as evidence against them, but only when the defendant provides sufficient arguments to suggest that a review of the code may have an impact on the case.

Defendant Timothy Brunner "submitted a memorandum and nine exhibits to support his request for the source code," which included testimony from a computer expert witness about the usefulness of source code in finding voting machine defects, and a report about a similar case in New Jersey where defects were found in the breathalyzer's source code. This was enough for the Supreme Court to acknowledge that an examination of the code could "relate to Brunner's guilt or innocence."

May 2, 2009

Hydrology Expert Witness On The Perfect Storm Part 3

In THE PERFECT STORM: The Science Behind Subrogating Catastrophic Flood Losses, hydrology expert witness Richard Van Bruggen writes on the 100-Year Storm versus the 100-Year Flood:

Two sets of terminologies which are confused more than any other involve confusing the 100-year storm with the 100-year flood. These are two distinct and different events. Floods are classified according to their frequency and depth. For instance, there are 10-year, 25-year, 50-year, 100-year, and 500-year floods. A 100-year flood occurs less frequently than a 10-year flood, but because it has a larger volume and greater depth of water, it has far more destructive power, causes more damage, and is a more serious threat to human safety. We do not necessarily get a 100-year flood from a 100-year rainfall. This is where man comes into play. God may send a 10-year rainfall, but it is man that transforms it into the 100-year flood. Whether or not a 100-year rainfall causes a 100-year flood depends on the “time of concentration,” of the watershed, which itself, depends on watershed size, runoff characteristics, and other geological conditions.

May 1, 2009

Addiction Expert On Triple Murder Case

An addiction expert witness testified Wednesday in Noblesville, IN, that Chad Cottrell was addicted to methamphetamine at the time he killed Trisha Cottrell, 29, and her two daughters from a previous marriage, Brittany Williams, 12, and Victoria “Tori” Williams, 10. Dr. Joseph Wu, an expert in PET scan brain imagining, said Cottrell’s brain showed signs of “abnormalities” in areas that normally regulate social behavior and “impulse” control.

Defense attorney Eric Koselke also called Robert Lee Smith, a psychology expert witness who testified that Cottrell showed signs of possible brain damage, paranoia, and suffered from a “borderline personality disorder.” “The combination of those factors led him not to be able to control his impulse” to commit the violent crimes, Smith said.

Excerpted from TribStar.com.