In Voir Dire Of Scientific Opinion At Trial: Attacking The Expert Witness, Before He’s Declared An Expert, attorney Anthony Colleluori writes on what he calls “the lack of attack on prosecution experts” in criminal trials that involve IME expert witnesses and police personnel. Here he writes on what he looks for in a testimonial expert.
In seeking a testimonial expert, I am seeking a person who is scholarly and intelligent. I want a person who is recognized in the field as the best of the best. Not always easy on an assigned counsel basis but possible.
Remember, to get this witness qualified you are going to need:
1. Educational/academic degrees 2. a present position in the field, or recognition within the field.
3. Board Certification 4. Publication 5. Peer review of research 6. A lengthy career 7. Teaching/Lecturing within the field to other experts or at least to beginners.
8. Professional Associations and time within them.
9. Positions held in these associations.
10. Awards and honors achieved within the field and with in any sub-specialty.
11. Available and testifies for all sides not just one or the other. (This is to be able to make the argument that he is not some hired gun but that his testimony is consistent and he will help whoever is right, as opposed to the Prosecutor’s “paid parakeet who will repeat anything the Prosecutor says like his livelihood depends on it… because it does…” (You get the idea.)
Assuming that the expert has some, if not all of these qualifications and more, I then look to the intangible aspects that make for a good witness. Testimonial experts are best if they can relate information to a jury without “speaking down” to them. Juror’s know the expert is smart, at least smart about something. Hence the expert should not speak to jurors as if they were freshmen in an advanced organic chemistry class, nor should he speak so “high falutantly” that no one but a Nobel Prize Laureate understands him.
Excerpted from Long Island (Criminal) Trial Law.