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Explain the difference between the Frye test and Daubert standard regarding the admissibilty of scientific evidence in the courtroom?
ADMISSIBILITY OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE UNDER DAUBERT (Daubert vs Frye Standard) The U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in Daubert v. [ [ Merrell Dow (1993) rejected the Frye test and Frye-plus tests for the admissibility of certain scientific evidence (see admissibility tests lecture). Instead of "general acceptance" in the scientific community, the Daubert test requires an independent judicial
assessment of reliability. Among other purposes, the Daubert test is intended to end the current "battle of the experts" state of affairs. The Daubert decision involved the claim that Bendectin caused birth defects, and even though it was intended to clear the way for admitting novel scientific evidence (like DNA), it has instead turned out to be a firestorm of controversy. The misuse of scientific evidence is a serious problem. Even the FBI laboratory is under suspicion. In West Virginia, a serologist falsified test results in hundreds of cases over a ten-year period, sentencing hundreds of defendants to lengthy prison terms. In Texas, a pathologist faked autopsy results, resulting in as many as 20 death penalty verdicts. A police chemist elsewhere falsified reports and sent hundreds of innocent people away to jail on rape charges. Most misuse of scientific evidence is pro-prosecution. Daubert sheds light on shoddy procedures, protocols, and proficiency testing. This document attempts to understand the Daubert test in light of continuing battles over forensic techniques and procedures. The Daubert ruling rests on an interpretation of the Federal Rules of Evidence. As a statutory, rather than constitutional case, it is not necessarily binding on the states, but many courts of appeals are ordering remands or whole new hearings because the trial court failed to conduct a Daubert hearing, and there is frequent variation from state to state in how Daubert hearings are conducted. The fact is that Frye still remains the rule in many states. Other states have adopted Daubert, and yet other states have a history of rejecting Frye and Daubert, substituting their own standards. ] ]
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