Pros And Cons Of The Daubert Standard

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Framing Truths

How do we know what is true? How do we know if a man sentenced to death was truly a murderer? A question echoed by thousands of people revolting against the death penalty as the story of Todd Willingham made it to the headlines. In The New Yorker, under the title of Trial by Fire, came the terrifying enigma: “Did Texas execute an innocent man?” followed by a thorough listing of the evidence that was used to convict Willingham of setting his house on fire and resulting in the death of his three children, and how they were later disproved.

There is a great misconception about the source of controversy in issues like these. Many people would argue about the essentiality of the death penalty in deterring crimes and others would
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Under the modified Daubert standard, relevant scientific evidence is only admissible if it is centered upon testable hypotheses, conforms with the standard rate of potential errors, has been peer reviewed, and if the method is generally accepted in the scientific community (Hoog, 2008). However, there are three problems with the application of the Daubert standard. Firstly, David E. Bernstein and Jeffrey D. Jackson (2004) proved that there was no uniformity in the application of the standard in the sense that it’s only abided with in a portion of the states, and not necessarily with full adherence. Secondly, since the judge is not a scientist, it is difficult for him/her to, without doubt, determine the full honesty of the experts’ testimonies. An example from the Willingham case would be the two medical experts asserting that he was a sociopath although one was an irrelevant family counselor and the other, known as “Dr. Death” and later expelled from the American Psychiatric Association for ethical violations, had not even spoken to Todd Willingham. Last but not least, science is characterized by its incessant evolution in a way that a single new anomaly can easily falsify a strong scientific theory. In simple English, even experts know that there is no ultimate certainty to…show more content…
Anyone can end up in Todd Willingham’s place; anyone, even you or someone you might know, can have their life seized away from them under the title of justice due to the ignorance of the system in understanding how evidence should be interpreted and due to the gullibility that makes people believe almost anything they hear. So, despite the capital punishment being only issued if the suspect was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt, a question remains unanswered: In a system where science and pseudoscience are indistinguishable, how can one define reasonable doubt? Yes, there should be punishments to deter crimes; but, we should also acknowledge the fact that science says there is nothing called reaching the truth- there is only approaching it. So for the sake of that asymptote, we should bear in mind J.R.R Tolkien’s saying (1954) “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in

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