Expert testimony and visual evidence are staples of the U.S. courtroom. Yet their admissibility and use are highly controversial. Expert witnesses are sometimes condemned as mouthpieces for hire, partisans or purveyors of 'junk science.' High-tech displays such as computer simulations and digital images strike some jurists as too vivid or persuasive for courtroom use.
Jennifer Mnookin, an authority on legal evidence, discusses the current controversies surrounding expert testimony and visual evidence.
UCLA Law Professor Jennifer Mnookin studies, teaches, and writes in the areas of evidence theory, expert evidence, and law and culture, with a particular focus on law and film. She has studied the connections between science, law and culture, and currently focuses on the history of expert and visual evidence in the American courtroom.
Before joining the UCLA law faculty in 2005, Mnookin was a professor of law at the University of Virginia, and, in 2003-04, was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. She has served as chair of the American Association of Law Schools' Section on Evidence and as a member of the section's executive committee. Before becoming a law teacher, she held a Doctoral Fellowship at the American Bar Foundation from 1996-1998. She holds a PhD from MIT in Science, Technology and Society, a JD from Yale Law, and a bachelor's from Harvard.
She is widely published including articles in the Stanford Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, and the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, and has written op-ed pieces for the Washington Post, Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune.