"Amicus Brief: Kumho Tire v. Carmichael"

Michigan Law Authors
Areas of Interest
Publish Date
2000
Publication
Law and Human Behavior
Publication Type
Journal Article
Abstract

In response to the US Supreme Court case of Kumho Tire Com. Ltd. v. Carmichael (1999) the defendant/petitioner (Kumho) and amici for the defendant made assertions that juries have known tendencies to be improperly influenced by expert evidence. This brief addresses the issue of jury performance and jury responses to expert testimony. It reviews and summarizes a substantial body of research evidence about jury behavior that has been produced over the past quarter century. The body of empirical research findings conducted contradicts the petitioner's assumptions. Surveys of both federal and state judges show that the overwhelming majority believe that juries are competent and conscientious. Studies comparing judges' opinions of the evidence at trial show substantial agreement with verdicts rendered by juries. Evidence challenges the view that jurors abdicate their responsibilities as fact-finders when faced with expert evidence or that they are pro-plaintiff, anti-defendant, and anti-business. This brief sharply challenges the view expressed in the petitioners' and amici' briefs that juries are composed of persons who suspend critical reasoning skills whenever experts testify in a trial.

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