Daubert V. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals

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Frye v. United States and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals are both legal decisions that set forth standards as they pertain to the admissibility of scientific or forensic evidence, and the admissibility of expert witness testimony. Both cases deal with the admissibility of evidence in judicial proceedings, and prevent prosecutors from abusing the use of expert witnesses and testimony. Due to a loophole that dismisses recent scientific advances when applying the Frye Rule, the Supreme Court revisited Frye, and “took the occasion to issue guidelines for deciding the admissibility of scientific evidence” (Gaensslen, Harris, & Henry, 2008, p. 53). The decision resulted in a five-prong approach called the Daubert Standard.
Case of Frye v.
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Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals where the petitioners claimed that their children were born with birth defects due to “the mother’s ingestion of Bendectin, a prescription antinausea drug marketed by respondent” (Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 1993). In Daubert, the lower court applied the Frye Standard to the testimony of eight expert witnesses presented as evidence by the petitioner. The court excluded that the testimony, and findings of the eight expert witnesses presenting on behalf of the petitioners did not meet the Frye Standard because the results “had not been published or subjected to peer review” (Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 1993), or accepted by the relevant scientific community. In reviewing the case, the Supreme Court decided that since the Federal Rules of Evidence superseded the Frye Standard in 1975, the lower court did not properly apply the Frye Standard. The decision in Daubert sets forth a five-prong approach called the Daubert Standard that evaluates scientific evidence against five factors. The five factors the court must consider are whether the theory or technique “can be and has been tested”; subject to peer review and publication, the potential rate of error, the existence of standards, and acceptance within the relevant scientific community (Fish, Miller, Braswell, & Wallace Jr., 2014, p. 22). Daubert also assigns…show more content…
Frye is a simple decision where if the scientific community does not generally accept the evidence, the court excludes and rejects the evidence. No questions asked. In contrast to Frye, Daubert offers a remedy to the hole left by the Frye decision to not allow evidence not “generally accepted” by the relevant scientific community. The Daubert decision does not blindly reject new theories, as in the case of Frye, but subjects the new theories to a set of rules upon which the presiding judge will decide on the admissibility of the evidence. In addition, the admissibility of evidence increases with Daubert because it ensures that “the analyses used on physical evidence are valid, reliable, and can be duplicated resulting in the same outcome” (Fish, Miller, Braswell, & Wallace Jr., 2014, p.

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