Judges in Robes … and Lab Coats

November 16, 2010 | CUNY Lecture Series, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

For more than 70 years the court opinion in Frye v. United States set the standard for scientific evidence: It would be admissible in court if it was based on science generally accepted as reliable in the scientific community. But in 1993, a landmark decision by the Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, ruled the decision on scientific evidence would rest with the trial judge. In a lecture entitled, “Judge and Jury: Psychology in the Courtroom,” part of the Serving Science Cafe Series, Margaret Bull-Kovera argues that the Daubert ruling was too broad and judges are ill-suited gatekeepers of admissible scientific expert testimony. “Guess how many judges have training in science?” asks Bull-Kovera, professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminial Justice. The answer: “Not many.”
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