Expert Testimony In Sex Crime Cases

Why role does the expert witness play in a criminal sexual conduct trial?

A trial team needs experts who know and can explain the essential peer-reviewed, scientific treatises in each content area. The team must pick experts who not only know their stuff, but who "fit" the dynamics and dramatics of the trial plan.

Expert testimony may bolster or impeach a witness's credibility by addressing the witness's perception or memory as it would affect the accuracy of the witness's testimony. In addition, expert testimony may explain how the witness may be influenced by a cognitive predisposition for or against a particular party due to a witness's bias or self-interest. Expert witnesses are also called on to explain the behavior of witnesses to help juries understand the significance of a pattern of behavior.

Can expert testimony help with your credibility?

Expert testimony is also used to help fact finders evaluate a defendant's challenge to the credibility of their own confession. Jurors often have difficulty understanding that a suspect would confess to a crime they did not commit. Expert testimony in this area of credibility determination is used to explain the circumstances and personal characteristics that generate false confessions. Even though the common-law protection of the jury's special province has made courts reluctant to admit such testimony, its value has now been recognized.