It’s no secret that Illinois criminal cases hinge on evidence. In many cases, the prosecution’s case hangs on the testimony of expert witnesses. Unfortunately, expert witnesses are not always reliable. In fact, they can make unexpected mistakes that can have a negative impact on criminal cases.
What kind of mistakes do expert witnesses make?
One of the most common mistakes is providing testimony that is not based on facts. Expert witnesses sometimes provide their opinions without any factual basis. This is particularly common when criminal defense attorneys do not have the knowledge or resources to question their testimony.
Another common mistake is trying to interpret data that they are not qualified to interpret. For example, a criminalist may attempt to interpret DNA results without any credentials in biology or genetics, or an accident reconstruction expert might provide false information about the mechanics of how a car accident occurred.
It’s also not uncommon to see expert witnesses giving biased testimonies. This can happen when the expert has a personal or financial interest in the outcome of the case.
Inattention blindness is another issue that can plague expert witnesses. This is when experts focus so much on the details of their area of expertise that they fail to see the big picture. For instance, criminalists may focus on DNA results and forget to examine other data that could influence the case.
Dealing with expert witnesses
Although criminal defense attorneys cannot prevent expert witnesses from making mistakes, they can take proactive steps to minimize the risk of false allegations. One way criminal defense attorneys protect their clients is by ensuring that all evidence presented in court has been thoroughly examined and scrutinized.
Criminal defense attorneys also prepare for criminal cases by researching the backgrounds of experts who are expected to testify. By doing this, criminal defense attorneys can challenge the qualifications of expert witnesses and question their motives.
These are just a few examples of the many ways that expert witnesses can harm criminal cases. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, it is important to understand the process and issues associated with criminal cases that could negatively impact your defense.