Saturday, January 19, 2008

Should Judges Do Outside Research for Science Questions?

How should judges deal with scientific evidence? Prof. Edward K. Cheng says that one way to improve decisionmaking is for them to do library (or online) research themselves. Judges are divided on the question. In a survey Cheng conducted, some said that outside research was highly desirable and others said it was highly undesirable.

This Article has argued that independent research is both desirable and permissible. Indeed, independent research carries great promise as a tool for helping judges decide Daubert questions and for improving scientific decisionmaking in the courts generally. Furthermore, although ultimately ambiguous, current rules seem to allow sufficient leeway to permit the practice. But ultimately, whether one agrees with its position or not, this Article’s true purpose is a broader one, and that is to spark greater academic and judicial commentary on the issue of independent research and the various ways to help judges make scientific admissibility decisions.
Edward K. Cheng, Independent Judicial Research in the Daubert Age, 56 Duke L.J. 1263, 1315 (2007), available here.

No comments: