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The Champion

July 2013 , Page 42 

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Third Arms, Scottish Sheep, and Jurassic Park: Understanding Scientific Evidence

By Kevin Sali

Scientific evidence can seem daunting. Many lawyers feel much less comfortable dealing with it than they do with other types of evidence. Being intimidated by an opposing expert, or lacking the confidence to explain complex principles to a judge or jury, can leave a lawyer feeling handcuffed with respect to what can sometimes be the most critical evidence in her case.

Such feelings may be the result of overestimating the complexity of scientific evidence and underestimating a lawyer’s own ability to work with and against it. The purpose of this article is to encourage defense lawyers to become comfortable enough with scientific evidence to treat it the same way they treat the other types of evidence in their cases.

It is important that lawyers learn the science.

If there is a chance that her case might turn on some issue of scientific evidence, a defense lawyer needs to master that evidence — including the underlying scientific principles — to the same degree as any other ev

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