Volume 24, Issue 3 (July 1979)
Jury Preconceptions and Their Effect on Expert Scientific Testimony
When the forensic scientist testifies in court, both he and his testimony are usually evaluated by a group of people that has never seen him before and has little or no scientific background. These people, the jury, are exposed to the forensic scientist for only a relatively short time, during which they are privy to a strictly regulated question-and-answer conversation carried on between the scientist and the attorneys in the case. As a result of this exposure, the jurors must answer several important questions: 1. What did the expert say? 2. What is the significance of the expert's testimony? 3. Is the expert competent? 4. Is the expert honest?