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False expert testimony could trigger a new trial

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- False or outdated testimony from an expert witness could be enough to trigger a new trial under a bill working its way through the Legislature.

SB1058 by Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco responds to a 2012 state Supreme Court decision that denied a new trial for a man who said he had been convicted in part because of false testimony from an expert witness.

The justices ruled that expert testimony is merely an opinion and thus cannot be considered true or false. As such, the justices said it cannot be grounds for an appeal.

The Senate on Thursday approved the legislation changing that on a 24-9 vote, sending it to the Assembly.

Republican lawmakers sought assurances that experts could not be sued if they testified in good faith.

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