Defense expert


New Member
Does "defense expert" mean "defense attorney"? Or can it also stand for a professional expert whom the court asks his opinion about a specific matter? If the second is true, it would mean that both defense and prosecution have their own experts, wouldn't it? It's an American court by the way...

The phrase in question is from Daniel Schacter's "Searching for Memory", a book on how memory works...

The exact context:

"The court found reason to believe that the true Ivan might have been one Ivan Marchenko, who had vanished once the war ended. Wagenaar served as a defense expert for Demjanjuk, and his detailed analysis of the case, published in 1988, after Demjanjuk had been convicted, raises serious questions about the kinds of questioning and identification procedures that led people to recognize Demjanjuk as Ivan."

In the passage there's no mention of an attorney or how Wagenaar served in the court, so I can't figure out whether "defense expert" stands for an attorney or an expert.

If you can help me with this, I'll be thankful.

  • xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    I suspect he's an expert in a field who was called in to give testimony.

    Googling "Wagenaar defense expert" (no quotes) seems to bear this out.

    P.S. Awesome awesome context, you are my hero.


    English--American (upstate NY)
    There's another meaning for "defense expert," but in the context cited here, it appears that Wagenaar provided some specialized expertise for the defense, either in Demjanjuk's trial in Israel or in the legal proceedings concerning his deportation from the U.S. If he had testified in court, he would have been an expert witness, but the cited passage indicates that he provided knowledge to the defense attorneys but did not appear in open court for examination and cross-examination. Had he worked for the other side, he would have been a prosecution expert or government expert. But since he worked for Demjanjuk's attorneys, he was a defense expert.
    < Previous | Next >