Welcome to the Alabama
Department of Forensic Sciences
TESTIMONY AND CONSULTATION

Testimony and Consultation



Overview

ADFS Toxicology provides expert witness services to include testimony (e.g. trial and deposition), consultation, and written affidavits.

For guidelines governing Toxicology testimony, see ANSI/ASB Best Practice Recommendation 037, First Edition 2019. Guidelines for Opinions and Testimony in Forensic Toxicology

A toxicologist may be asked to express an expert opinion or to testify as a fact or expert witness. Fact witnesses typically testify to the work performed in the laboratory that includes scientific principles, instrumentation, quality assurance procedures, and/or chain of custody. Expert witnesses typically testify to their own interpretation of results and/or opinions.


Criminal Cases

Toxicology subpoenas and testimony are managed by the Chief Toxicologist. Cases may include, but are not limited to, DUIs, homicides, drug facilitated sexual assault, and child endangerment cases. Consultation to the prosecution and/or defense is free of charge for any case worked by ADFS. This also includes calculations such as hospital serum to whole blood conversions, retrograde extrapolations (i.e. determining a blood alcohol concentration at a previous point in time) , Widmark calculations (i.e. determining the number of drinks required to reach a specific blood alcohol concentration), and time since last use estimations for marijuana. Please contact Dr. Curt E. Harper, Ph.D., F-ABFT for criminal consultation, testimony, or related inquires. Predicate questions are available upon request.


Civil Cases

Toxicology subpoenas and testimony are managed by the Chief Toxicologist. Cases may include, but are not limited to, wrongful death, workplace injury, and DRAM shop cases.

Code of Alabama (1975) 36-18-8, allows ADFS to charge for time spent by its employees in private lawsuits arising from cases worked by the department. The fee is $300.00 per hour and is applied to time spent for Trial preparation, Testimony, Depositions, Travel, Consultations, and Time spent in any additional actions imposed by private lawsuits arising from criminal investigations. The minimum time charged is one hour. If an employee is contacted for such services, the requestor should be apprised of the fees and advised that the fee should be paid to ADFS in advance of the court appearance. The checks should be forwarded to Headquarters for deposit into the Forensic Services Trust Fund.

Please contact Dr. Curt E. Harper, Ph.D., F-ABFT for civil consultation, testimony, or related inquires. Click here to view Dr. Harper's curriculum vitae.


Video Testimony

ADFS is proud to offer video testimony as an option to the courts of Alabama. To date, we have successfully given video testimony over 25 times in over 10 different jurisdictions. This service is permitted by the Code of Alabama 12-21-135.1 (click for more detailed information). Our IT Director has drafted a document detailing the minimal video testimony technical requirements that outlines what the courtroom needs to participate in this service.


Confrontation clause

For more information on the confrontation clause as it pertains to the Sixth Amendment, please review the document drafted by ADFS Legal Counsel. An independent supervisory technical and administrative review can be performed and documented on an approved checklist form. This allows for the Chief Toxicologist or Supervisor to cover both fact and expert testimony related to a specific case.