Standards for the Acceptance of Scientific Evidence
A 1923 decision by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, known as the Frye test, set a foundation for the admissibility of expert scientific evidence. Under the Frye test, such expert testimony was admissible only if the principles on which it was based had been “generally accepted” by the scientific community.
Daubert refers to Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), a case in which the court outlined criteria which they believed could be important to establish the reliability of expert testimony. These criteria include the following:
- Has the technique or theory been scientifically tested?
- Does the technique or theory have a known or potential error rate?
- Has the technique or theory been subjected to peer review and publication?
- Is the technique or theory subject to standards governing its application?
- Is the technique or theory generally accepted by the relevant scientific community?
Although these criteria were not meant as a checklist, they are being applied in this way. If one of these criteria is not met, then the testimony may be found to be inadmissible.
The published probe/knot analysis technique to forensically analyze TASER duration has been tested and passed under the Frye standard in US courts (State vs James, King County Wa. Superior court June 2010-PDF of Ruling) and has met the criteria to fulfill the prongs outlined by the Daubert ruling.