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A Guide to Forensic Testimony: The Art and Practice of Presenting Testimony As An Expert Technical Witness


Information technology is an increasingly large factor in legal proceedings. In cases large and small, from the U.S. Government's antitrust suit against Microsoft Corporation, to civil lawsuits filed over the failure of a network, to criminal cases in which the authenticity of electronic evidence is questioned, the testimony of a technical expert is essential. But in order to be effective, an expert technical witness needs much more than an understanding of the technology in question.

A Guide to Forensic Testimony is the first book to address the specific needs of the IT expert witness. It will arm you with the tools you need to testify effectively. Inside you'll find everything from an overview of basic witness responsibilities and challenges to a deeper exploration of what produces successful technical testimony. Written by a computer security authority who has served as a technical witness, and a trial attorney who focuses on how digital evidence and computer forensics are altering litigation, this book is your guide to the complicated forensic landscape that awaits the expert technical witness.

This book contains a wealth of wisdom and experience from the front lines, including firsthand accounts of the challenges faced by expert technical witnesses, practical in-court examples, and helpful advice. Among the topics covered are:

  • The evolution of the expert IT witness and the growing legal dependence on technical expertise
  • Legal criteria established to determine the qualifications and abilities of a technical expert to stand as a witness
  • The kinds of cases and problems that are apt to be encountered in digital forensic assignments
  • Damage caused when the rules of professionalism and ethics are ignored or misapplied
  • The construction and maintenance of a solid professional relationship between expert and attorney
  • The creation and use of visual tools in courtroom testimony
  • Ways to improve the demeanor and non-verbal communication skills of the technical witness

Whether you are an information technologist asked to serve as an expert witness, a legal professional who works with information technology experts, a corporate risk manager, or a client whose interests are affected by the performance of IT experts, you will benefit greatly from A Guide to Forensic Testimony.

About the Author

Fred Chris Smith is an experienced trial attorney who directed economic crime prosecutions for four consecutive New Mexico state attorneys general. For nearly twenty years he has also provided education and training programs throughout the country and abroad, in digital evidence and computer forensics. He has been involved as an attorney, business advisor, and teacher with information technology and legal professionals who are encountering the rapidly changing problems presented by electronic evidence in criminal cases, in the investigation of corporate network fraud and abuse, and in civil litigation. He currently serves as an Assistant United States Attorney.

Rebecca Gurley Bace is a recognized network security authority and consultant. Her career includes work with the National Security Agency, where her contribution to building the national intrusion detection research community earned her an NSA Distinguished Leadership Award. After the NSA, she became the Deputy Security Officer for the Computing Information and Communications Division of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she was responsible for one of the world's most complex security-critical computing environments. She is currently President/CEO of Infidel, Inc., and a Venture Partner for Trident Capital. Bace is the author of Intrusion Detection (Macmillan Technical Publishing, 2000).

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