Although forensic experts are meant to be completely impartial when giving an expert opinion to the jury, they tend to favour the side which employs them.
A study found that while the experts believed they were being impartial, there was an “allegiance effect” which appeared to colour their judgements.
Researchers from the University of Virginia recruited 118 forensic psychologists and psychiatrists to evaluate a batch of case files on sexually violent offenders, telling them the work was commissioned by either prosecution or defence lawyers.
But although each expert reviewed the same four files and used the same system to assess the criminals, their judgements varied depending on who they believed was paying them.
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