chapter  17
16 Pages

Written Reports and Court Testimony

ByWilliam J. Bodziak

In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences commission issued its report on forensic science and offered both criticism and recommendations to strengthen the practice of forensic science in the United States (US). In US and many countries, the duties of a forensic expert include being called to court to testify at a trial or hearing. This happens when prosecution or defense attorney wishes to offer the expert's opinion to the judge or jury in support of their case. Examiners should be aware that almost all jurors have no idea what is involved in most forensic comparisons, including comparison between shoes and crime scene impressions; thus, the approach to court testimony should be informative and always consider use of demonstrable exhibits. When called to testify, it is a prudent practice to have a pretrial meeting or telephonic discussion with the attorney in advance of the testimony. Requesting an expert to look at additional evidence just minutes prior to testimony occasionally happens.