Challenge to Expert Actuarial Testimony

In In re Detention of Campbell, 139 Wn.2d 341, 986 P.2d 771, 779 (1999), cert. denied, U.S. 121 S.Ct. 880, 148 L.Ed.2d 789 (2001), the court summarily rejected a challenge to expert actuarial testimony at a SVP commitment trial saying simply that predictions of future dangerousness are admissible and differences in opinion go to the weight of the evidence and not its admissibility. The dissent took the majority to task, however, stating that the real issue in the case was "whether the psychiatric community has accepted the reliability of either the clinical or actuarial method to predict dangerousness." Campbell, 986 P.2d at 787 (Sanders, J., dissenting). After discussing the scientific literature concerning actuarial methods, Judge Sanders concluded that "since neither the clinical nor the actuarial method to predict the likelihood of reoffense has gained general acceptance in the psychiatric community, the Frye standard has not been met. To hold otherwise would be to allow preference for result to dictate the boundaries of science." Id. at 788.