CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ridley on Police Officers as Gang Sociology Experts

Magdalena Ridley has posted Down by Law: Police Officers as Gang Sociology Experts (Criminal Law Bulletin, Vol. 52, Issue 4, 2016, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Are police officers experts in sociology? In California gang trials, they are. Their opinion testimony, as experts in gang sociology, is the only context in California criminal trials in which sociological expert testimony is frequently admitted into evidence. This comment analyzes the commonplace admission of police officer expert testimony in criminal gang trials, and finds several violations of the California Evidence Code. It argues that police officers are not qualified to offer sociological opinions, their methods are unreliable, and their testimony serves as a vehicle to place prejudicial and otherwise inadmissible evidence before the jury.

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