What is scientific evidence? According to Black's Law Dictionary, scientific evidence is "fact or opinion evidence that purports to draw on specialized knowledge of a science or to rely on scientific principles for its evidentiary value". Evidence, Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014).
Because scientific evidence is beyond the realm of judges’ and jurors’ everyday experiences, the prosecution and defense use expert witnesses to introduce scientific evidence at trial. The Daubert Test is a method that federal district courts use to determine whether expert testimony is admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 702, which generally requires that expert testimony consist of scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge that will assist the fact-finder in understanding the evidence or determining a fact in issue. See Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S.Ct. 2786 (1993).
During a pretrial Daubert hearing, a court will review the evidence outside the jury's presence. The proponent must show that the expert's underlying reasoning or methodology, and its application to the facts, are scientifically valid. In ruling on admissibility, the court considers the following factors:
Use this guide as a tool for locating the following:
Reference Sources - links to catalog records of various forensic encyclopedias and scientific dictionaries
Treatises - links to catalog records for books on scientific evidence and forensics; also links to publications available through Westlaw, Lexis Advance, and Bloomberg
Databases - links to databases containing scientific, social science, and legal scholarly articles as well as statistics databases
Case Law - links to sources for locating case law on scientific evidence topics
Drafting Litigation Documents - links to sources of practice notes, litigation document templates and examples