Challenging and Working with Expert Witnesses
June 30, 2017 1:30 p.m. ET, 90 minutes
Webinar Faculty: Andre Vitale, Special Assistant Public Defender, Training Director
About the webinar: This presentation will address the challenges and potential pitfalls faced when a case involves the use of an expert witness, whether it is for the prosecution or the defense. In order to be effective a defense lawyer must retain and consult a defense expert every time the prosecution gives notice of intent to call an expert witness. We will discuss strategies for challenging the admissibility, the scope, and the weight of the prosecution’s proffered “expert” testimony. Part of this conversation will include the importance of challenging long admitted expert testimony under either Frye or Daubert, when developments in research reveal questions about reliability. Preparing for trial when a case involves an expert requires a great deal of commitment and research by the defense lawyer, even when a defense expert is expected to be called. This presentation will address the importance for the defense lawyer to become well versed in the discipline pertaining to the particular prosecution expert through research and investigation, even when a defense expert will likely testify. We will also discuss strategies and tips for working with a defense expert in order to make her testimony the most effective at trial.
About the faculty: Andre Vitale (Rochester, NY) Starting July 2017 (Assistant Training Director, King County Department of Public Defense [Seattle, WA]), following 18 plus years at the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office where he has served as Special Assistant Public Defender, trial lawyer, and Training Director. During his work as Training Director Andre created new and innovative programs designed to help attorneys develop legal skills; confidence in their abilities; and inspire lawyers to serve as client–centered, relentless advocates. He developed programs designed for new attorneys as they start their careers as public defenders, as well as advanced trial skills programs for more experienced lawyers. He assisted the Montana Office of the State Defender and the Missouri State Public Defender’s Office in developing a Defending a Child Sex Case to train attorneys in their state. As a trial lawyer, Andre carried a full caseload representing individuals charged with Violent Felonies and Major Drug Crimes. He has significant trial experience having litigated more than 90 jury trials, developing an expertise in defending sex cases and challenging DNA evidence. Andre is on the faculty of Gideon’s Promise (gideonspromise.org); the Bronx Defenders Trial Academy; the Louisiana Public Defender Training Institute; the Litigation and Persuasion Institute (Department of Public Advocacy, Kentucky); the King County Public Defender (Seattle, WA) Litigation Training Academy; Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Institute Trial Advocacy Workshop, the Trial Litigation Institute (New Jersey State Defender); the ADC Trial Advocacy Program (Colorado State Defender), and Legal Aid Society’s (NYC) DNA Defense College. He is both a presenter and frequent blog contributor for the National Association of Public Defense (publicdefenders.us). Andre serves as a member the Racial Justice Committee for NAPD. Due to his passion and commitment to client–centered representation, Andre has received the Kevin Andersen Award by the New York State Defender’s Association (NYSDA) and the Denison Ray Award by the New York State Bar Association. In addition to his legal accomplishments, Andre has finished eighteen marathons.