Judge Womack contends that our exclusion of expert conclusions concerning the truthfulness of allegations is illogical. He isolates three different types of statements that an expert might make: (1) children who are fantasizing or being manipulated behave in certain ways, (2) this child did not behave in those ways, and (3) this child was not fantasizing or being manipulated. He claims that (3) necessarily follows from (1) and (2), and, because we permit expert statements of the type (1) and (2) variety, we must necessarily permit conclusions of type (3). But, for his argument to work, Judge Womack must assume that the expert testifies that all children who are fantasizing or being manipulated behave in certain ways. If only some exhibit the behaviors in question then a conclusion that a particular child is not fantasizing or being manipulated because he does not exhibit the behaviors does not necessarily follow. But, given the imprecision of psychological science and the variability of human nature, no competent and honest expert could make the global statement necessary to satisfy Judge Womack's syllogism. At most, statements of type (1) and (2) would provide some inductive support for a conclusion of type (3). But an expert opinion of type (3) would also be supported by personal observations and lay knowledge of human behavior. The latter is clearly the exclusive province of the jury, and the former, along with statements of type (1) and (2) can be imparted to the jury by the expert. The jury can then make the inferences necessary to determine whether a type (3) conclusion is warranted without the expert commenting on that issue.This is good legal food for philosophical thought.
coming soon: the law of evidence on Spindle Law