Criminology Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Wrongful Death Action

Summary: Criminology Expert Witness testimony allowed by the court as other courts have allowed the expert to provide testimony on his area of topic.

Facts:  This case (Surface et al v. Conklin et al – United States District Court – Southern District of Ohio – November 30th, 2018) involves a civil right claim.  The plaintiff’s allege that the defendants were liable for the shooting death of their twenty-three ear old son.  The plaintiff’s assert federal claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for excessive force, and state claims for wrongful death, assault and battery, and infliction of emotional distress.  The plaintiffs hired R. Paul McCauley (Criminology Expert Witness) to provide testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion:  The defendant argues that McCauley’s testimony should not be allowed because 1) his opinions are not relevant because they are related to dismissed parties in this case; 2) he does not have first-hand experience on the use of force; and 3) one of his opinions is based on assumptions that are contradicted by evidence and testimony.

The defendant argues that McCualey is unqualified as a non-scientific expert as he does not have the background as a beat cop nor did he work on the ground as a cop for any meaningful amount of time.  The defendant also alleges that McCauley should be excluded from testifying about the defendant’s actions as a beat cop and his use of force against the plaintiff.

The court opines that the parties are not in dispute that McCauley is qualified to opine about police procedures and policies, but that the defendant alleges that McCauley does not have a background as a beat cop or working on the ground as a cop.  Thus, the defendant argues that McCauley’s opinions regarding use of force should be excluded.  In addition, the plaintiff states that the defendant did not mention that MCauley was a patrol officer in Pennsylvania in the 1960s.

The court opines that in a review of case-law, other courts have found McCauley to be qualified to opine about claims of excessive force.  In addition, the court opines that McCauley has impressive credentials in police policies, procedures, and tactics.  Thus, the court opines that McCualey is qualified to opine on the use of force in this case and that the defendant will have opportunities to challenge McCaualey’s credentials and methodology during cross-examination.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the opinion of criminology expert witness R. Paul McCauley is denied.