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Role of Expert Witness

Role of Expert Witness

An expert witness or professional witness is an individual who testifies in a court case. The witness is classified as an 'expert' because the individual possesses a specialized knowledge that pertains to the particular subject matter involved in the case.
 
 
The expert witness, by virtue of experience, educations, training, or skill will display an acute knowledge of a particular field or subject that pertains to the court case. As a result of this knowledge, the court will value the expert witness's opinion more sufficiently; the knowledge that these individuals possess is considered 'special' and more exacting than the average citizen. 
 
 
The court system, and those involved with the underlying case will legally rely upon the expert witness's specialized knowledge to offer an opinion in regards to the evidence or facts within the court case. The expert opinion will be used an assistance to deliver factual evidence which expedites and elucidates the verdict.

Purpose of a Witness Testimony

 Purpose of a Witness Testimony

The testimony of a witness is the information and answers to questions given by a witness to the court as a whole. Testimony is considered to be a form of evidence, just as physical objects are considered to be evidence. Testimony thus depends upon the fact that the witness who is giving his or her own testimony has sworn to the testimony’s accuracy and truthfulness. 
Testimony is not restricted to being oral testimony, as it can be written testimony, as well. Testimony is also meant to be statements of fact, of actual occurrences, as opposed to statements of opinion or assumptions on the part of the witness, except for certain circumstances such as the testimony of expert witnesses. Giving false testimony is considered a serious crime, particularly because any witness giving testimony is sworn under oath prior to giving that testimony, and as such, a witness giving false testimony would be committing the crime of perjury.
Testimony given by a witness is a similar, but separate idea from testimonials. “Testimonial” is obviously a similar word to testimony, but a testimonial is general the word used with reference to marketing “testimony,” in which some party is giving an affirmation of the properties of a particular product, or its overall quality. Testimonials are thus often included in marketing campaigns and advertisements in order to provide evidence of the product’s worth.
 One of the important differences between testimonials and legal testimony, however, is that testimonials are almost always statements of opinion, and are not made under oath, meaning that an individual giving a testimonial is in general less accountable to that testimonial.

An Overview of Witnesses

An Overview of Witnesses

A witness, in legal terms, is considered to be an individual who was present when a crime was committed, and can thus provide firsthand testimony describing the crime in some fashion and thereby proving that it occurred. There are some exceptions to this, as there are some specialized kinds of witnesses who might not have firsthand knowledge of a crime, but the vast majority of witnesses fall under this definition. The kind of experience which a witness is assumed to have with regard to the committing of a crime is sensational experience, meaning that it must be directly linked to one of the five senses. This ensures that the witness’s experience is direct, as opposed to secondhand, as the witness must have seen, or heard, or touched, or otherwise directly experienced the evidence for the crime in some fashion, in order to be considered a witness.

 

Witnesses can be called up by either side in a trial, the prosecution or the defense. Obviously, witnesses called up by the prosecution are much more likely to provide evidence proving that the defendant did commit the crime, whereas witnesses called up by the defense are more likely to provide evidence that the defendant did not commit the crime. This is just a function of both sides of the trial creating a list of witnesses which serves its purposes within the trial. In general, there are many arguments against the validity of eye-witness testimony, as a witness can easily misremember what actually happened, as has been shown time and again through scientific studies.


Using an Expert Witness

Using an Expert Witness

An expert witness is a specialized kind of witness. Whereas most witnesses are meant to provide firsthand testimony regarding a crime, expert witnesses are called to testify in a court instead to provide some form of important information based off their own unique and specialized knowledge. Expert witnesses must always be qualified in some way to provide this information, though such qualification can come from a variety of different sources, including training, education, and professional experience.
Expert witnesses might also come from any of a number of different backgrounds and areas, as the testimony provided by an expert witness will only matter in context of the overall argument being made by one side of the trial. In some trials, for instance, an expert witness might be called to testify to provide information with regards to a particular piece of equipment which might be involved in the trial, whereas in other trials, an expert witness might be called to testify to provide an objective third party understanding of the extent of an injury. These are just examples of the many possible functions for which one side of the trial might call expert witnesses.
Expert witnesses are sometimes criticized by those analysts of court procedures, as expert witnesses, despite theoretically having to conform to a high level of standards and honesty with regard to their expert testimony, will often take advantage of their status as expert witnesses to provide explanations and accountings which are not actually accurate. If both sides in a trial call an expert witness, as well, it will be left to the jury to decide which expert witness to believe, which is considered to be a non-ideal situation.

Finding an Expert Witness from a Directory

Finding an Expert Witness from a Directory

Many websites offer an expert witness directory for the use of those who are looking to find an expert witness to help support their court cases. An expert witness directory might include many experts, separated according to the topic on which they are expert, including computer experts, automotive experts, document examination experts, medical experts, investigative experts, and more. An expert witness directory is thus a valuable tool, particularly in the case of civil trials, when an individual may be able to sway the jury to his or her side of the case with expert witness testimony.
 
 
An expert witness directory is not generally of great value in a criminal trial, as the lawyers involved in either side of the criminal trial will likely have access to a list of individuals who can provide expert witness testimony that they might have accumulated throughout their careers, and they will be certain to know and have vetted the individuals giving expert witness testimony before bringing them into trial, instead of just finding them on an expert witness directory and using them straight from there.
 
 
In general, any expert contacted from an expert witness directory should at least be research somewhat more, separately from the expert witness directory. This is simply to ensure that expert witness testimony taken from an expert from an expert witness directory will be accurate and useful for the case as a whole, and cannot easily be overturned by proving the lack of expertise of the person in question.
 

Witness For The Prosecution

Witness For The Prosecution

A witness for the prosecution is a witness who is brought into the court in order to provide testimony which supports the prosecution’s overall case. A witness for the prosecution, thus, would likely provide testimony affirming that the defendant did whatever action he or she is being put on trial for, for example, or otherwise would produce some form of statement which helps to push the jury in favor of the prosecution’s argument. 
Because a witness for the prosecution will often be providing testimony which is ultimately critical to the prosecution’s overall case, the prosecution will likely help to establish a witness statement for a witness for the prosecution. Such a witness statement would function as a summary of the facts and evidence which the witness is going to provide in testimony. 
Sometimes, a witness statement may actually be all that is necessary for the witness’s evidence to be entered into the trial, as a full out questioning of the witness for the prosecution may be deemed unnecessary in light of the witness statement. In general, however, a witness statement is less often used within the courts of the United States of America, as the deposition and questioning process is much more often used.
The defense of a trial would focus on discrediting, in some fashion, any important witness for the prosecution, in order to take the weight off the testimony given by such a witness for the prosecution. For example, the defense would attempt to prove that it is possible that a witness for the prosecution did not see the things which he or she believes that he or she saw, in order to disprove the testimony of the witness for the prosecution, and thus add to the defense’s overall case.

Forensic Expert Witness Role

Forensic Expert Witness Role

A forensic expert witness is a type of expert witness who would provide expert forensic testimony within a trial. Forensic expert testimony would be testimony grounded within and concerning the field of forensic science, which, in turn, is a branch of science which is specifically designed to assist with answering important questions that might arise within a given trial. 
A forensic expert witness thus might be a specialist in any of a number of fields of forensic science, including forensic anthropology, forensic archaeology, forensic chemistry, forensic dactyloscopy, and forensic computer science. The expert testimony of a forensic expert witness would be meant to provide an analysis of particular pieces of evidence and information which would then support the argument of the side which brought in the forensic expert witness. 
Thus, the expert testimony of a forensic expert witness might be differentiated from the expert testimony of another type of expert by the fact that the forensic expert witness would likely be providing expert testimony directly on evidence from the case in question, whereas an expert witness providing expert testimony might provide more generalized expert testimony concerning a question which might be significant to the case in question, but without commenting directly upon evidence of the current case.
A commonly known form of forensic expert witness is a scientist who performed an examination of a human skeleton so as to provide important evidence for a criminal trial. This scientist would then be called as a forensic expert witness to provide expert testimony regarding the skeleton.