Margaret M. van Naerssen, PhD, (Applied Linguistics - language development and sociolinguistics) is an Expert in Second Language Development and Language Assessment, as well as Language in Social Contexts. Since 1997, she has done consultant work in forensic contexts, focusing primarily on cases involving non-native English speakers.
Dr. van Naerssen brings her over 50 years of world-wide experience (US and 47 other countries) to legal cases involving non-native English speakers. She has strong language skills in Portuguese and Spanish, and range of functional skills in Dutch, French, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and some exposure to German, Malay, Cantonese, Russian, Samoan, Arabic, and Urdu. This gives her valuable insights on what it is like to be a non-native speaker and to function in different cultures. She has also specialized in workplace and professional communications especially in science and technology.
Since the early 1990s she has also been an English language specialist in short-term assignments through the US Department of State, the US Agency for International Development, the Asia Foundation, and the US Fulbright Commission. Assignments have been in South America, Asia, North Africa, and two independent consultancies in Taiwan and a consultancy in northern France.
Dr. van Naerssen has taken a semester-long citizens' police academy course. She's made presentations at the FBI Academy, at a Florida Association of Defense Lawyers CLE, and at The Smithsonian Institute in a forensic sciences series. She was also was opening plenary speaker at a Pennsylvania State Trial Judges Conference.
Dr. van Naerssen has primarily consulted and testified in Forensic Linguistic cases involving non-native English speakers. She’s worked with both defense and prosecution primarily in criminal cases including murder, rape, drugs, money laundering, telecom fraud, robbery, illegal arrests, coercive interrogations, terrorist conspiracy, and violations of the Federal Individual Disabilities Act. Civil cases have included contract and plain language guidelines, slander, and medical malpractice.
Dr. van Naerssen has worked primarily on cases in Daubert jurisdictions with one Frye exception, a state hearing in Pennsylvania. Her other 7 state cases (Daubert) have been in Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Virginia (mixed Daubert & Frye).
Federal cases in which she has provided expert support have been in the US District Court jurisdictions of Western District of Oklahoma, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, District of Southern California, Southern District of New York, District Court in Waco, Texas, and the District Court of Hawai’i. Three federal cases also involved the US Military, two of which proceeded to hearings and then to one testimony in a court martial trial (US Navy: San Diego and Great Lakes). Another federal case involved the US Department of Labor.
Dr. van Naerssen has testified in 5 federal courts, in hearings, depositions stipulated by judge, and in bench trials.
This is a summary report on a sting operation case I worked on as an applied linguist. In it the target was a non-native English speaker with a beginner level of English proficiency. The sting setting was a discount store. The undercover officer attempted to persuade a store employee to buy jugs of alleged stolen liquid detergent for sale in the store.