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The Champion

August 2004 , Page 54 

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Preparing to Cross-Examine an Expert Witness-- Part 2

By William P. Wolf

Get the Entire Laboratory Case File: Preparing for the Subject Matter 

Where I practice, the state’s response to the defense request for discovery with respect to expert evidence consists of the experts’s name, address and a 1-2 page report that discloses the expert’s opinion, which sometimes can be summed up in 4 words. “I think he’s guilty.” Unfortunately, some defense lawyers that I have seen do not ask for any of the notes or data underlying this report, accepting this as “complete discovery.”

Just as you cannot do a decent cross of a police officer without that officer’s reports, you cannot do a decent cross of a forensic expert without all of their reports. Some lawyers that I have advised seem to assume that there’s some magic that “forensically gifted” lawyers have to meet this evidence. There really is no magic, and there is no substitute for getting every piece of paper that the government expert wrote. To see if their data supports their conclusions, you must have the data. It

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