The admissibility of scientific testimony in courts of law has been challenged in the United States, Canada and throughout the world. As a result, several standards (e.g., Daubert, Frye) have been established over the years through legal decisions to provide guidance to the Court when encountering expert witness testimony. This means that the Court may require an admissibility hearing prior to a witnesses testifying in front of the jury after which the Court will either allow or disallow the expert witness' testimony.
Due to the frequent nature of these admissibility hearings with respect to footwear impression evidence, SWGTREAD published an organized set of references specific to footwear impression evidence. These resources were intended to aid footwear examiners when preparing for a hearing and also to educate the criminal justice community. In March 2008, SWGTREAD published the Daubert Resource Kit (DRK) on CD. Up until February 2011, this information was disseminated via snail mail to interested individuals.
With the inception of the SWGTREAD website in 2009, SWGTREAD decided to move the contents of the DRK online rather than produce a revised CD. The result is the Admissibilty Resources. With SWGTREAD no longer in existence, these resources have been migrated to Tread Forensics.
The Admissibility Resources are not all-inclusive. Tread Forensics acknowledges that there are shortcomings with respect to this information. However, efforts have been made to provide as much information as possible, including hyperlinks and downloadable files whenever possible.
This resource is organized into three sections for easy access via the menus on the right side of this page.
- Background Information—This section comprises introductory information which lays the foundation for admissibility of scientific testimony in the U.S. This is not exhaustive in nature, but rather an introduction to the major court decisions affecting forensic science testimony today.
- Court Materials—This section comprises federal and state court decisions and other court-related information that impact the admissibility of footwear impression evidence and its associated expert witness testimony in U.S.. courts of law.
- Reference Materials—This section comprises a list of published information and links to relevant professional organizations, presentations, etc. Also, the case of U.S. v Mahone is detailed as a case study to provide an example of what can be expected when there is a challenge to the admissibility of footwear impression evidence. It is an example of a Daubert admissibility challenge from start to finish.