The admissibility of scientific testimony in courts of law has been challenged in the United States, Canada and throughout the world. As a result, several standards (e.g., Daubert, Frye) have been established over the years through legal decisions to provide guidance to the Court when encountering expert witness testimony. This means that the Court may require an admissibility hearing prior to witnesses testifying in front of the jury after which the Court will either allow or disallow the expert witness' testimony.
Due to the frequent nature of these admissibility hearings with respect to footwear impression evidence, SWGTREAD deemed it necessary to publish an organized set of references specific to footwear impression evidence. Therefore, the SWGTREAD Daubert Committee was formed. The Committee, along with the help of other individuals and organizations, published the Daubert Resource Kit (DRK) in March 2008 in CD format. Up until January 2012, this information was disseminated via snail mail to interested individuals.
The purpose of these resources is to aid an examiner in preparing for an admissibility hearing and to educate the criminal justice community. With the inception of the SWGTREAD website in 2009, SWGTREAD decided to move the contents of the DRK online rather than produce a revised CD. The result of this decision is the Admissibilty Resources. Moving the resource online provides an easier mechanism for updating and a simplified method for linking information and documents.
The Admissibility Resources are not all-inclusive. SWGTREAD acknowledges that there are shortcomings with respect to this information. However, strong efforts have been made to provide as much information as possible, including links to to other websites and downloadable files whenever possible.
The Admissibility Resources will be updated periodically as new and relevant information becomes available, but SWGTREAD must rely on others in the forensic community to assist with this process. If you are aware of reference materials, court cites or any other pertinent information that would increase the usefulness of this resource, e-mail the point of contact.
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This resource is organized into three sections for easy access via the menus on the right side of this page.
This section comprises introductory information which lays the foundation for admissibility of scientific testimony in the U.S. This is not exhaustive in nature, but rather an introduction to the major court decisions affecting forensic science testimony today.
This section comprises federal and state court decisions and other court-related information that impact the admissibility of footwear impression evidence and its associated expert witness testimony in U.S.. courts of law.
This section comprises a list of published information and links to relevant professional organizations, presentations, etc.
Also, the case of U.S. v Mahone is detailed as a case study to provide an example of what can be expected when there is a challenge to the admissibility of footwear impression evidence. It is an example of a Daubert admissibility challenge from start to finish.