January 21, 2008
The Art of Judging Science
from sciencenews.org: From Perry Mason to Law & Order, legal dramas have proved among the most predictably popular series on American television. In such shows, a defendant's guilt or innocence typically comes to light only after expert witnesses testify before a jury, justifying—or challenging—theories about how a defendant could have perpetrated the crime.
Much of what people know—or think they know—about U.S. jurisprudence traces to such shows about criminal cases. What few nonlawyers realize is that these shows aren't especially good models of cases involving torts-noncriminal suits where plaintiffs claim harm from a company's products or activities. In these cases, judges frequently bar from the courtroom at least some scientific experts and the data on which they might have testified. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
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