What is the Daubert Standard?

During the case of Cedillo v. HHS, defense attorney Vincent Matanoski repeatedly referred to the Daubert standard, believing that the court had yet to hear "reliable" evidence claiming that Petitionerís experts and scientific evidence did not meet this standard. The Daubert standard is a legal precedent set in the 1993 Supreme Court case of Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals [509 U.S. 579 (1993)] regarding the admissibility of expert witnessesí testimony during legal proceedings.

In Daubert, the Supreme Court ordered federal trial judges to be the "gatekeepers" of scientific evidence. Trial judges must now evaluate proffered expert witnesses to determine whether their testimony is both "relevant" and "reliable"; a two-pronged test of admissibility. The relevancy of a testimony refers to whether or not the expertís evidence "fits" the facts of the case. In order for the testimony to be considered reliable, the expert must have derived his conclusions using the scientific method. Although the following was not meant to be used as a checklist, the Supreme Court offered the following observations as to what constitutes scientific evidence:

*Empirical testingóthe theory or technique must be falsifiable, refutable and testable.

*Subjected to peer review and and publication

*Known or potential error rate and the existence and maintenance of standards concerning its operation.

*Whether the theory and technique is generally accepted by a relevant scientific community.

Although the Supreme Court cautioned that the Daubert list should not be regarded as a definitive checklist, many judges are now excluding scientific evidence when they determine that it is lacking on a single Daubert point instead of assessing the totality of such evidence. See www.wikipedia.org for a more complete explanation of the Daubert Standard.