Video Expert Witness Testimony

Primeau Forensics Video Forensic Expert Witness Testimony is a Three Prong Approach:

Video Forensic Expert Prong One:

Video expert witness testimony begins with a trained video forensic expert conducting a scientific investigation. During this investigation a video forensic expert observes and documents all of the characteristics of the video recording. The scientific observations made during the investigation include review of the chain of custody log. This is a log for the video evidence and documents who did what when with this evidence. On completion of the investigation, the video forensic expert’s work product and notes are the foundation for the forensic report. Forensic reports are very detailed and include screen shots to support the science we used.

Video Forensic Expert Prong Two:

A trial strategy is established that is based on the expert’s scientific findings and opinions. How will the scientific findings effect or assist the trial strategy? How will the Trier of Fact look at the video evidence? Do we have an established chain of custody? Where are the elephants in the room? Great trial attorneys want the good as well as the bad news when processing our clients case. Deposition and trial testimony is outlined and dates are scheduled to make sure the forensic expert has availability.

Video Forensic Expert Prong Three:

The third prong is to put your head into the opposing attorney’s and anticipate their trial strategy. How will they use the information we provide in our report before and during trial? This may be a two step approach. First, we need to anticipate cross examination questions before we testify. What will the opposing attorney ask us under oath? A very important part of this third prong is to draft direct and cross examination questions for our  client attorney. We write direct so they know how to lay the foundation for the video forensic expert’s testimony. We also help draft cross examination questions for the opposing video forensic expert’s create cross examination.

Scientific Investigation and Report

As video forensic experts, our work begins with the scientific investigation. Expert witness testimony is organized using the forensic investigation that may or may not include a report. The forensic report is written to present the science used and observations made during the forensic investigation. Although some states do not require forensic reports, it is best practice for video forensic experts to organize their scientific processes, findings and opinions in report form. That way, any qualified video forensic expert can follow the steps we took when performing our investigation hundreds of times and end with the same conclusion we did. A forensic report is the vehicle to organize all lab processes and procedures performed as well as scientific findings and opinions.

Deposition and Trial Preparation

We have noticed that the lawyers who are on overload or weak at their game will not initiate preparation time before we testify. In this case we initiate the scheduling and organization of deposition or trial preparation with the client attorney. Based on our experience, deposition and trial preparation meetings are anywhere from two to four hours. Some of this time is spent reviewing our work and drafting direct and cross examination questions. We also make sure our work has been vetted completely by another expert at Primeau Forensics or one of our peers, then our investigation is complete. During this time we identify any additional areas of forensic testing that may need to be done in order to improve our trial strategy.

Anticipation of Cross Examination

Cross-examining an expert witness is a challenge and an opportunity—two sides of the same coin. The challenge is the video forensic expert witness’s superior education, training and experience in a scientific or technical field foreign to the cross-examining attorney. The opportunity is for the cross examining attorney to become as well (and preferably better) versed in the expert witness’s field. As video forensic experts, we help our client attorneys write cross examination questions for opposing expert witnesses. Since we understand the science, we can read opposing expert witness credentials and their report to draft cross examination questions for our client attorney. Of course, when we prepare to testify, we work with our client attorney to anticipate what we might be asked during our cross examination. That way, we have identified all the elephants in the room and have addressed them all before ever entering court.

 

Expert witnesses are used to aid a jury in the understanding of issues that may not be within the knowledge and experience of average individuals.

The Federal Rules of Evidence control the admission of expert testimony in federal cases.  Most states also have rules of evidence which are generally patterned by the federal rule.  Federal Rule of Evidence 701 generally does not allow a lay witness to present opinions.  Opinions can be presented through experts pursuant to Federal Rule 702 when the expert possesses scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge that will help the jury to understand the evidence or to determine a fact at issue.  In order to testify, the expert’s testimony must be based on sufficient facts, data, and must be the product of reliable principles and methods. The expert offering opinions must have reliably applied the appropriate principles and methods to the facts of each case.

The choosing of an appropriate expert is always vital to your case.  More and more defendants are challenging the ability of forensic experts to give opinions. Such challenges were given solid footing by the United States Supreme Court in 1993 in a case of Daubert vs. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals.  In that case the Courts ruled that a trial judge must be a gate-keeper.  In fulfilling this responsibility the trial judge must consider the experts opinion in light of several factors.

Whether an expert’s scientific testimony is based on reasoning or methodology that is scientifically valid and can be properly applied to the facts at issue is the basic test.  To decide this a trial judge may consider:

whether the theory or technique in question can be and has been tested;

whether or not the opinion has been the subject of peer review and publication;

whether or not the existence and maintenance of standards controlling its operation;

Where the opinion has attracted wide-spread acceptance within the scientific community.

Great information about forensic sciences can be found on our podcast ‘BlindSpot’.

After 34 years testifying as an audio video forensic expert, Ed has worked with and learned from some of the greatest trial lawyers in the world. This experience testifying has strengthened Primeau Forensics’ expert witness performance in the court room. All of our experts have testified in local, state and Federal courts all over the USA and worked on cases Internationally. We understand how to help the litigation team identify a solid trial strategy.

We are experienced at earning the trust and respect of the jury. We do this by keeping our expert witness testimony easy to understand and explain our forensic processes using easy to understand language and terminology.  We also know how to make eye contact with the jury to address each of them independently. All these ingredients are crucial to the success of our video expert witness testimony.

One great trial lawyer had this to say about our lead expert witness, Ed Primeau:

“Ed Primeau is the best at what he does! As a trail attorney, I depend on experts to educate me in the relevant field for which they are hired. My focus has always been on finding an expert who not only simplifies the subject area, but is also creative in approach. I recently had a case in which I needed an audio and video forensic expert. I found Ed. Ed is a genius and was absolutely amazing in front of the jury.” – Attorney Nenye Uche

 

If you have a video that you question or need help understanding, please give us a call for a pro bono conversation. We apply all forensic expertise to cases in the United States and many countries around the globe. Any and all formats of audio and video accepted. Retainer agreement available on request; travel expenses will be quoted in advance excluding meal expenses and flat rate time for travel instead of hourly.

Click HERE to email your questions or

Call 800-647-4281 in the USA or +01-248-853-4091 Internationally.

Ed Primeau’s Curriculum Vitae has several references which include cases he has testified in as well as clients he has worked for in these cases.

 

Video Forensic Expert Edward J Primeau Curriculum Vitae

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