In virtually every trial now someone hires at least one expert witness, and these witnesses are allowed to give opinions. It is rare that an expert is impartial and reasonable in the expression of those opinions. They give the opinions they are hired to give to assist the side hiring them to win the case. It is not unusual now to see experts charge $300-500 an hour! It is common for these experts to derive most of their income giving opinions. My general advice is the more an expert has testified and the more income their testifying has enriched them, the less you should believe them.
The real danger to our system of justice is that these experts are hired to convince jurors so the side hiring them wins the case. They are not hired to impartially help the jury determine the truth. We have seen experts who send bills after the trial and that bill is never seen or known by the jury, so their actual charges are concealed from the jury. The possibility therefore exists that the expert could charge more based on the outcome of the case, though they will testify that is not the way they are compensated. We have seen lawyers who have had people sitting out in the courtroom who signal an expert how to answer a question posed by the other lawyer. We have seen these experts volunteer a clue to a juror that the expert has something in common with the jury. In one case, the expert for the other side referred several times to the laws of physics because he knew one of the jurors had a husband who taught physics. We had a defense lawyer admit to us that prior to trial, an expert inquired how he could “help the case,” meaning what could he do to throw in a private signal to a juror or volunteer something unrelated to the question asked to assist the lawyers in his case.
Of course, not all experts are prostitutes for the side hiring them, but many are, so I offer this advice to prospective jurors: Regard with the greatest caution anything an expert witness says, and the more they have testified in court and the more they have charged to do so, the less you should be inclined to believe them. Start off with great skepticism until proved otherwise. No single threat to our jury system is greater than paid expert witnesses hired to sell the jury their version of what happened. It takes very careful attention by jurors to root out the frauds parading around as “experts” for hire. These expert witnesses have in some occasions testified so much that they know just how to act independent and fair. However, they are almost always neither. ~ Attorney Robert G. Kerrigan