Thursday, March 03, 2011

Witnessing "experts"

Tom Ricks flags this article on "counter-terrorism instructors" who "certify" cops after inculcating them in the Glenn Beck School of Islamofascist Studies.
Kharoba told the class that there are two types of Muslims in America: "honest ones who Americanize their names, and those who use long Arabic names as a smokescreen. 'If I pull someone over at a traffic stop,' said Kharoba, 'I'll ask for a couple of IDs. And if I see different spellings of a name, my Christmas tree is lit up. That's probable cause to take them in.'"
This from a guy named "Kharoba"? What is that, Scottish? Ricks has more, or you can read the whole thing.

Mark Kleiman thinks what this story tells us about police "certification" as experts:
One point the piece doesn’t note: Having gone through this nonsense “training,” the officers will then be able to qualify themselves as “expert witnesses” in court. I’ve heard some astonishingly bad testimony from alleged police drug experts, claiming expertise from “trainings” just like this one. Judges seem quite incurious as to the content of the process that makes someone an “expert,” and it seems to be the convention that lawyers for the other side attack the testimony but not the capacity of the witness to offer an expert view in the first place.
I wonder how much discovery criminal-defense lawyers get into police "expert" qualifications? Not as much as in civil proceedings, I think.

... Oh, "Kharoba" is a Jordanian name. I guess it's a short Arabic name, which seems to place Mr. Kharoba in some third category.


  1. Just a note to let you know I used this particular post in a short presentation yesterday on "certifications" and "experts". Too funny that some don't recognize the irony of their own assertions of expertise and the fact that it appears to undermine their credibility when they don't follow their own axioms.


  2. Cool! TBA, here to enrich your life.