Feedback Needed: Advanced Topics in Courtroom Testimony

So like many of you, I am in the process of putting together my abstracts for IAFN, but I could use some input here. I’m trying to identify content that people think is advanced when it comes to courtroom testimony. I’ll probably always submit content around the basics, but I really struggle with what a truly advanced session looks like (and how to implement it in an interactive way). I know what *I* think is advanced, but that may not resonate with everyone. In the interest of trying to meet the needs of the field, my smarty-pants wife suggested I crowdsource this dilemma. A fine idea–please share your thoughts in the comments, or via Twitter or email.  And don’t be surprised if I reach out to some of you about your ideas–I may need to tap into the collective brain trust to get this one on point.


6 replies on “Feedback Needed: Advanced Topics in Courtroom Testimony”

I would like to hear more on military trials and the differences between a military trial and civilian.

I think basic is how to prepare to be a fact witness, how do deposition and trial testimonies differ, tips and tricks for preparing. I think advanced is how to prepare for trial as an expert, what can an “expert” look like, tips and tricks for preparing to testify as an expert, what are the pitfalls and challenges of testifying.

We have been utilized more frequently as experts in our county and from an “advanced” perspective there are some learning curves I’ve faced: writing the expert report, locating the research (you know research doesn’t always provide the exact information you need), being asked to interpret research you haven’t seen. There are also some lessons I’ve learned from defense questions and statements. Don’t know if I’m space limited here so if you need more details let me know!

Daubert challenges, how to testify if you find errors in your report (when reviewing for trial), understanding trial delays & being prepared if your testimony was delayed, how to avoid addressing parts of your report if portions of it are kept out, helping the attorney formulate questions that will (hopefully) allow the history to be admitted

I think it would be helpful to discuss some tips on how and when to present research. I find that in our state experts are rarely offered the opportunity to present research during testimony. Also, how clinicians should be practicing to validate their expertise (i.e. peer review, QI/QA, etc.) And any other tips on how to present what is discovered in peer review, especially as it pertains to pre-pubescent patients.

In my paradigm ADVANCED is more a level of thinking driven by knowledge and experience. It is exhibited thru a combination of critical thinking, intuitive extrapolation of factual information and the synthesis of those with available research which can then be conveyed in a way that the court observer (read jury) can understand and respond to. I agree with Emily that there is an incredible research deficit with sexual assault specifically, but I think there is forensic science that can be applied in many cases…just a matter of finding it. Finally, the best way to be advanced on the stand – in my opinion – is to spend ALOT of time with the legal team in preparation, have a healthy respect for the fact that we still have a biased culture and prepare to be disassembled, and speak only to the facts.

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