Staying Within Ethical Boundaries
For this assignment, you will prepare for a direct examination in courtroom testimony. In the direct examination, your credentials and background are reviewed to demonstrate to the court that you are qualified as an expert in the matter at hand. How you were brought into the case, the methodology you brought to bear on the psycho-legal issues, and your overall findings are all typical topics minimally covered in the direct examination.
The direct examination poses a challenge for the expert and the attorney who hired the expert. The bases for the expert’s opinion must be brought forth in a way that satisfies the rules of evidence and that is sensible to judge or jury. At the same time, since the later cross-examination is typically limited to issues raised in direct examination, more is not better, since it provides greater cross-examination opportunity. Striking a balance is typically orchestrated by the attorney but requires strong communication between attorney and the expert.
Complete the following parts of this assignment.
Part 1: Training, Credentials and Expertise
Provide answers for each of the following 10 questions:
- Occupation, title, position?
- Place of employment?
- Duties and function of current position?
- Academic degrees (where and when obtained)?
- Licensing in field and in which state (or states)?
- Length of time licensed?
- Length of time practicing in this field?
- Number of these types of examinations you have conducted? When and where were they conducted?
- Number of times you have testified as an expert witness in this field?
AND your choice of three of the following:
- Board certified as a specialist in this field? Length of time certified as a specialist?
- Positions held since completion of formal education, and length of time in each position?
- Teaching or lecturing by you in your field? When and where did you teach?
- Publications by you in this field and publication titles?
- Membership in professional societies, associations, and organizations, and special positions in them? Requirements for membership and advancement within each organization?
- Honors, acknowledgments, and awards received by you in your field?
Note: You should answer a total of 13 questions for this part of the assignment.
Part 2: Methodology, Findings, and Opinions
Address the following questions that will be asked by the attorney who retained you based upon your forensic report:
- Doctor, please describe the evaluation you conducted. That is, what were you asked to do?
- What information did you obtain as part of your evaluation? Describe your methodology.
- Were you able to render an opinion? What was your opinion? Please explain your opinion and how you arrived at it.
- Did you render a diagnosis? Can you explain that for the court?
- Did you administer any psychological testing? What were your findings? Why did you choose this test (or these tests)?
Part 3: Testimony Effectiveness
After addressing each of the questions asked above, consider your approach to answering those questions. Evaluate the strengths and weakness of your testimony. Consider the following:
- Your training and experience.
- Your approach to staying within ethical boundaries regarding the ultimate issue when offering your psycho-legal opinion. What are the factors to consider?