COUNTERING Counterintuitive Testimony (Adults)
COUNTERING Counterintuitive Testimony (Adults): What Every Attorney Should Know
This web resource is an effort to better equip an attorney to challenge counterintuitive testimony regarding adult sexual assault claims. This can be done in a motion to suppress, a Daubert hearing, or during cross-examination in the trial phase (or all three).
The different sections are designed to be read independent of each other. This allows the reader to focus on the strategies and topics that are of most interest. To that end, there are quotes, research sources, etc. that are repeated in different segments. Expect some repetition as you read. Each topic you click on begins with a short summary and observations. This is followed by a “deep dive” into the topic with detail and citations. Be sure to read “Basic of Scientific Research”. Many of the rationales for challenging the counterintuitive expert are going to draw from an understanding of these fundamental principles.
There is a critical balance to bear in mind while reviewing topics. Much of adult sexual assault testimony can be legitimate and apply to victims who have truly been abused. But there is a tendency for counterintuitive experts to overstate the science and make claims that cannot be backed up from research. This excess, without a humble recognition of limits, is where problems arise. This author has testified numerous times for prosecution and defense regarding victim behaviors. This project isn’t about the elimination of expert testimony. It is about finding a healthy balance in professional testimony and how to best assist the trier-of-fact.
Fair warning. I am not an attorney and I don’t desire to be one. I love the discipline of forensic psychology – the scientific study of human thought and behavior in a legal context. COUNTERING Counterintuitive Testimony (Adults) isn’t a tutorial on how to apply the law. It’s a scientist explaining some of the principles and findings in research you might want to consider. My goal is to set out an abundance of ideas for you to consider. It’s your job to pick and choose which items actually fit the facts of your case and how to best apply them.