Best federal lawyer Michael Leonard discusses examination of expert witnesses in federal criminal trials. In virtually every federal criminal trial, the government identifies and calls at trial one or more expert witnesses. These witnesses may provide testimony regarding anything from DNA evidence, to fingerprint evidence, shoe print analysis, gait (walk) evidence, and historical cell site analysis – just to name only a few. Rule 16 requires that any such expert witness be timely identified, pre-trial, and that a variety of information be disclosed and provided by the government, including, among other things, his/her qualifications, credentials, and experience; the bases for the opinions: the methodologies employed; the evidence and materials relied upon; and a disclosure regarding prior testimony. Accordingly, that disclosure often presents the basis for the filing of a pre-trial motion seeking to bar the opinions, in whole or part, or for a Daubert hearing, or for an evidentiary hearing, or to voir dire the witness prior to trial. Whether the government’s disclosure provides a basis for a motion should be carefully considered. Alternatively, defense counsel should also carefully consider whether NOT filing a pre-motion might be more strategically advantageous. In future posts, we will continue to address defense counsel’s approach to expert witnesses in federal criminal trials – both pre-trial and at trial by way of cross-examination. Clearly, federal criminal defense counsel should be well-versed and experienced in the myriad of issues that relate to the government’s disclosure and use of expert witnesses at trial. Leonard Trial Lawyers has decades of trial experience attacking and confronting expert witnesses in federal criminal jury trials.
Leonard Trial Lawyers
October 14, 2023