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Science training Re “judges going to school for training in science” [ NLJ, July 24]: While it is laudable to try to reduce the scientific ignorance of judges, the best way to achieve that goal is by preparing them during the pretrial period with adequate briefs and memoranda, not by encouraging them to absorb whatever they can-correctly or incorrectly-from seminars unmonitored by motivated and opposing counsel. What a judge takes away from such seminars may be an increase in information, but it may be incorrect information or incorrectly understood information. Under Daubert and Kumho-Tire, the judicial gatekeeper evaluates whether the expert has shown that she used a reliable methodology-a showing made by focusing on scientific methods of demonstrating that results likely represent actual knowledge, and not mere belief or speculation. The court looks for acceptance by the scientific peer group, demonstrations of testability or replicability, known error rates or publication in journals where such exposure would invite critical evaluation. The court does not, and should not, rely on its own understanding of the underlying science, whether that understanding was gained in a one-day or one-week seminar, or in a two-semester course 20 years ago. Where assistance is needed, a court-appointed expert can be selected, and then cross-examined by the parties to the litigation. The seminar approach presents many opportunities for undiscoverable misunderstandings. The system needs protection from junk science and junk scientists; it also needs protection from incorrectly educated judges. Courtroom experts, properly prepared and educated by the parties’ counsel, should educate the judge, not uncontrolled and un-cross-examined seminar speakers. David M. Malone Washington The writer , a principal at the consulting firm of Trial Run Inc., practiced complex litigation for 31 years, and now lectures, writes and teaches about experts and litigation strategy.

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