Re: [SACC-L] "expert witness" advice
This might be a good question to bring to a wider anthropology audience. You might try posting it on the Savage Minds blog or the Culture Matters blog.
Anthony Balzano, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology & Sociology
Chairperson, Department of Social Sciences & History
Sussex County Community College
1 College Hill
Newton, NJ 07461
>>> "laurabathurst" <bathurst@...> 03/06/2009 09:38 PM >>>Hello all,
I was contacted today by the local public defender in Stockton, California, where I live, regarding a case concerning a Mexican immigrant. I will quite likely be called to serve as an "expert witness" in a case next week. I've never done this before, and while I'm certainly doing a lot of research about the cultural issues involved in the case as preparation, my questions for you all are practical--regarding 1) fees and 2) "presentation of self" (although I welcome any comments on the case specifics, as well.)
The truth is, I'd do this for free, given my understanding of the case and my belief that the true value of anthropology lies in its application to the real world, particularly to issues of social justice. However, as I get older I am coming to understand the importance of being compensated for my time, both for practical reasons as well as to assist others in, uhhem, valuing in what I have to say.
Have any of you done this before? Are you willing to share with me fees you charge or, less personally, what you know the going rate for anthropological testimony to be?
In addition, do any of you have tips for how to present content in a manner appropriate to a court context? (A former professor told me to talk in sound bites. I'll be spending my weekend generating sound bites appropriate to this context.) Any other tips? Stories? Advice that you wish you'd know before you went?
I am quite nervous about this. I prefer informal, behind the scenes participation in causes I believe in, but there's no one to pass the buck to on this one.
In case you're wondering, the case involves a Mexican immigrant (resident alien) who is about to be required to register as a sexual offender. Social Services became involved when a day care provider reported that the 4 year old in question 1) asked a little girl if she wanted to eat meatballs off his pecker, 2) poked another girl in the butt (I don't have more information on that one, at present), and 3) draws lots of pictures of penises. On investigation, It seems that the behavior everyone is saying the grandfather engages in is repeatably cupping (not fondling or stroking) the 4 year old's genitalia for about 3 seconds while saying "peckerin" (little pecker).
My contact info to shoot me responses off list is:
Thanks in advance for any help you might be willing and able to give.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Studies
School of International Studies
University of the Pacific