Ann Althouse Says...

Ann Althouse a professor at my old Law School had this interesting commentary:

"if you read Feige's well-written and persuasive article, keep in mind that he represents the defense, that expert testimony is subject to attack if it is let in, and that child molesters are choosing victims who will often not be able to tell a straight story."

Ok. Sure. I represent the defense and expert testimony is subject to attack. But here's the problem: These are complicated issues. Doing a good cross about diagnosticity and falsifiability--one that makes a jury understand just what a bunch of crap CSAAS is, is tough--and truthfully takes more time, patience and research than most criminal defense lawyers can afford. The result is that often even the most bogus experts aren't really challenged--at least not when they don't have a million bucks to spend on a defense. It's why Judges are supposed to be gatekeepers, why Frye and Daubert hearings should be serious endeavors, not just shameful referenda on whether or not testimony advances the aims of the prosecution.

And as for choosing victims that can't tell a straight story: Please. Plenty (the credible ones) can and do. In any other context we take credibility and "telling a straight story" seriously. No-one has a problem disbelieving an incredible witness in a robbery or narcotics case--this is about our willingness to bend good rules in order to stack the deck in favor of conviction. The problem is disproving these sorts of incendiary allegations--overcoming the stigma of the charge itself is hard enough for an innocent person without bogus syndrome testimony thrown in.

Anyway Ann-thanks for reading, turn the comments on your blog back on, and give my regards to Tom Palay and Bascom Hill.

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