Date of Award
Capstone - Open Access
Professor St. Louis
During a court proceeding, attorneys will oftentimes bring up evidence related to their case. Since attorneys are usually not an expert in the field of evidence that they are discussing, they will bring in an expert witness. Expert witnesses are asked “. . . to testify in court when complex or specialized knowledge, beyond that of the lay person, is needed to interpret the evidence” (Wilcox & NicDaeid, 2018, p. 100). Forensic expert witnesses and their testimony, especially, are becoming increasingly important regarding accuracy and delivery. It’s been found that juries tend to rely heavily on forensic evidence when reaching their verdict and that they value forensic testimony such as DNA and trace evidence over non-forensic evidence such as eyewitness statements (Eastwood & Caldwell, 2015). With forensic testimonies having a potentially large impact on the outcome of a case, one would think that there would be a certification required for these experts to give testimonies, but there is not. If a baseline certification were to be made for expert witnesses, then it would ensure that only the most credible and knowledgeable individuals would be able to make these life-altering testimonies. It has been found that many aspects of an expert’s testimony can change the juror’s views of the evidence presented, from the expert’s experience to how they verbalize their testimony (Eastwood & Caldwell, 2015). I propose that there should be a mandated certification for expert witnesses to testify in court, and I subsequently propose a graduate level class for Merrimack College Students which will aid them in completing this certification.
Caron, Charolette, "To Certify or Not to Certify? A Proposed Graduate Course and Universal Certification for Forensic Expert Witnesses" (2022). Criminology Student Work. 44.