Friday, December 27, 2013

Keys to Choosing an Expert Witness

Criminal cases are won by a single expert testimony, be it by a ballistics specialist, a criminal psychology professional or a toxicologist. Oftentimes, it is the lawyer’s job to secure a witness who can help disprove his client’s involvement in the case. So how exactly does one choose an expert witness?

Choose the Field

Fields of specialization include forensic, environmental, and medical toxicology, internal medicine, and clinical pharmacology. For example, if the case involves poisoning, then you should look for a toxicology expert witness. You can also get in touch with a reputable expert witness referral service for assistance.


You will have to hire an expert witness that will act as a consultant to study the case and provide results. A ballistics expert for instance, will inspect bullet wounds and trajectories to find a link between the suspect and the victim. A toxicologist on the other hand, will check for evidence of administered poisons to find out if the victim indeed died or was almost killed by poisoning.


After the expert has obtained results, the court will convene him to testify (take note that you have the call on how much information the witness can divulge, as long as you’re not burying evidence). You may also need to brief your expert on what questions he might be facing in the course of his examination and cross-examination.

Solving Crime Behind the Scenes

Between NCIS and its spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles, about 39 million people tune in each week to watch special agents solves crimes committed by or against members of the US Navy. Indeed, Americans enjoys their crime procedurals, with no less than seven joining the top 25 most-watched programs of the 2012-2013 TV season. Invariably, it’s the astute detective or the incisive agent that gets top billing in these programs, but a huge part of crime solving actually occurs behind the scenes in medical laboratories.

Indeed, forensics allows law enforcement agencies to crack even the most complicated crimes thanks to meticulous scientific tests. One of the most prominent forensic specialists are forensic toxicologists, experts who examine body fluids and tissue for traces of chemicals that might have contributed to a victim’s untimely demise.

If a defendant is appealing his drunk driving charge, a forensic toxicologist will examine field sobriety results as well as blood alcohol level tests to determine the driver’s culpability. They also help in cases where a victim is suspected to have been poisoned by checking the deceased’s blood and other body fluids for poisonous drugs, chemicals, or metals. Once they finish the investigation, forensic toxicologists can be asked to appear in court as expert witnesses who will explain their findings in layman’s terms to the judge and the jury.

While crime dramas make for engaging television shows, don’t forget that law enforcers can’t solve crimes without the help of forensic toxicology.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How a Medical Expert Witness Can Help Solve Your Lead Poisoning Case

Consulting a reputable toxicology expert witness is necessary to obtaining a professional opinion on causation. Toxicologists have extensive knowledge and experience on the nature and effects of toxins and poisons including chemicals, pharmaceutical products, metals, and alcohol. From testing food products to identifying water quality and determining the safety of cosmetics, they play a huge role in our everyday lives. As professionals, toxicologists can conduct thorough analysis or scientific investigation and present an unbiased report after research for purposes of litigation. They may also give their testimony in court and assist with responses when the need arises. Through this method, the court will be able to determine whether or not the there is negligence on the part of the defendant.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Voices in Your Head: The Role Hair Can Play in Forensic Toxicology

As efficient as it may be, hair can be quite a challenge in forensic labs, particularly because there are so many factors that affect the success rate of of obtaining a DNA sample. For instance, the chemicals that have been mixed into the hair as a result of dyeing can alter the cuticles, and can even contribute to the degradation of hair DNA. An efficient forensic toxicologist, like one from Environmental Diseases, works with many body samples like hair, skin, blood, and other bodily fluids so as to render an accurate opinion on the diseases, poisons, drug use or other medical conditions. These experts are often called upon by courts to stand as witnesses for criminal cases.