Expert Witnesses in Criminal Cases in Florida
In many criminal cases in Florida, the prosecutor will use expert witnesses to testify at trial or during pre-trial motion hearings. The defense is also allowed to present relevant expert witness testimony in any criminal case in Florida.
At Sammis Law Firm, we have hired some of best expert witnesses in their respective fields. In many cases, just the fact that the prosecutor knows that the defense attorney has hired a particular expert might cause the prosecutor to make a better offer.
Additionally, these experts for Florida criminal cases can be critical in helping your criminal defense attorney develop the best defense and strategy to fight your case if it proceeds to a motion hearing or trial.
For example, in a typical DUI case, the prosecutor will call their own “expert witness,” which may include:
- the arresting officer who could testify about field sobriety tests (FSE);
- the arresting officer who could testify as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE);
- the breath test operator who will testify about the breath test machine,
- in self-defense cases to testify about the “use of force”; or
- a toxicology expert (toxicologist) to testify about blood test results.
The defense is also able to call their own expert witnesses in each of these areas to attack the Florida prosecutor’s case. Often the defense expert witness is much more qualified than the expert witness presented by the State of Florida.
When the client’s resources allow, our criminal defense and DUI lawyers understand the importance of using the most highly qualified expert witness for your Florida case. Many of our clients are surprised to learn that the expert witness fees are quite reasonable.
In many cases, the client can hire an expert witness who can be listed as an expert in the Florida criminal case, and review the evidence to help the attorney develop a particular defense. Often, the fact that the expert is listed as a witness makes the prosecutor’s case more difficult, which can help us negotiate a better offer or increase the likelihood that the charges will be dropped.
In many cases, the client does not incur the expense of having the expert travel to court to testify.
When the expert witness is utilized at a motion hearing or trial, the expert witness can often give the defense a huge advantage by helping the jurors or the court understand the issues that are most favorable to the defense.
Ballistics Expert in Florida
Josh Wright – a former Crime Laboratory Analyst at FDLE who analyzed firearms for functionality and safety, muzzle-to-target distance determination, serial number restoration, and compared test fires to questioned bullets and cartridge cases recovered from crime scenes. Find his website at https://wrightforensicconsulting.com/.
Brian Leppard – a former Georgia Bureau of Investigation lab supervisor/analyst in Brunswick, Georgia.
Expert in Latent Fingerprint Evidence
Gerald Rex, the owner of Rex Forensics, LLC, is based in Sarasota, FL (rexforensics.com – 917-699-3911). Gerald Rex specializes in latent fingerprint evidence. As a retired NYPD Detective, he has 23 years of law enforcement experience. During his last eighteen years in the department, he worked in forensics—with five years in evidence collection and thirteen years in latent prints. For the last ten years, he was assigned to the Major Case Satellite of the Latent Print Section, dealing primarily with homicides, rapes, deadly assaults, and terrorism. With over 600 criminal identifications, he has testified forty-seven times in the New York State court system and four times in federal trials. He worked for six years as the trainer for all incoming police officers to his unit and oversaw their six months of training. During this time, he trained twenty-seven officers, who all earned their detective shields in the Latent Print Section. Since 2011, he has been certified as a latent print examiner through the International Association of Identification (The IAI). Prior to his retirement, he assisted the Quality Assurance Director in bringing the latent print section up to ANAB Accreditation standards, which resulted in the section’s successful completion of all requirements and accreditation as an official ANAB Laboratory. After retiring in August 2019, he moved to Florida and started Rex Forensics in March 2020. His consulting firm can assist attorneys and clients in any fingerprint-related casework. With his fingerprint experience, he can review any identification and give the attorney an expert opinion as to the validity of results from a previous fingerprint examiner. With his experience in Quality Assurance, he is able to examine a case, compare it to the standard operating procedures of a given department, and look for any errors or missteps in the casework. He can also assist in trial preparation if needed.
This article was last updated on Monday, March 22, 2021.