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December 18, 2002

Standards for Medical Expert Testimony

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior Editor


Not Available


Copyright 2002 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2002American Medical Association

JAMA. 2002;288(23):2971. doi:10.1001/jama.288.23.2971-JLT1218-2-2

To the Editor: Drs Kassirer and Cecil1 do not mention the current 2-tier legal system for scientific admissibility. Initially, the Frye test2 required scientific testimony expressed in terms of reasonable medical certainty (95%) that achieved general acceptance in the community. This principle was accepted in both federal and state courts. However, it was found to be too restrictive; in June 1973, the Supreme Court held that sections 702 and 703 of the Federal Rules of Evidence superceded the Frye test, thereby liberalizing general acceptance on medical probability (to 51%).3

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