The Daubert Standard

Court Acceptance of Expert Testimony

In Daubert and later cases2, the Court explained that the federal standard includes general acceptance, but also looks at the science and its application. Trial judges are the final arbiter or “gatekeeper” on admissibility of evidence and acceptance of a witness as an expert within their own courtrooms.

In deciding if the science and the expert in question should be permitted, the judge should consider:

The Daubert Court also observed that concerns over shaky evidence could be handled through vigorous cross-examination, presentation of contrary evidence and careful instruction on the burden of proof.

In many states, scientific expert testimony is now subject to this Daubert standard. But some states still use a modification of the Frye standard.

2 The “Daubert Trilogy” of cases is: Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, General Electric Co. v. Joiner and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael.

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