Mary Ann Mason,
A Judicial Dilemma: Expert Witness Testimony in Child Sex Abuse Cases, 19
J. Psychiatry & L.
Available at: http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/facpubs/2103
This study first analyzes the content of 122 appellate court decisions in which expert witness testimony on the characteristics of sexually abused children is challenged. The nature of the testimony, the identity of experts, and the patterns of judicial response to this testimony are both quantitatively and qualitatively examined. The study then reviews the concerns raised by the clinical/scientific community about the validity of this behavioral syndrome testimony and the role of the therapist as expert. The gulf between the judicial community and the clinical/scientific community is addressed. Alternative forms of expert testimony that more closely meet the criteria of both communities are suggested. [Author Abstract]