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Direct Examination of Security Experts

NCJ Number
Trial Volume: 34 Issue: 3 Dated: March 1998 Pages: 28-30-34
P S Everett
Date Published
7 pages
Security experts are pivotal in establishing liability in inadequate security cases; in conducting direct examination of a security expert, it is essential the testimony have structural anchors that track themes of the liability case.
Direct examination should achieve several fundamental goals: (1) ensure the plaintiff has established a prima facie case sufficient to overcome a motion to strike; (2) place the significance of prior factual testimony in context; (3) allow the plaintiff to address the counterintuitive notion that a property owner or manager should be held liable for a third party's criminal acts; and (4) show jurors why the crime was foreseeable, why the defendant's actions were unreasonable, and how they led or substantially contributed to the crime. Counsel should avoid spending a lot of time qualifying the security expert at the start of a direct examination when the jury is primed and paying attention. In presenting testimony, security experts must address foreseeability, negligence, proximate cause, and allocation of fault. The issues security experts most commonly address are the reasonableness of the defendant's security program and its implementation on the day of the crime. Expert testimony is pivotal in proving liability in inadequate security cases, and a skillful direct examination should be based on common sense principles jurors can understand. 10 notes


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