The Expert as Educator: Enhancing the Rationality of Verdicts in Child Sex Abuse Prosecutions

Ronald J Allen*, Joseph S. Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    The authors discuss the role of expert witnesses in the context of conventional understandings of trials at common law. Controversies surrounding the expert's role turn primarily on whether the expert should educate fact finders, as lay witnesses are required to do, or instead should provide conclusions to which the fact finder simply defers. The authors observe that the likelihood of irrational verdicts increases the more fact finders defer to experts and that experts become advocates often enough to make deference fertile ground for abuse. They conclude that the expert who educates better serves the justice system.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)323-338
    Number of pages16
    JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
    Volume1
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 1995

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Law

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