Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals: a new standard for scientific evidence in the courts?

H. Zonana,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law 22(3): 309-25, 1994.
The Supreme Court, in Daubert v. Merrell Dow explored the guidelines for admitting "scientific evidence" by way of expert opinion in legal cases. The Federal Rules of Evidence that were revised in 1975 did not explicitly mention the Frye standard and thus left it unclear as to what guidelines should be used by judges in federal courts. The Court held that the Frye rule was superseded by the new Rules and that the judge had to exercise some gatekeeping functions. An expert with sufficient credentials and something relevant to say was an insufficient standard. The implications of this ruling for psychiatric expert testimony are reviewed.