May A Student Present Expert Witnesses In A Title IX Case?

New Title IX regulations define a process referred to as a live hearing that colleges and universities must conduct as part of sexual misconduct investigations. In a live hearing , the two parties (complainant and respondent), represented by advisors, take turns presenting evidence and asking questions to witnesses. A provision in the new regulations also allow parties to present expert witnesses.

What is an expert witness?

An expert witness is someone who has significant knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education in a field relevant to the case. They are generally called to provide an impartial, independent expert opinion based on the evidence. For example, a DNA analyst may be called to explain or analyze available DNA evidence. A medical professional may be called to explain medical imaging or physical examination results. A law-enforcement expert may be called to explain toxicology results. Multiple expert witnesses may be presented in a Title IX hearing.

What other ways can an expert witness help in a Title IX case?

An expert witness' role in a sexual assault case can sometimes extend to:

  • Identifying the issues and arguments to be made;
  • Reviewing clinical assessments of alleged victims;
  • Helping prepare the complainant or respondent for the hearing;
  • Explaining techical information that a lay person would not be expected to fully understand

What types of expert witnesses can help in a Title IX case?

The types of expert witnesses that may be considered relevant in a sexual assault case include:

  • Medical professionals
  • Law Enforcement Experts
  • Psychologists and Psychiatrists
  • Clinical Social Workers and Counselors

(Source: The Use of Expert Witnesses in Cases Involving Sexual Assault by Kimberly Lonsway, Ph.D.)

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North Carolina vs. M.W.
Charge: Charge: Robbery with A Dangerous Weapon (4 Counts), First Degree Burglary, Conspiracy to Commit Robbery with A Dangerous Weapon
Facing: 12 - 17 years in prison
Result: Dismissed

An incarcerated defendant accused our client of participating in the robbery of a group of youth at a party. We were able to raise doubt as to the credibility of this individual. In the end, the prosecutor dismissed these charges, citing a lack of evidence.