Bowling v. Haeberlin, 2012 WL 4498647 (E.D. Ky. 2012)
Type of proceeding
Type of claim
Type of claim (second claim)
Expert evidence ruling reversing or affirming on appeal:
What was the ruling?
Type of evidence at issue:
Defense or Prosecution Expert
Name of expert(s) who were the subject of the ruling
Summary of reasons for ruling
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Did lower court hold a hearing
Names of prosecution expert(s) two testified at hearing
Names of defense expert(s) who testified at hearing (or None).
Discussion of 2009 NAS Report (NAS2009)
Discussion of 2016 PCAST report (PCAST)
Discussion of error rates / reliability
Limiting testimony ruling
Language imposed by court to limit testimony
Ruling based in prior precedent / judicial notice
Daubert ruling emphasizing – which factors – (list 1-5)
Ruling on qualifications of expert
Ruling on 702(a) – the expert will help / assist the jury
Ruling on 702(b) – the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data
Ruling on 702(c) – the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods
Ruling on 702(d) – reliable application of principles and methods to the facts of the case
Note: The method at issue here was comparative bullet lead analysis that compares the metallurgical analysis of th lead in the bullets. Here, the expert used this method to link the bullets from the various crime scenes with bullets from the ammunition box at defendant’s hosue
Note: This was a Brady violation claim, so it was not decided under 702, but did speak to the reliability of the methods.
Havekost’s 1991 study also did not completely discredit the CBLA evidence. On the contrary, the study emphasized that CBLA could produce “forensically significant” results linking a suspect, weapon, and victim. . . . even if Bowling had known about the 1991 study and used it to impeach Havekost, the prosecutor could have rehabilitated him with the conclusions supporting CBLA. And to the extent that Havekost’s study did cast doubt on the utility of CBLA techniques, that doubt was already present in the scientific literature. If a defendant can obtain information through “minimal investigation,” Brady does not require the government to disclose it. . . . Admittedly, the government’s obligation to disclose may be higher when its witness has authored a study casting doubt on his research methods. But by the time of Bowling’s trial, criminal defendants had been attacking the reliability of CBLA evidence for more than a decade. . . . Other metallurgical experts could have testified to the same flaws in CBLA at Bowling’s trial, regardless of whether they had consulted Havekost’s 1991 study.
Likewise, the true size of the FBI database would have had little effect on the jury’s verdict. Havekost claimed the database had “tens of thousands” of rounds, 21 T.E. 3121, when in reality in had fewer than 13,000, see R. 1 at 264. But the fact that none of the bullets from the Smith and Hensley shootings matched the FBI database was relatively unimportant. Havekost’s chief finding was that the bullets used in the murders and the Rockcastle Sunoco shooting shared the same chemical composition as the bullets in Bowling’s ammunition box. Bowling’s argument is akin to criticizing a fingerprint expert’s testimony that prints at the scene matched the defendant’s fingers by pointing out that the expert misstated the number of prints the police department has on file. Information about the FBI database was therefore insufficiently material to undermine confidence in the jury’s verdict.