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Commonwealth v. Best, 62 N.E. 746 (Mass. 1902)

Case (cite)
Commonwealth v. Best, 62 N.E. 746 (Mass. 1902)
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
Does not name
Summary of reasons for ruling
Defendant objected to the physical bullets and pictures of the bullets admitted into evidence evidence mainly because the conditions of the experiment on the test bullets were not similar to the conditions at the time of the shooting, that the barrel may have rusted between the shooting and test, and that it was fired 3 times which could have increased the leading. The court held that "We see no other way in which the jury could have learned so intelligently how that gun barrel would have marked a lead bullet fired through it, a question of much importance to the case. Not only was it the best evidence *496 attainable but the sources of error suggested were trifling. The photographs avowedly were arranged to bring out the likeness in the marking of the different bullets and were objected to on this further ground. But the jury could correct them by inspection of the originals, if there were other aspects more favorable to the defense. With reference to the bullets found in the body an expert was allowed to testify that they were marked by rust in the same way that they would have been if they had been fired through the rifle found at the farm, and that it took at least several months for the rust that he saw in the rifle to form. It is objected that these were not matters for expert testimony. We see no reason to doubt that the testimony was properly admitted."
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


It does not seem like they have an expert testifying along with the pictures of the bullets but were using the pictures to show the jury that the bullets were fired from the same gun. They did have an expert testify that the rust on the bullets were the same as if they had been fired through the specific gun in question.