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Environmental Crimes: The Daubert Standard

This guide is designed to assist judges with deciphering the scientific and technical data involved with most environmental criminal offenses. It will also assist legal practitioners in locating resources related to federal environmental criminal law.

The Daubert Standard

In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the decision of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).  In holding that the previous "general acceptance test" articulated in the case of Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013, (D.C. Cir. 1923) [1] was "incompatible with the Federal Rules and should not be applied in federal trials,"[2] the Supreme Court in Daubert set forth a new standard where "trial judges became the gatekeepers of expert testimony, responsible for independent screening of science and the reliability of expert witnesses."[3]  The standards for judicial review and Daubert's application to non-scientific expert testimony were later clarified by the court in the cases of General Electric Co. v. Joiner, 522, U.S. 136 (1997) and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999).[4]  For a discussion of the application of Daubert in civil and criminal environmental case (as published by the ABA's Environmental Enforcement & Crimes Committee) click here

[3] Roger C. Park et al., Evidence Law 539 (3d ed. 2011)
[4] Id. at 538-40.


Treatises on Federal Evidence


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