Expert Witness Found Unqualified to Testify in Mississippi Wal-Mart Shooting Case
The court must approve your expert witnesses, with this approval contingent on a finding that the witness is qualified to serve. For example, a surgeon with the proper training and experience would be needed to testify on whether or not proper surgical procedures were followed during a botched operation. A nurse, even if he or she was in the room at the time of the operation, is not qualified to comment on decisions made by the surgeon during surgery, because a nurse doesn’t perform surgeries or consult on them. Nurses are there to assist doctors. Makes sense, right?
Now, if the question needing to be answered deals only with nursing issues, then the nurse would likely be found qualified. Experience and training aren’t the only metrics, though; courts will also take into consideration things such as an expert’s business relationships, their criminal records, and the like.
As an attorney, the last thing you want is the embarrassment of the court rejecting your expert witnesses. If you remember our writing from the time of the Derek Chauvin case, depending on the facts of your case, it can often be difficult to find an expert witness who can support your line of thinking. This may cause you to go with a second or third or even lower choice, particularly in litigation areas where there is a lot of action at the moment. If you’re not careful, you may end up with someone the court will reject.
That is what happened to attorneys in Mississippi who were defending William Thomas Chisholm on murder charges. Chisholm is accused of shooting and killing an optometrist at a Wal-Mart in Oktibbeha County.
On Thursday, Dr. Jennifer Carroll, a licensed professional counselor, took the stand to testify on an evaluation she performed on Chisholm’s mental state at the time of the alleged murder. Although Carroll works in the field of psychology, she is not a licensed psychologist or licensed to practice any type of psychology but rather a counselor with a doctoral degree in general psychology.
She admitted to the court that she holds herself out as a licensed psychologist but does not actually have a license, and was rejected. This was a major embarrassment for the defense team, which was caught out for not doing proper vetting and not being familiar with the requirements of the law. (Ms. Carroll herself was practicing illegally.)
Don’t make a rookie mistake like this with your expert witnesses. Not only do you want an experience and well-educated expert; you also want one who is ideally local and who is definitely well-versed in dealing with juries and judges and providing information in an understandable, convincing, and compelling way.
These are the only types of expert witnesses that we hire here at the Orion Expert Network (OEN). Call us today and we will put together a team of expert witnesses that helps you succeed, rather than send you back home with your tail between your legs.
Call Orion Expert Network directly at (617) 528–0055 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started on your expert witness search today.