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Article
April 17, 1897

THE USE AND ABUSE OF EXPERT MEDICAL AND SURGICAL TESTIMONY AND SOME RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INCREASING THE VALUE OF SUCH TESTIMONY.

Author Affiliations

GENERAL ATTORNEY OF THE CHICAGO, ROCK ISLAND AND PACIFIC RAILWAY. CHICAGO, ILL.

JAMA. 1897;XXVIII(16):719-723. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440160001001

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Abstract

Expert testimony has no logical place in the common law theory of trial by jury. The admission of it, indeed, violates one of the cardinal principles on which the system is founded. The legitimate function of testimony in courts of law is to make known the facts relative to the cause in controversy. Inasmuch as these facts in general rest in the knowledge and recollection of persons, the ordinary medium for the ascertainment of them is the living witness. Owing to the infirmities of human nature, it results that the facts made known in a legal controversy through this medium are often, if not always, uncertain, confusing and contradictory. To deduce from this mass of uncertainty, confusion and contradiction a just conclusion as to the truth of the matter is the proper province of the jury. It is the theory of the law that in the process by which the

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