I have a murder trial with self defense issues next month where the defense will attempt to call Tim Tipton as an expert in the psychological aspects of self defense involving hand to hand combat, etc. Tipton's CV is impressive as a law enforcement officer and he says he is currently the Commander of the Oklahoma HP Emergency Services Unit and that he is a "Certified Police Use of Force Expert." He is not a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Anyone dealt with Tipton?
Is this even a legitimate field of expertise?
Is there such a thing as a Certified Police Use of Force Expert?
Ordinarily, the defendant is the only source of evidence of his or her state of mind at the time the offense is committed. See Osby v. State, 939 S.W.2d 787, 791 (Tex.App.-Fort Worth 1997, pet. ref'd). "Psychological aspects of self-defense" sounds very much to me like an attempt to express an opinion about the "reasonableness" of another's belief.
Moreover, this type of opinion runs contrary to the idea that no witness may express an opinion on a defendant's guilt. The reason for the rule is not because guilt is the ultimate issue of fact for the jury; opinion testimony often goes to the ultimate issue. Opinions on guilt or innocence are inadmissible because they are of no assistance to the trier of fact. The trier of fact is as competent as the witness to weigh the evidence and draw a conclusion on the issue of guilt or existence of a legal excuse. See Phillips v. Wainwright, 624 F.2d 585, 590 (5th Cir. 1980).
There is a training agency called the Force Science Institute. Some of our officers have trained there. Has this "expert" trained there? They might be a starting place for looking for an expert of your own. From my understanding, they deal with the science behind use of force- reaction time, etc.
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