A jury requires the involvement of both expert witnesses and trial consultants to facilitate the smooth running of court proceedings. An expert witness gives a professional opinion on a given subject that needs evidence in addition to those provided by other testifiers. They participate in the provision of facts due to their education, training, and experience on the matter of concern. Their information is highly believable, it is something that impacts the decision-making capacity of jurors. Judges are likely to reach verdicts basing on their data. As a result, expert witnesses can influence the direction of any judgment in a court of law. However, juries face enormous challenges in cases that involve experts for both the prosecution and the defense. Moreover, trial consultants help jurors in determining potential biases in trial proceedings. In addition, they play a significant role in improving the validity of procedure selection through sharing the information regarding voir dire techniques. Furthermore, they relieve stress among jurors and reword their instructions to promote comprehension. Finally, they enhance informed decision-making in courts through research and empirically supported legal information.
The court system is tasked with the work of hearing and reaching verdicts on particular cases. The jury may involve expert witnesses and trial consultants to aid in some affairs that can facilitate decision-making. An expert witness gives an opinion concerning the matter tabled before a court of law by virtue of his or her training, education, experience, and certification in the field of the issue under discussion. In most cases, judges consider the evidence from these witnesses because they are regarded to have increased validity. However, their testimony can also be rebutted if its credibility and admissibility are questionable. On the other hand, jury consultants have a rich base of knowledge and experience in sociology, psychology, or law. In most cases, they help in witness preparation, improvement of rhetoric and arguments and jury selection. The use of trial consultants and expert witnesses attracted criticism because of their impacts on jurors concerning decision making and forming judgments. According to Cramer, Brodsky, & DeCoster, many scholars have leveled irrevocable disapproval of the influence of expert witnesses on court cases. This essay aims at discussing the role and impact of trial consultants and expert witnesses on juries.
Expert witnesses play a leading role in the provision of evidence during the court hearing process. They are reliable concerning opinions on occurrences and the validity of information, which the court receives from other witnesses. For instance, in the presence of an injury that the defendant suffered from because of being beaten, the expert witness can be summoned to the court to ascertain whether the damage is real or it is just a false testimony. Parrott et al. reiterate that a judge can sometimes be compelled to call an expert witness to evaluate the truth of particular data to provide the court with factual knowledge before making the informed judgment. The results from such a witness are then compared to those of other testifiers from both the prosecution and the defense before making a decision regarding the issue under discussion.
Moreover, expert witnesses give the jury a hard time in some cases. For instance, the prosecution and the defense may decide to make use of expert witnesses in advancing the stances. It is the duty of the judge to decide whose evidence is factual before passing a judgment. Typically, the relationship of the expert with either the defendant or the prosecutor is considered before a decision can be reached. In the US, the use of these experts is criticized since they are mostly utilized in civil trials by both sides in advocating for differing positions, making it complicated for the jury to determine the side that provides reliable and credible evidence . These experts may also stand to the law if they get involved in giving the false information. An example is the 2011 case of Jones v Kaney in which the court failed to favor the experts side because of biases in reporting the facts. Therefore, this case showed that professional experts are not immune to their actions when they provide unreliable data. If the witness presents negligent evidence, he or she can be sued.
Furthermore, expert witnesses substantially impact the decisions of juries. Cramer, Brodsky, and DeCoster found that they commonly testify cases that involve sentencing of capital murder cases. Thus, this has resulted in a close association between juror recommendations for sentencing and expert witness testimonies. Before the execution of any judgment, jurors strongly consider the opinion of the experts in many cases such as those that need to show the causes of violence by the defendant or the likelihood that the accused may repeat the disruptive behavior in future. For instance, a medical expert witness can help the jurors know the mental health status of the accused in case of murder. The awareness of the mental state can assist the court in discovering whether the defendant engaged himself in such a crime because of the health status or the involvement was intentional. Hence,these facts are crucial in passing and execution of judgment. Notwithstanding, information from experts is more believable than that from other witnesses. In their research, Cramer, Brodsky, and DeCoster found that expert witnesses are rated as the most credible. Consequently, their influence on the decision of jurors is irrevocable.
Trial consulting refers to the utilization of scientists from the social field including psychologists in aiding juries and attorneys to present a civil lawsuit or a criminal trial. Trial consultants play a critical role in the success of juries before and during court proceedings, including making judgments. According to Bartol and Bartol, the primary purpose of involving a jury consultant is to aid in uncovering any hidden bias that can emanate from potential jurors. Before the onset of any given case, lawyers may face serious challenges in trying to imagine some of the questioned issues about the court case. The consultant can assist an individual lawyer or help to choose the necessary criteria for the perfect jury selection, determine any prejudices that can emerge, and be useful to the jurors adequate preparation when they wait for the opening of the case.
Furthermore, they have an enormous positive impact on the work of juries. During the trial, jurors have a hard time in maintaining the smoothness of the hearing process, that can cause an immense stress. It is the responsibility of the trial consultants to provide therapeutic jurisprudence by ensuring the jurors to receive assistance and fair treatment when dealing with emotional stressors. Such a task may be facilitated through the improvement of comprehension of instructions channeled by the court judges. For instance, they can interact with both judges and attorneys during the trial process and reword the jury instructions so that the layman can understand everything. The involvement of these consultants into this matter is an important thing not only for the jurors but also for the prosecution and the defense.
Moreover, trial consultants are essential in the provision of valuable facts for jurors. Bartol and Bartol explain that they aid in improving the validity of selection of procedures by the jury through information sharing with judges concerning the voir dire techniques for the honest and open discussions as well as promoting the discovery of prejudiced jurors. Juries solely depend on the work of the trial consultants who help to receive vital data that can influence decision-making. The reason is that they enhance legal reforms that receive empirical support. Besides, this role comes from the fact that jury consultants are in the sole position of conducting research, which is useful in assisting jurisdictions. They serve the function of investigators for the courts, who impact the practice of juries.
Both the expert witnesses and trial consultants play a critical role that influences the juries. Experts provide factual information that helps judges to reach verdicts in trials in addition to the evidence received from other witnesses. Furthermore, they determine decision making among the judges because their information is highly believable. However, judges have a hard time in passing judgments when services of experts are used by both the prosecution and the defense. Moreover, trial consultants help in both witness preparation and jury selection among many other functions. They also enhance stress relief among the jurors as well as promote comprehension of their instructions. Finally, trial consultants complement research activities for courts, which provide with necessary data for decision making of the jury.