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Every trial lawyer knows that a good expert witness can win a case.
It often comes down to a battle of the experts, and their credentials are critical. A strong curriculum vitae, backed by research, is the calling card of a qualified expert.
That's why one thing always kills a lawyer's expert witness: fake research. Sometimes, it is staring you in the face.
Dean Maynard Boland was that kind of expert witness. An Ohio lawyer, he had developed a business as an expert in child pornography cases.
At trial, defense counsel would argue their clients didn't knowingly view or possess child porn. As an expert, Boland would show images of children and explain how they could be manipulated to create child pornography.
In one trial, a prosecutor said Boland committed a crime himself by creating the child porn. A judge ordered him to delete the images, and Boland entered a pretrial diversion program.
That was not the end of the story, however. Boland had downloaded stock images of children to create the fake child porn, and two of those children grew up and sued.
Each plaintiff obtained $150,000 judgment against Boland, who then filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court ruled the judgments could be discharged.
The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. In Roe v. Boland, the appeals court said Boland admitted creating the child porn and established his civil liability as a matter of law.
Boland could not discharge the debts because he knew the "harms inherent in violating child pornography laws," the panel said. After all, he was an expert.
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