Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Objection, Your Honor, He's Assisting the Trier of Fact!

New Jersey now permits questions from jurors, and alarm has broken out over how experts respond to them. The New Jersey Law Journal has more. (Tip to The Legal Reader.)

The concern, apparently, is that the experts may start to soliloquize, and that the adverse party might be put in the awkward position of objecting. But we're not sure how worried it's reasonable to be. In our experience, experts are prone to wander afield even when lawyers are asking the questions. And we're not very patient with the idea that a party's due process rights are affronted when the party's lawyer is required to raise objections. If we indulge the assumption that jurors are sufficiently fair-minded to be there in the first place, can the rules and the process not be explained to them, in a way they can be brought to accept?


Post a Comment

<< Home

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.