The Social Scientist in Court

  • Marvin E. Wolfgang


Every profession has its own conflicts of interests, ethical issues and relativities. As a sociologist and, more particularly, as a criminologist, I have encountered a few. Although they were not excessively troublesome and may not even have bothered some of my colleagues, they nevertheless did cause me to be cautious. Among such encounters were those related to my role as a social scientist testifying as an “expert witness” for civil rights causes.


Expert Witness Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Arrest Record Field Investigator Capital Sentencing 
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  1. i.
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    iii See Wolfgang and Riedel, Race, Judicial Discretion, and the Death Penalty,in BLACKS AND THE LAW (J. Greenberg ed. 1973).Google Scholar
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    Fora history of the use of the research data, see Meltsner supra note 4, at 73–105.Google Scholar
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    See Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972); G. MYRDAL, THE NEGRO PROBLEM AND MODERN DEMOCRACY (1962). Myrdal’s An American Dilemma (1944) is one of the important sociological studies referred to in Brown v. Board of Education, 347.U. S. 483, 495 n. 1l (1954).Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

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  • Marvin E. Wolfgang

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