Friday, October 6, 2017
Brandon L. Garrett and Gregory Mitchell (University of Virginia School of Law and University of Virginia School of Law) have posted The Proficiency of Experts (University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 66, 2018) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Expert evidence plays a crucial role in civil and criminal litigation. Changes in the rules concerning expert admissibility, following the Supreme Court’s Daubert ruling, strengthened judicial review of the reliability and the validity of an expert’s methods. However, judges and scholars have neglected the threshold question for expert evidence: whether a person should be qualified as an expert in the first place. Judges traditionally focus on credentials or experience when qualifying experts without regard to whether those criteria are good proxies for true expertise. We argue that credentials and experience are often poor proxies for proficiency. Qualification of an expert presumes that the witness can perform in a particular domain with a proficiency that non-experts cannot achieve, yet many experts cannot provide empirical evidence that they do in fact perform at high levels of proficiency. To demonstrate the importance of proficiency data, we collect and analyze two decades of proficiency testing of latent fingerprint examiners.