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Court cases

Frye v United States ruled on in 1933. In this case, Frye was convicted of 2nd degree murder. Attorneys for the defendant proposed an expert witness to testify as to results he discovered using a ‘deception test’, which is similar to modern day lie detector tests. The expert witness elaborated on how blood pressure is monitored by this device. The expert felt that scientific experiments showed that negative emotions, such as fear or anger, produces a rise in blood pressure. The expert then deduced that the same would occur for someone who is lying, since there would be a fear of detection of the lie. It was further reasoned that speaking truth would be natural, and so no emotion such as guilt or fear would enter the picture, and hence no rise in blood pressure. (FRYE V UNITED STATES)
The Supreme Court ruled that there is a difference between (1) expert testimony gained through training and lengthy work experience in the field versus (2) expert testimony that is based on experimental research that has not yet gained solid scientific backing in the science community at large. As a result, the proposed testimony of the expert was not upheld as admissible evidence (FRYE V UNITED STATES). The ‘Frye Standard’ thus became a well known basis for future court cases to allow scientific techniques as admissible evidence only if it is already ‘generally accepted’ in the relevant scientific community.
The second case is Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (DAUBERT V MERRELL DOW PHARMACEUTICALS, INC) Daubert was a 1993 product liability case where the Supreme Court had to determine what type of scientific evidence is admissible in court. Daubert sued Merrell Dow due to birth defects that occurred in two of their children. The mother was taking the drug Bendectin, which was manufactured by Merrill Dow.
Science did not provide a direct link between the drug and any birth defects. Statistical data was proposed as an alternate solution, but ...Show more


Each of the cases is noteworthy for what can constitute the admissibility of expert evidence in court cases. First, I will examine the basic facts of each of the four…
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