By Stephen M. Raffle, M.D.
Because my field is so specialized, I believe it is one of my duties to assist attorneys in preparing direct examination and cross-examination questions for psychiatrist and psychologists testifying as expert witnesses, so the attorney can understand that aspect of the case better and elicit testimony informative to the jury. Please see my full article on this site: “Direct Examination and Cross-Examination of a Mental Health Expert Witness: A Few Thoughts”. As a forensic psychiatrist, I have been deposed about 700 times and been examined in about 150 trials, in most cases I consult to attorneys in forming questions of other experts in my field relevant to the case and their conclusions. Expert witnesses by their very nature are permitted to testify because they know and understand a body of knowledge that laypeople are not expected to know. Attorneys are laypeople as far as psychiatry is concerned; for that reason they deserve the participation of an expert to help them understand less obvious aspects of my specialty. When an opposing expert offers an opinion that is contrary to mine and is based upon certain evidence, I believe it is necessary for me to point out where the disagreement exists and why my position is the better one. This can become the basis for preparing attorneys for the cross-examination of another expert. By so doing, I believe I advance the truth-finding process, which is the purpose of a trial and certainly the purpose of discovery.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website does not constitute legal or medical advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel or physician for the most current information and to obtain professional legal advice or medical advice before acting on any of the information presented.
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