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t is finally time to add academic sources to the mix! In the Forward of your textbook, the author discusses the issues prosecutors and defense attorneys have concerning the CSI effect and how it impacts juries. You need to take a stance on both issues (specifically the two issues discussed on paragraphs 3 and 4 on page XV). Review the video for this module for the exact paragraphs you need to address. Do you agree with the prosecutor’s complaint about the CSI effect? Why or why not? Do you agree with the defense attorney’s complaint about the CSI effect? Why or why not? Remember you can only give supported opinions. Keep the following guidelines in mind when writing your expert witness testimony:

  • Your intended audience is still the jury. This means explaining concepts and processes in a way that is easily accessible by the majority of the population. Ask yourself: would a high school graduate understand your testimony?
  • You must use your textbook and at least four academic/scholarly sources to support your findings. Failure to use four academic/scholarly sources will result in a lower grade.
  • Each of the following sections are required and should have their own header. Failing to give the correct information in the correct section will result in a lower grade:
    • Introduction
    • Results & opinion
    • Broad description of the process
    • Detailed analysis
    • Information & data used
  • Make sure you state your stance often and support any opinions you make. Making unsupported or poorly supported statements will result in a lower grade.
  • Cite your sources using the APA citation format (both in-text and reference list).
  • Typically, this assignment should be around three to four pages, double-spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman font. There is not a strict word/page assignment, but if your paper is not at least three pages, you may not have gone into enough detail on the topic.
  • You will be graded on whether you adequately covered the topic. See the grading rubric below for more details on how this assignment will be evaluated. A good testimony:
    • Summarizes the information from the sources listed above.
    • Is written in a way that is accessible for the general public.
    • Includes correct APA citations.
    • Is organized in a logical manner.
    • Adequately supported your stance/findings with evidence from the approved sources.
    • Correctly organized your expert witness report as discussed in the video for this assignment. Remember an expert witness report is very different than a research paper.
    • Used at least four academic/scholarly sources to support your stance. Make sure you check out the links in the Testimony Help section for this module for how to search for academic/scholarly sources.


The purpose of this assignment is to help you practice finding academic sources that support your stance.

Skills and Knowledge

This assignment will help you practice the following skills:

  1. Explain a complex concept in a way that is easy for your reader to understand.
  2. Practice using APA citations.
  3. Practice organizing your writing in a logical manner.
  4. Supporting your argument in a clear manner.
  5. Correctly organize an expert witness report.
  6. Use of academic/scholarly sources to support your conclusion.


  1. Search for your academic/scholarly sources using FIU’s library page. I’ve linked several videos in the Testimony Help section of the module; I suggest you review them. Keep in mind a webpage you found on Google is probably not an academic/scholarly source.
  2. The introduction section is not about introducing your research; it is all about introducing you and why you are considered an expert witness. This will probably be only a few sentences for most of you.
  3. The broad description gives a general overview of your findings while the detail analysis gives specifics on what information you used to come to your conclusion:
    • Broad: “I analyzed testimony 1 using my textbook and X source. According to the information from my sources, the expert witness did A correctly”
    • Detailed: “According to the textbook, an expert witness should not be hostile towards the opposing lawyer. However, the expert witness was hostile as shown by their harsh tone and their refusal to directly answer the question”
  4. Only give an opinion if it can be supported by evidence within the approved sources. If you can’t find a fact in the approved sources to back up your statement, do not make the statement!
  5. Repeat your stance/findings often throughout your testimony. Juries (and people in general) are more likely to remember information that is repeated several times. Start off with your stance/findings and directly tie your supporting evidence to your stance/findings throughout your ‘testimony’.
    • “It is my opinion that we should do X about plea deals”; “studies show that X is an effective way to discourage unethical behavior by prosecutors offering unfair plea bargains, which is why I believe X would reduce the occurrences of unethical plea deals”; “X was implemented in Wakanda, and they saw a significant decrease in wrongful convictions reached via plea deals. This supports the use of X as a solution to innocent people accepting plea bargains”; etc. Notice how the last two statements take the opportunity to tie the supporting evidence directly to my stance? This is a great way to show your stance/findings are well supported and allows you to repeat your stance/findings throughout the ‘testimony’. Repeating your stance either in the same sentence as your evidence or directly after your evidence also gives a clear indication of why you mentioned a specific study or example.
  6. Avoid using ‘it’, ‘them’, ‘they’, or ‘that’ when referring to a concept.
    • What not to do: “Plea deals should be disallowed from our court system. X study showed they are responsible for a large number of wrongful convictions”. Notice how I used ‘they’ instead of ‘plea deals’? This is considered a vague statement as it is not always clear what you are referring to when you say ‘they’ or something similar.
  7. Do not be bias. Admit limitations and obstacles or when another solution may be a better fit in certain situations. Admitting your limitations allows you to address why your stance/findings are still valid, even with the obstacles.
    • “X requires more funds than Y. However, Y only addresses the short-term issues rather than mitigating unethical behavior which is the root of the problem. X directly addresses unethical behavior by prosecutors, so it is still the best solution”.
  8. Keep to high school graduate level vocabulary. You are writing for the general public (most of which has at least a high school diploma or the equivalent), so your writing should be accessible. Keep in mind the jury will have to rely on your written report when deliberating on a verdict and won’t be able to ask you “what did you mean when you wrote…”.
  9. Keep it simple when explaining concepts to the jury. Do not use professional jargon or terms without defining them in a way the majority of the population can understand.
  10. Educate the jury. Do not assume they have a greater understanding of the criminal justice system. Ask yourself: would a typical high school graduate know about this subject? If the answer is no, then you need to explain the concept. If I am an expert witness testifying about a DNA analysis I did, I would educate the jury on what the analysis entails.


Pretend you are an expert witness that is writing a report for the jury. Write a ‘testimony’ about the CSI effect arguments discussed in the Forward of your textbook. You need to take a stance on both issues (specifically the two issues discussed on paragraphs 3 and 4 on page XV). Do you agree with the prosecutor’s complaint about the CSI effect? Why or why not? Do you agree with the defense attorney’s complaint about the CSI effect? Why or why not? You must use at least four academic/scholarly sources to support your stance.


Quotes are not allowed for any assignments. You will receive a lower grade if you correctly quote something. In addition, incorrectly quoting something is considered plagiarism. Keep in mind you had to take a plagiarism quiz (which includes examples) at the beginning of the semester, so you will not be able to claim ignorance. If what you have written falls under any of the listed categories or fails to give full credit to the original author, you will receive an academic complaint.

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