Appendix F. Considerations for Working with Experts

Experts are often helpful, not only to explain evidence and educate the factfinder at trial, but also in assisting prosecutors with preparing for trial. It is well worth developing a network of experts available for consultation or testimony as needed. Experts who are unavailable or unsuitable for a particular case may be able to suggest others who can assist. The insight of an expert can assist in:

  • Analyzing the case and the evidence.
  • Assisting the prosecutor in understanding what happened and why.
  • Identifying evidence or factual scenarios that might be misunderstood by factfinders unless adequately explained at trial.
  • Improving the prosecutor’s or investigator’s rapport with victims based on a better understanding of what occurred.
  • Suggesting avenues of further investigation.
  • Explaining what scientific testing or medical examinations can and cannot tell you.
  • Preparing to cross-examine defense experts.
  • Providing assistance in developing a compelling theme and theory of the case.
  • Determining the risk an offender poses, for purposes of arguing bail conditions or sentencing.

The chart at the link below lists some areas of expert expertise which may be helpful or necessary in prosecuting cases of sexual violence, as well as suggestions for finding a suitable expert.

The chart includes the following areas of expertise:

  • DNA
  • Forensics
  • Medical
  • Offender Behavior
  • Technology
  • Toxicology
  • Victim Behavior
  • Victims with Cognitive Disabilities
Click here to view chart


21 132 S. Ct. 2221 (2012). For an in-depth discussion of these considerations, see Teresa M. Garvey, Williams v. Illinois and Forensic Evidence: The Bleeding Edge of Crawford, 11 Strategies (June 2013), available at

22 Id.