November 01, 2017 Introduction

Judges as Gatekeepers of Science and the Law: The Importance of Judicial Education

By Judge Stephanie Domitrovich

Justice and science coexist in our courtrooms for the good of society. Historically, courts have viewed the sciences “as an indispensable ally in a shared project of truth-finding.”1 In the 1993 landmark Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. decision, judges became the gatekeepers for admitting relevant and reliable scientific evidence in courtrooms across the United States.2 However, the 2009 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward concluded that judges and lawyers do not have the sufficient training and experience in various scientific methodologies “to fully comprehend the approaches employed by different forensic disciplines and the strengths and vulnerabilities of forensic science evidence offered during trials.”

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