Federal Rules of Evidence

Let’s assume you decide to become a CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) one day in the future. One of the roles you could become involved with as a CFE is being an expert witness in a court of law. For example, the State Department of Revenue or even your local IRS office might wish to retain you as an expert witness in a state or a federal individual income tax fraud case. The State may wish to engage you as an expert witness for the prosecution regarding the definition of what constitutes fraud in this type of situation. 

The first thing the State would wish to do is to qualify you as a credible, expert witness to the Court before you take the witness stand. It is important for you to understand the background of what the law defines as an expert witness before you get involved in providing professional services like above.


Research the Federal Rules of Evidence, including the Federal Rule of Evidence 702, which addresses the admissibility of testimony and expert testimony in a court of law. How would you summarize the Federal Rule of Evidence 702 as it was initial passed by Congress in 1975?


As you could probably imagine, the above definition regarding testimony and specifically what constitutes expert testimony has gone through the ringer in the Courts. The Supreme Court provided guidance on the admissibility of expert testimony under Rule 702 in 1993. In your own words, answer the following questions:

What was the name of the Supreme Court case?

Who were the parties in the case?

What were the facts of the case?

What was the issue? What was the ruling in the case?

What was the reasoning provided to support the ruling of the case?


Finally, there was disagreement after the above Supreme Court decision as to whether that decision applied to all expert testimony or only to scientific testimony. So, what happened to Rule 702 in 1999 and 2000 when the Supreme Court addressed this new issue related to the exact definition of what constitutes expert testimony?

Currently, what are the professions that are addressed by Rule 702 after all of the above Court cases were settled? Are accountants accepted as experts in a court of law in tax cases like I described above (yes or no)?