Can an expert witness be cross-examined about inconsistencies in his CV in a criminal child abuse case?
A Florida court, in the case of KAREEM DANIEL FARRELL, v. STATE OF FLORIDA, No. 4D13-2589, May 13, 2015 held he should.
The court stated:
Appellant next called Dr. Lloyd, a biomechanist with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Appellant asked Dr. Lloyd generally about his education, scientific studies, publication history, and professional experience. Dr. Lloyd testified that a fall would be more likely to cause these injuries than shaking, because the neck ligaments would absorb some of the momentum in a shaking motion. He stated that he conducted a study which determined the average adult was incapable of generating sufficient acceleration to cause brain injury by shaking. He also stated that shaking was incapable of causing retinal bleeding, but instead blamed increased pressure in the brain.
On cross-examination and over defense objection, the state questioned Dr. Lloyd about inconsistencies in prior versions of his curriculum vitae. Specifically, his C.V. from October 2012 stated that he was a professor of medicine at University of South Florida (“USF”). By January 2013, this C.V. entry now stated that his status as professor was “in process.” By March 2013, any reference to being a professor at USF was removed entirely.
Dr. Lloyd explained that these C.V. changes were due to a misunderstanding with the university. He initially believed he had received a “courtesy appointment” as a professor of medicine at USF, but when the department chairman was replaced, he learned his application had not been completed. The state also asked about a cease and desist letter sent to Dr. Lloyd by the university asking him to take the alleged position off his website. He explained that different positions and titles help in the grant application process and in securing funding.
In closing argument, the state referenced this line of questioning by telling the jury, “Again, is this someone who is overstating his credentials, who has an interest in making money from this case?”
The court found the cross-examination of the expert about his CV and its prior version was proper.
The court stated:
In the instant case, the state cross-examined Dr. Lloyd about prior versions of his C.V. listing job titles he never officially held. Such questioning was “germane to the matters brought out on direct examination,” because appellant’s counsel asked Dr. Lloyd about his professional experience and credentials for testifying as an expert. Steinhorst, 412 So. 2d at 337. The state was entitled to cross-examine Dr. Lloyd regarding his qualifications as they related to his credibility as an expert. Flores, 787 So. 2d at 957; Steinhorst, 412 So. 2d at 337. Thus, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the state’s questioning.