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FSU Expert: Daubert Ruling Not Crystal Clear

Florida Supreme Court

A Florida State University law professor considered an authority on evidence rules predicts a recent Florida Supreme Court ruling will only sew confusion.

Justices refused to adopt the Legislature’s stricter standards for expert witnesses, commonly known as “Daubert,” but did not strike down the law. FSU emeritus professor Charles Ehrhardt says the ruling sends a conflicting message.

“It’s going to be difficult I think for trial judges and there will probably not be uniformity for a while in whether trial judges say, ‘well the court’s really rejecting Daubert and we’re going to go back to the old rule.’”

Business and conservative groups prefer “Daubert,” saying it makes it harder for so-called “junk science” to sway juries. Critics say the more liberal “Frye” standard raises fewer concerns about access to the courts.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.