Skip to content

Burchett v. State, 172 N.E. 555 (Ct. App. Ohio 1930)

Case (cite)
Burchett v. State, 172 N.E. 555 (Ct. App. Ohio 1930)
Type of proceeding
Type of claim
Type of claim (second claim)
Expert evidence ruling reversing or affirming on appeal:
What was the ruling?
Correct to Admit
Type of evidence at issue:
Firearms identification
Defense or Prosecution Expert
Name of expert(s) who were the subject of the ruling
A.F. White
Summary of reasons for ruling
On the admissibility of firearms testimony: The court compares the development in firearms testimony to that of fingerprint testimony and photography and holds that it is admissible. "Without, therefore, assuming to say that a particular fired ball will bear so distinctive a mark upon it, due to the structure of the gun from which it has *470 been fired, as to enable one to identify the gun, we do hold that this is a proper field of evidence, and, it being certainly a field with the ordinary juror is unfamiliar, the opinion of trained, educated, and skillful men along that line may be received for what it is worth. Evans v. Commonwealth, 230 Ky. 411, 19 S.W.(2d) 1091, 66 A. L. R. 360."On expert qualifications: No error in accepting the expert because his qualifications make it so that he will "probably aid the trier of the question to determine the truth."
The jurisdiction’s standard for expert admissibility at the time – list all that apply: (Frye), (Daubert), (Post-2000 Rule 702), (Other)
Second standard
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
Frye Ruling
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


“The possibility of identifying a bullet that has been fired with the firearm from which it was projected is now receiving intensive study by engineers. The Engineers’ Foundation of New York is promoting such an investigation by Major Gunther, a professor of Stevens Institute of Technology, who has a highly technical paper on the subject in Mechanical Engineering for February, 1930. The new science, if it be a science, for want of a better name, is known as interior ballistics Elsewhere Prof. Gunther has said:
‘Ballistics now is in the same stage that finger printing was in the days when data on the probability of duplication was being accumulated. And it is fully as promising. Building up faith in the evidence obtainable from ballistics is a matter of accumulating *469 data over a period of time. I do not say positively that there are not two identical gun **557 barrels in the world, but I have yet to find them.’”