Computer-Generated Trial Exhibits: A Post-Daubert Update 1999-01-0101
Taking as its reference a pre-Daubert set of predictions [Bo:91] regarding the judicial reception to computer-generated (CG) animations and simulations, this paper surveys and analyzes the appellate rulings regarding CG imagery in the wake of the Daubert decision [Da:93]. It also reports on a survey carried out by the authors among 39 active accident reconstructionists regarding CG imagery that these investigators have encountered in their work. The results of this survey suggest that the use in court of CG animations is much less common than one might infer from either the popular press or the accident reconstruction press. The paper concludes that Daubert will in the short run, though probably not in the long, produce some strange results with respect to both acceptance and rejection of CG animations and simulations. Finally, the paper addresses the problems inherent in having an animation prepared without direct and continued input from the accident reconstructionist who is intended to use it as illustrative material in court. As part of this final topic, the paper sets out the respective rationales for demanding various levels of discovery on CG animations.