Monday, March 12, 2012

Daubert, Frye … or Both? Tracking Florida’s Buy-In

This just in from the BullsEye Blog: "For the second consecutive year, the Florida legislature is considering a bill that would change the standards for admission of expert witness testimony in Florida state courts. Slowly inching its way through the legislature, the bill suffered setbacks on March 8 when Senate amendments altered the language – and ostensibly the bite – of the original bill approved by the House in February.

At issue is whether Florida should adopt its own statutory version of Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and Daubert, and throw out the long-standing Frye standard currently employed in Florida state courts. If you’re waiting to see which direction Florida will ultimately go regarding the current Frye v. Daubert debate, don’t hold your breath. Opinions differ across the board, and the ultimate answer, if any, may be a little of both. ..."

"On February 24 the Florida House voted to approve HB 243, which sought to amend section 90.702 of the Florida Statutes by conforming the standards for admission of expert testimony in Florida state courts to those used in federal courts. Specifically, the bill sought to require that admission of expert testimony in Florida state courts be held to the same standards contained in Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and factors articulated in Daubert.

Florida currently uses the Frye standard in evaluating the admissibility of expert witness testimony. The Frye standard – considered by many to be less stringent than its federal counterpart – generally focuses on whether the underlying scientific principles are sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in their field.

The original House bill sought to openly reject the Frye standard and replace it with the federal factors enumerated in Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and the standards spelled out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Daubert and its progeny. ..."

"On March 8th, the amended version of the bill was adopted and passed by the Senate. The amended bill now awaits action from the House. If ultimately enacted into Florida law, the bill is slated to take effect July 1, 2012. ..."

Click here to read the rest of the story and find out what the folks are saying about this development.


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