Will Your Fire Investigation testimony hold up in court?

01/01/2005
BY GEORGE A. CODDINGToday, going to court is stressful for the average fire investigator. Not that it was any easier 15 years ago, but at that time, experts simply described their qualifications and experience to the judge and based on that alone were often allowed to offer their opinions at a trial. Today, the courts take a more active role in screening an expert before trial, looking much more closely at the investigation and theories behind the testimony. In fact, a recent federal court decision threw out the testimony of several highly qualified fire experts on scientific grounds. How did things change so much? What do fire investigators need to do to keep this from happening in their...

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