Describe how the Daubert Standard differs from the Frye Standard

Answer these questions in a paragraph or more. Use teh prompts below for assistance.

1) Describe how the Daubert Standard differs from the Frye Standard.

The Frye Standard involves the general acceptance of a theory or technique within the field of science. Basically, if it’s good enough for the scientific community, it’s good enough to be presented in court. This is still the standard in many states.

The Daubert Standard has been accepted at the federal level and is the standard in several states. The Daubert Standard uses the Frye Standard as one of its prongs of its reliability component (in addition to whether the theory can be tested, whether the error rate is acceptable, and whether the theory has faced peer review). In addition to reliability, the court must decide whether the testimony is relevant to the case and whether its probative value outweighs the potential prejudice it will produce.

Although several answers discussed that Daubert was an “improvement” over Frye, it really just added more requirements without increasing the scientific rigor. Some of these requirements are redundant. For example, if a theory is generally accepted within a scientific discipline, it’s going to be (a) peer reviewed and (b) testable. The requirement of “an acceptable error rate” sounds nice, but because no one has ever defined what constitutes an acceptable error rate, it’s kind of meaningless. The biggest actual difference involves the “relevance” and “legal sufficiency” components. These are both determined by the court. Thus, even if the science is sound, the court can prevent the testimony if the court wants to. In practice, this can be very subjective. In fact, in cases like Daubert, the court often prevents scientific testimony about increased vulnerability or rates of exposure because it views the relationship between the cause and effect as tenuous. For instance, I’ve read cases where an epidiomological analysis of the effect of a particular chemical on a particular health issue was judged to be too prejudicial (e.g., “You say that Chemical X causes cancer, but people who have no exposure to Chemical X get cancer, so how do you know that this particular chemical caused this particular case of cancer? Maybe the plaintiff would have gotten cancer anyway.”). So, the biggest difference between the two standards is that a lot of the deference to science has been decreased in favor of the discretion of the judge.

Now, I don’t expect you to know or state all of these things, but I do expect you to do more than copy and paste information from the PowerPoint slides. You should give some analysis.

2) What are some advantages that Science has over other ways of knowing?

The main difference between science and other ways of knowing is that it involves a falsifiable test. In fact, several elements of science can appear in logical deduction; that’s why hypotheses have to be logical and based on previous observation. To some extent, logic can be “peer reviewed,” in the sense that legal judgements can be reviewed in the appeals process to make sure that the reasoning of the decision is sound. Only science, though, creates a falsifiable test.

Science can overlap with authority, because scientists are often authorities. However, there is a difference between asserting that something is true and proving evidence that something is true. Also, while authority relies on credentials, science does not; if the methods of the test are sound, it doesn’t matter who is conducting the test. To put it another way, with science the value of the knowledge lies within the process, not the person.

In many respects, science is the opposite of intuition in the sense that science has rigorous rules, while intuition is an impulse. Similarly, intuition is based on feeling rather than observable tests.

3) Describe the rationale for having a mental health court.

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