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The Federal Rules of Evidence in Litigation Essay

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Updated: Feb 17th, 2021

Section 1: Research

The term ‘Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE)’ refers to a code of evidence law that is used to govern the admissibility of facts provided by parties to legal cases in the US Federal Court System. They are applicable to prove the parties’ evidence in both criminal and civil cases. Article VII 2 of FRE (rule 702) is relevant to testimony by expert witnesses. It argues that an individual witness with qualifications based on expert knowledge, experience, training, skills, and education may testify by providing expert opinion (Faigman, 2002).

The Frye standard is a test used to determine whether scientific evidence is admissible in a court of law in the US. It originates from the case Frye v. the US, 293 F. 1013 (D. C Cir. 1923), in which the admissibility of a polygraph test as legal evidence was discussed (Rice & Delker, 2000).

Justices that dissented in the Daubert case were Justice Rehnquist and Hon. Justice Stevens

A fact is something that has already occurred (it is the real case). A question of fact needs answers in form of evidence or inferences from the evidence. On the other hand, a law is a rule that has already been set and is generally accepted. A question of law needs a statute, policy, or precedent.

Personal knowledge comprises such aspects as ‘what a person knows’ through the application of the five human senses. Hearsay is a fact or a testimony based on information obtained from secondary sources such as reading or word of mouth. An opinion is a form of personal knowledge that is rationally grounded on facts.

Expert testimony refers to a testimony where an individual with personal knowledge relevant to the topic at hand gives the argument to a legal question. Lay testimony is the testimony given by an individual without personal knowledge, training, or skill relevant to the topic at hand.

An expert witness requires specialized skills such as scientific and technical expertise. The rule of the test is to determine whether the expertise will produce evidence to help the court understand the issue at hand or make decisions. In computer and digital technology, the expert witness must have foundation knowledge and skills in computer forensics, including BIOS, Linux, Mac OS, and Windows.

Section 2: Summary of Daubert case

Facts: The plaintiffs were Daubert and two other minors with defects in their limbs. It was alleged that during pregnancy, their mothers had used drugs from Merrel Dow Inc. According to their experts, the drugs had an impact on causing bone deformities, as suggested by studies with laboratory animals. However, most scientific studies and literature failed to agree with this argument.

Issue: The legal issue was to determine whether the scientific testimony presented by the plaintiff’s experts is admissible.

Rule: The court held that the plaintiff’s expert testimony on the drug effects on animals and humans was not admissible (Solomon & Hackett, 1996).

Application: The court applied the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE) and the Frye Standard (general acceptance test) to determine the admissibility of the expert evidence.

Section 3: The Neo v. State case

Argument

In my opinion, a PI license is not needed in this case because I am qualified to be a witness, regardless of the license. My expertise is needed and relevant in this case because no single rule excludes me from the process. As indicated in Rule 702 of the FRE, my expert is scientific and technical and is specialized. My expert and information that I will provide will necessarily help this court to understand the evidence and make the due ruling. Also, my testimony is based on scientific facts, data, and results from reliable methods. Also, under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, my testimony is relevant to this case because it rests on a reliable foundation as indicated under Rule 104(a).

References

Faigman, D. L. (2002). Is Science Different for Lawyers?. Science 297 (5580), 339–340.

Rice, R., & Delker, N. W. (2000). Federal Rules of Evidence Advisory Committee: A Short History of Too Little Consequence. Federal Rules Decisions 191(2), 678.

Solomon, S. M., & Hackett, E. J. (1996). Setting Boundaries between Science and Law: Lessons from Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Science, Technology & Human Values 21 (2), 131–15.

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IvyPanda. (2021, February 17). The Federal Rules of Evidence in Litigation. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-federal-rules-of-evidence-in-litigation/

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IvyPanda. "The Federal Rules of Evidence in Litigation." February 17, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-federal-rules-of-evidence-in-litigation/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "The Federal Rules of Evidence in Litigation." February 17, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-federal-rules-of-evidence-in-litigation/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Federal Rules of Evidence in Litigation'. 17 February.

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