Thursday, August 07, 2003

Another Attorney Expert Witness Rebuffed

In United States v. Henry, No. 01-6607 (6th Cir. July 30, 2003) (unpublished), the Sixth Circuit has affirmed the trial court's exclusion of testimony from an experienced Criminal Justice Act attorney, who would have commented on the sentencing benefits that the prosecution's cooperating witnesses could expect to enjoy in exchange for their testimony. The Sixth Circuit concluded that the average juror could understand the testimonial incentives without the need for expert assistance. This continues the millennium's unbroken record of failure, by attorney witnesses, to render an admissible expert opinion in any federal case reaching the appellate level.
Fed. R. Evid. 702: If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.